DIY Weddings: 3 Projects to Help You Save Money

Whether you’re newly engaged or have been wedding planning for a while, one thing becomes clear very early on: Weddings can be expensive. An unfortunate truth is that as soon as a vendor hears that a service is needed for a wedding (instead of a corporate event or birthday party, for example), the price tends to skyrocket. In the last several years there has been a resurgence in the wedding community for DIY weddings in order to fit a certain aesthetic. However, if you look into some of these tips, many of them can run you about the same expense as a traditional paid service. Disappointing.

If you’re planning a wedding and want to incorporate some DIY elements that will actually save you some money, check out these three tried and true ideas!

1. DIY (fake) calligraphy. Have you seen those beautifully styled invitations that have the recipients’ names elegantly etched on the envelopes? There are plenty of services that will offer to do this for a fee, usually available as an add-on service through whatever vendor you go to for your invitations themselves. But did you know that you can address the envelopes yourself for free and still have them look amazing? “Fake” calligraphy is an easy and inexpensive DIY way to dress up your invite envelopes.

HOW TO: First, write out the recipient’s name in cursive. Then, go over each of your downstrokes again to make only those lines thicker. It takes very little practice to master, and gives you an effortless but rustic beautiful result. This is the way I have addressed every envelope since my wedding, and I still get compliments on my lettering even though I’m no professional by any means.

2. Buy flowers in bulk and build your own bouquets. Can we all agree that the cost of flowers is outrageous? Yes, they’re lovely. However, I couldn’t justify paying $200 for a single bouquet just for myself. I had a small wedding party with only three bridesmaids, and adding three more bouquets to the mix made things way too pricey. Instead, I went to a local mom-and-pop florist and picked out some flowers that I liked and bought them bulk-style (in florist terms, this means to buy them loose, fresh cut by the stem rather than as part of an arrangement). Take a look at what I ended up paying for all the flowers for all of our bouquets (plus a mother-of-the-bride bouquet and mother-of-the-groom bouquet):

Silk flowers will save you an additional penny, though some high quality silks can be just as expensive as the real deal. If you don’t want to take the all-silk route, don’t be afraid to blend silk flowers with your real ones. We blended my bouquet with silk greenery from the craft store, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

3. Simple candle centerpieces. I have never paid attention to the centerpieces at any wedding I have ever attended, nor have I ever heard anyone rave about a wedding centerpiece. So, I kept that in mind when preparing my own. An inexpensive and still very elegant way to decorate a table is with glass votive candle holders. We had a few in the middle of each table in varying heights, and wrapped ribbons around the base of each to match our wedding’s theme colors. I spent about $20 all together on the candles and glass pieces at the dollar store and $2 on ribbon at Michaels.

If you want to get a little fancier, you could include glass beads inside the candle holders, sand, or flower petals. These are a beautiful way to keep your centerpieces DIY without spending a fortune (or worrying about what people think — I promise you, people don’t care as much about centerpieces as you think).

With a little careful planning, DIY weddings can be a major expense saver and also a fun, memorable experience. Remember: Try not to take on everything by yourself. Enlist the help of your groom, bridesmaids, friends and family to save you time and hassle.

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