General Wedding Planning, Wedding Tips

Should You DIY Your Wedding?

NZ is the home of DIY: That get-it-done, you-can-do-it, number-8-wire attitude. Does it apply to weddings though?

From going all-out and doing everything yourself, or deciding to have one DIY task because you don’t like the commercially available options, there are so many ways to DIY your wedding. While it personalises your wedding (especially if you are a crafty type), it might not be the way to save money that you think it is.

Why DIY?
There are lots of great reasons to DIY your wedding.

  • You get the ultimate in personalisation: No one else will have that style or type, it’s uniquely yours
  • You may save money: Those wedding vendors seem to charge a LOT; the minute they hear someone say ‘wedding’, the price doubles (or, does it?)
  • You get to DIY!: Some people, those crafty types, will want any excuse to use a glue gun and sparkly things, and it brings them (mostly) joy
  • Can’t find what you dreamed up? You can DIY it. Some things simply don’t exist, but you can bring whatever it is into existence
  • If you have a small wedding, DIY is achievable. Buying second hand plates for 70 people is a large and expensive task; for ten or twenty people, it’s a fun day trawling through second hand shops.

Regardless of these benefits, DIY is not the perfect answer for everyone, or everything.

Is This DIY Going to Be Perfect?

If you DIY things, unless that’s something you’re skilled at, you’re going to have to settle for less-than-perfection. While there are some things you might be prepared to compromise on, there are other things you probably won’t. For instance, if your sewing skills are a bit average and you rush it, you’ll see that imperfection every time you look at the dress, in every mirror, and in every photo.

If you’re thinking about making your bridesmaid dresses, for example, unless you’re a skilled tailor, skip it. There are loads of beautiful readymade bridesmaid dresses that provide a great base for personalisation.

Will DIY Save You Money?

If you’re DIY’ing in an attempt to save some money, that could be wishful thinking. When you get a quote from a professional, that includes everything. They know what they are doing after years of perfecting their trade, there will be no unexpected costs, and it’s a one-off payment. This is why wedding vendors often seem expensive; you’re paying for years of honing their craft.

DIY, however, can be a bit of a money-pit. For example, if you decide to do the floral centrepieces yourself, there’s the flowers and vases of course, but depending on the design you may also need floral foam, waterproof tape, wire, ribbons, glitter, candles, lights, mirrors, stones, plus a bunch of your time on an already busy day. You’ll also need to buy flowers to practice with before the big day. Unless you’ve thoroughly planned what you’re doing and have some knowledge, the costs can balloon out very quickly.

An example of expensive DIY is if you love the idea of mis-matching glassware, you can buy them for $2 a pop from your local Salvation Army ($24 a dozen! A bargain). Or, you could hire them from $14.50 per dozen from a reputable hire company.

There’s nothing more expensive than a new hobby with scope creep. And that’s basically what DIY weddings are.

Also, for some things like venue hire, it’s far cheaper to use a place that already has everything you need. For instance, if you’re planning a use a venue that has nothing available, you’ll need, at the bare minimum:

  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Table coverings
  • Plates
  • Wine glasses, tumblers, beer glasses, spirit glasses
  • Cutlery such as knives, forks, spoons, teaspoons, knife for cake cutting, serving spoons
  • Music system including speakers, cables and perhaps a device

An example is an all-in-one vineyard wedding venue in Christchurch costs $1,800 for the hire. This includes indoor and outdoor areas, chairs for the ceremony, tables and chairs for the reception, linen, glassware and crockery, bar and wait staff, audio system, and table stands for up to 130 people.

Say you’re planning for 100 people, and providing the bare minimum.

  • Large plates only, no bowls or side plates: $150
  • Spoons, knives, forks: $360
  • Plain wooden tables x 10: $500
  • Dining chair x 100: $1300
  • Champagne glasses only: $130

Already, you’re way  more expensive than the all-in-one option and with a very sparse looking setup. While rental places may offer discounts for using them for everything, it’s still a very expensive option that sounds affordable at first.


Every single DIY task is going to take far longer than you thought. Is this time better spent with your future partner, or family, getting work done, or exercising?

If DIY’ing gives you joy, and you have time to do it, then that is amazing, and you should totally do it. If you’re stressed to the max and jamming the tasks into a schedule where it doesn’t fit, then consider paying someone else to do it. Especially if it’s a task that needs to be done the day before or the day of the wedding, when you should be chilling out with your loved ones.

Time is your most precious and finite resource.

Do You Have People to Help?

You’re going to want to delegate, and do you have trusted, reliable people who can step up? Don’t rely only on one person (they have a life too), but will wider whānau, friends, and your future spouse help as much as you’ll need? Or will you find yourself working alone, late into the night, gluing your fingers together and cursing your misguided life choices?

What Do You Do with All This Stuff Afterwards?

You painstakingly painted 10 table number holders. It’s the day after your wedding, what do you do with them now? It’s unlikely someone will buy them, and unless you want ten whatever-they-ares on your display shelf for eternity, they are just going to the rubbish dump. If you rent things, they get taken away, cleaned, and re-used, making it far better for the environment, and one less task for you in the weeks after the wedding.

Do You DIY?

It’s up to you, but unless you enjoy crafting, it’s probably a hard pass. It doesn’t save much money, it adds to your workload, and may not look professional or perfect on the day. If you truly love making things and have a specific vision in mind, that no-one else can replicate, then do it. However, budget 50% more for money and 100% more for time—take advice from a DIY disaster expert.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *