Wedding Planning: Hired help VS. DIY

Posted on Apr 24 2019 - 9:00am by Samantha Clark
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It’s all in the detail when it comes to your special day. From invites to decorations, you’ll find there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to planning your special day. Every bride to be is likely to have to make this decision at some point: hiring help or DIYing it?

We take a look at the considerations for you to determine where you could cut costs by taking on a project yourself and when you should look to hiring a supplier to do the work for you.

Time

Some projects will be more time consuming than others. If you have a busy lifestyle, demanding career, dependents to take care of or regular activities (for example), it may not be possible to do it all yourself. However, its not to say that there are not some aspects you can’t take on.

Decide which projects you really want to have a personal touch or things that you’re passionate about doing and take those projects on, particularly if your time is short. It’s more likely to be an enjoyable experience if you’re doing something you love too, and easier to find the time to complete.   

As for others, if you’ve been offered a hand and you’re happy to relinquish responsibility, task projects to friends and family. Alternatively, source out a supplier that can do it for you.

Stress

Following on from the above, be careful about taking too much on as planning a wedding itself is a stressful job. Time management is an essential skill to develop when planning a wedding so that you can allow plenty of time to get projects done.

Wedding plan
Time management is a skill to master in wedding planning

If you do want to benefit from the help of friends and family, there is a difficult balance to be had: what you’re looking for and when you need to get it done.  It can be stressful to involve friends and family in the planning process, especially if you’re a stickler for timing, detail and specifications. Be mindful that if you do recruit your friends and family, you are going to have to bear with them and it may not be done to your exact liking.

If you use a supplier though, you can be as specific, and to a point demanding, as you like. They are, after all, being paid to carry out a service. However, always be kind to your supplier and patient. You’re not their only customer and they can refuse the work if you’re being too demanding.  

We’d recommend that if you do down the supplier route, be thorough in your initial meeting or briefing of your requirements. Be absolutely sure you’re happy (and they’re happy) with the expectations, price and deadline.

Money

One of the major motivators for DIYing aspects of your wedding is to save you money. Certainly, some projects can do that. Whereas others, once you’ve factored in materials and specialist equipment, it may have been more cost effective to purchased new, got someone else to do it for you or hired it for the day.

Before committing, spend a little time comparing the costs of buying something new (and tweaking it if it isn’t quite right), searching for things second hand and hiring items for the day. 

Expertise

An advantage of using a supplier over doing it yourself is you can benefit from their expertise. It may be something they’ve been doing for a really long time and have an extensive portfolio of expertise. They may well have excellent qualifications to back up their credentials. Or, they were recommended to you personally by friends, family and colleagues who had an experience they’re raving about. Furthermore, they’re likely to have the necessary tools and equipment required to carry out a comprehensive and even excellent job.

Additionally, you can look at reviews and photos to determine the quality of work they produce for the cost they’re asking for. Occasionally, depending on what it is, they’ll be happy to create samples for you to see and taste too.  It helps you to make an informed decision before committing to the services they offer.

In most instances, you’re also not their first customer. As such, they may be able to impart wisdom that you can apply to your own wedding and help inspire you on other aspects. A good supplier can help you to create a vision that you perhaps couldn’t see; whether its specifically on the work they do or through their experience of working in the wedding industry.

Suppliers are also keen networkers and will often meet lots of suppliers in all different realms of work. So, if you’re looking for someone specialist, you can always pick the brain of an existing supplier.

Your wedding checklist, what might you DIY and what may need a helping hand

Invitations & other stationery

Invitations are usually high on the DIY list. As wedding stationary can be very expensive and there is a perception the recipient won’t keep it anyway, it’s understandable as to why there is a cost saving incentive.

However, we want our stationery to reflect the theme of the event and often entails intricacies in the design. Creating your wedding stationery, depending on the detail, can take a considerable amount of time and many helpers to pull off.

If you’re looking for calligraphy, foiling, layering, intricate detail etc. then we’d recommend sourcing a supplier to look at your specific needs.

If you want an invitation that has some personalisation to it but isn’t overly time consuming or expensive, you can create your own invites through Canva. You don’t have to be a photoshop expert as there are many templates, designs, fonts, colours and images that you can use to design your invitation. It’s a great tool to work with and for the most part you don’t pay anything to use it (unless you want designs that are chargeable). We’d recommend a professional print though, so you get a good paper stock and high-quality print.

Additionally, Papier have lots of beautiful designs for wedding stationery that won’t break the bank. Many of them can be personalised to an extent and will detail the stock they use and the detailing of the item. You pay per invite generally with a discount on 10 or more.

Decorations

We’re generalising table decorations, props, photo booths etc. into this category, anything that would be classed as decoration as such.

Decorations for your venues can be expensive, particularly if you’re looking for items that wouldn’t be classed as single use- candle holders, vases, picture frames, bunting etc.

Some of these pieces you can pick up from eBay, Facebook buy and sell groups, charity shops and even car boots. It can entail a little bit of a rummage to find exactly what you’re looking for, but it can be worth the hunt for what you’ll save.

Alternatively, you can always look to hire props for a day and it may actually work out more cost effective to do so. Additionally, you won’t have the worry of what to do with it once the wedding has passed or where to store it beforehand. Something to consider though, when you hire props (including for a photo booth) you’re liable for any breakages and sadly, thefts (it does happen!). Of course, this is true if you own the items, but you could pay quite a lot if something gets damaged on your watch. Just be sure to read the t&cs before committing and the costs you could be liable for.

Wedding cake

wedding cake
Lots of couples use the support of family and friends to make their wedding cake

Lots of people rope in family or friends to make the cake for a wedding- especially as they can be so, so expensive!

However, even if someone makes a good sponge or cupcake, doesn’t mean they’ll be able to make something as tasty on a grand scale. It can be really difficult to get it just right and have it taste amazing. That’s where expert help comes in handy. As highlighted above, they’re likely to have the specialist equipment to ensure it is done right every time. So, if you do go down the friends or family route, consider smaller tiers and a simpler design; they’ll want to do a good job for you, and it can be a stressful job to take on.

If you’re looking for specific detail or design, it is worth having a consultation with a cake maker to see what they can do and an idea of cost. You can always have fewer or smaller tiers to help save cost or sacrifice some of the detail. Additionally, cupcakes are a cheaper alternative and can still be decorated beautifully.

Flowers

Doing the flowers yourself can save you a lot of money. But to do so, you’ll need to have a well-established garden or know someone that does, to ensure you have as much flowers as you want. Additionally, you’ll need to know that you have the right flowers for the right time of year, and it will entail working on this last minute. Of course, you can always pick up bunches from the supermarket or local florists to fill your bouquets if you need to.

Hair & makeup

It’s nice to be pampered on your special day and using experts on your day ensures you get the desired look. However, if they’re having to come to you there can be additional costs on an already expensive element of your special day.

Of course, there are plenty of tutorials available to help you achieve the desired look yourself and if you allow plenty of time, you’ll have lots of time to practice too. Its also worth researching the best wedding makeup as you’ll want to ensure that it has long-wear, you can have glowing skin without looking like you’re sweating, and you can use light reflecting makeup to capture the best photos (and hide dark circles). This may mean purchasing makeup you don’t already own in your kit, which if you’re only using for a day, may be more cost effective to use a professional.

Ultimately, take on projects that you’re passionate about doing and for others, you can always outsource to suppliers and/or friends and family to make the process less stressful, and in some cases, a little less expensive. If you’re looking to use suppliers, you can always negotiate on costs and be sure to shop around. You’re sure to be able to work to budget and still achieve the day you’ve always dreamed of.

Below we’ve shared links to our articles to talk about wedding theming and our etiquette guide to writing wedding invitations. If there is anything you’d like us to work on, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.

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