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    Updated on Sep 2, 2020. Posted on Jul 28, 2016

    23 DIY Wedding Lessons From People Who've Already Done It

    Spray paint is your BFF.

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed community to share the best lessons they learned from their DIY weddings.

    Here are their brilliant responses:

    Planning Ahead

    Jennifer Xu

    1. If you're doing DIY to save money, make sure you're actually saving money.

    "The biggest thing I learned is to price out the cost of DIY down to the last cent vs. how much it is to just purchase the item outright. In the end, sometimes it is cheaper to just buy it." —melindam3

    2. And figure out what's worth shelling out some money for.

    "Our mistake was thinking we didn't need a photographer at the reception, that our friends and family would take enough photos for us. I wish we had even just one quality photo of our first dance, or our cake, or how much fun it was. Don't put all that time, energy, and care into your wedding and not hire a professional quality photographer." —Angie Weyman, Facebook

    3. Think about the number of items you're DIYing.

    "Unless you're having a very small ceremony, only DIY things there will be under 10 of. You want centerpieces made from paper flowers? You can probably do that. You want every single one of your 300 guests to have their own handmade paper flower? You will get bored very quickly." —Emmi Miller, Facebook

    4. Prioritize.

    "People won’t remember the centerpieces or the flowers or the little favors, and neither will you. They will remember, however, if the food was awful or if the ceremony and reception was disorganized and messy. Make sure you invest your planning time into what matters to you — and to your guests." —leslieh4102050fc

    5. Start early.

    "Give yourself enough time, and then actually use it. I quit my job a month before the wedding and was still printing and folding things the day before. The week before your wedding is stressful enough; don't add tying tiny ribbons and drowning in tissue paper to it. Either get it done early, or don't do it.” —Annie Wynn, Facebook

    Going Shopping

    Erika Layne

    6. Do a trial run before committing to a project.

    "The biggest lesson I learned is to test out your DIY projects before fully committing. We spent hours and hours painting a chalkboard paint square on 150 Mason jars so that our guests could write their name on their jar and keep track of it all night. Little did we know that the moment the jars were filled with a cold beverage, the paint started peeling off. After cocktail hour, the jars were back to looking like their pre-painted state and all the time we spent painting felt like a total waste." —stephanied4113f72dd

    7. Don't underestimate a good thrift or vintage shop.

    "Thrift stores and Goodwill were my obsession. I got all of my mismatched china and glassware there. I set a rule for myself to spend less than $1 a piece (it’s about $4/plate to rent) and I did it! Now I have a bunch of mismatched china that looks like my grandma’s but I’m sure I’ll be able to sell it to another DIY bride." —hillaryl6

    8. Buy from people who already had their weddings (and then sell to people planning theirs!).

    "Join local wedding resale groups on Facebook! I purchased most decor items from people who already had their weddings and were selling used items for half of what they would be online! Not only do you save money but you can also resell the items after your wedding and make some money back!" —stephanyv40bd331e6

    9. Try to buy things that aren't labeled or marketed as "wedding."

    "Try to buy things outside of anything labeled 'wedding' — they're always overpriced. Sales after holidays are a good idea too (Valentine's Day, Christmas); you can get decorations/lights for 90% off after season." —Miranda Filbig, Facebook

    Cutting Corners

    @fromlina / Via

    10. Spray paint is your BFF.

    "Spray paint can go a long way. Go to a thrift shop, look for design and structure rather than color. I took some hideously colored frames, sprayed them silver, and still use them in our house!" —Sierra Thomander, Facebook

    11. You can cheat your way to Instagram-worthy handwriting.

    "If you really want to handwrite something but your calligraphy isn't that great or consistent, print your invites/place settings/thank you cards with a pale font that you can just about see, then go over that with a darker pen. You don't have to bother with keeping in a straight line, checking that names are spelled correctly, or maintaining consistent sizes: You are just going over lines mindlessly whilst watching TV." —Emmi Miller, Facebook

    12. And don't worry if you haven't mastered Photoshop or the like.

    "Don’t feel you need fancy computer programs to make things like your invitations. If you take your time (and download some new fonts), you can use Microsoft Word to make things to look exactly how you want them." —natalied4f67929c5

    13. Bulk flowers can be a godsend.

    "Bought bulk flowers from a wholesaler. Bought 30 vases at the dollar store. Just Gerbera daisies in a vase. No marbles, no ribbons, nothing. Done." —arevalojen

    "I found out you can order baby’s breath in bulk from and that helped for our centerpieces and floral arrangements and helped with the cost." —erina40066f8e5

    14. And fake flowers can be as good as — or better than — the real thing.

    "We didn't buy fresh flowers. We bought fake ones from Dollarama and I arranged them into bouquets. Our photographer didn't notice they weren't real until she held them.” —Sandy Moreira Butler, Facebook

    "Fake flowers are a fraction of the price, you have complete creative control, you can make them up weeks in advance, and they look real in pictures. Even if you only do a few of them fake, you can save tons of money." —samquadam

    (Get some ideas here!)

    Getting Help

    @somervilleshannon / Via

    15. Don't be afraid to ask!

    "Whether it's your wedding party members or other crafty/clever/helpful friends and family, don't be afraid to ask for help. You more than likely have special people in your life who care about your big day as much as you do, and will gladly do whatever they can to fulfill your big day dreams. Ultimately, I wouldn't trade my DIY wedding experience for anything, but I do wish I'd asked for help sooner and more often, especially when people were so willing to offer assistance. I think I would have felt a lot less stressed if I'd dropped the 'I'll just do it all myself' mentality earlier on in the planning process.” —Whitney Adkins, Facebook

    16. Make it worth your helpers' while.

    "Make 'Girls Night' into 'Crafting Night' — you can still chat and catch up and gossip, but make use of this downtime! I let all of my friends and family know that every Wednesday for a few months before the wedding was craft night at my house, and that they were always invited between 6-9pm on those days to stop by and help out. Obviously, you should provide wine and snacks for your helpers!" —Nina Parr, Facebook

    17. Be realistic about the kind of help you're asking for.

    "I had a DIY wedding and a friend offered to make the bridesmaids dresses. Worst idea ever. She got so stressed out by the whole thing; the patterns didn’t go big enough, bridesmaids putting on weight, etc., it ended up being the most stressful part of my entire wedding. I was getting phone calls and texts all day every day for months, I cried all the time, and I actually nearly sacked off the whole thing and bought off the rack." —Mary Swinden

    18. If you're enlisting help from multiple people, put together a guide that outlines your vision.

    "Make a manual — my family and friends were so happy to have some sort of guideline to go by during setup. No one can see your vision unless you put it down on paper; also, on the day before, you are likely going to be extremely anxious and stressed and vocalizing your ideas can be majorly difficult." —partywithmccarty

    19. Crowdsource the playlist.

    "Just get speakers and a great playlist. We had all of our friends and family come up and add their songs on it. Few laughs, happy memories, and far more fun and cheap. Saved about £500-2000 for a band. Though 'Safety Dance' was put on about five times." —sarahweara

    The Day Of

    Meghan Lubeck

    20. Make peace with the fact that "perfect" won't happen.

    "It doesn't have to be picture/Pinterest perfect. Your guests are going to remember the fun they had and the love you shared far longer than the fact that one placecard was smudged or the flowers you found were a shade darker than the napkins." —Sara Rathbun, Facebook

    21. And know when to step away.

    "Walk away from Pinterest for a little bit as your date approaches. You don’t want to fall down that rabbit hole when you have limited time." —bricolebolt

    22. Don't let post-wedding plans slide.

    "Make sure you arrange for help for AFTER the wedding. We didn’t really think of that. Our friends and family were great about helping cook and set up, but nearly everyone bailed before the night was done. Nothing like dealing with dirty dishes and picking up trash in your wedding dress!" —jenniferj32

    23. Keep the wedding day as a sacred, work-free time.

    "If I could tell anyone one thing when planning a DIY wedding, it would be to not give yourself work to do on your wedding day. Seriously. I have witnessed what it’s like to have to put everything together on your wedding day with a couple friends — they all regretted it. One friend was so stressed out she didn’t end up having time for makeup and barely got her dress on! It’s just not worth the stress. Get as much done the day before, and have friends/family or a day-of planner do whatever needs to be done on the wedding day so you can relax and just get ready. Having a family that ensured my husband and I didn’t have to work our wedding day was the best gift we got. The day leading up to the ceremony was stress-free and relaxing, and gave us time to get ready at our leisure, and reflect on what was coming instead of worrying about decorations." —mrsh810

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.