The average wedding now costs about $35,000 a pop, so naturally you might be looking at creative ways to cut costs. Luckily, DIY projects are still a huge trend in weddings and are a great way to save you some major cash and keep you well below max budget. However, just because you can DIY a project doesn’t mean that you should. Don’t go overboard on DIY projects and stay up until 3 a.m. the eve before your wedding to bake your own wedding cake. Keep it simple with these six items to DIY instead of buy, and leave the rest of the wedding up to the experts.
1. Wedding Favors
You could buy some cute personalized wedding favors online, but after the shipping costs and price markups, this is definitely a project that is easy and cheap enough to justify its own DIY project.
For a whimsical and bohemian wedding, make up a few batches of jam over the stove and put them in cute little jars with a personalized tag to give to your guests as they leave. Or, for a wedding reception that will be a huge party, pack a cute and kitschy little hangover kit for your guests—complete with ibuprofen, Gatorade, and a power bar (which will come in handy for those who are traveling home the next day). A kid-friendly wedding calls for the old standby of a make-your-own goody bag with candies that are in your wedding’s colors. Stock an area of the reception hall with pretty vases, some scoops, and plastic candy bags with twisty ties so that your guests can have a sweet treat on the way home.
2. Desserts that Accompany the Cake
Unless you are a professional baker, you might not want all the pressure of making your own wedding cake. However, there’s no sense in paying a bakery’s exorbitant prices to fill out the dessert table when you have a perfectly good oven. You’ll want to have other dessert options for those who don’t like cake (or for those who have a serious sweet tooth), but the desserts don’t necessarily have to be fancy. For a spring or summer wedding, bake a few fruit pies or make some individual fruit turnovers for a sweet and flaky after-dinner treat. For a fall or winter wedding, make caramel covered apples, pumpkin rolls, or have a DIY s’mores bar for a cozy outdoor wedding.
3. Homemade Photo Booth
Renting a photo booth is a fun and easy way to get guests moving around and having fun at your reception—the only downside is that they can often be a huge expense. Skip the rental and create your own photo booth by making a background with ribbons or paper streamers in your wedding colors. Make or buy props at a thrift store or antique mall for your guests to wear and hold up in the photographs as well.
As for the actual camera, you could either have your guests take their own photos on their phones, or you could provide a simple point and shoot camera on a tripod for them to use. Upload all of the photos to social media after the wedding is over or print them out and mail to your guests along with your thank you note.
Decorations are probably one of the easiest things to DIY and also one of the best wedding projects you can do way ahead of time. Depending on what your theme is, you can let your imagination go absolutely wild when creating decorations for your wedding. Some popular, yet easy and cheap, decorations are banners with your last name, ribbon garlands to go behind the cake table, chalkboard or wood signs that give guests directions or tell the story of you as a couple, terrarium centerpieces for a natural looking tablescape, and stacked book centerpieces for the couple who loves to read. Of course, you can go to Pinterest or read a number of online tutorials for advice on making your own wedding decorations, but don’t be afraid to get creative and make something that’s truly original and truly reflects your personalities.
5. Table Numbers/ Place Cards
If you have a specific seating arrangement in mind for your guests, creating table numbers and place cards is a cinch. All you need to do is have a word processing program on your computer, a design idea, and some cardstock. If you’d really like to step it up a notch, you can get more creative than paper and use anything from books to small DIY flags to let guests know where they’ll spend the evening celebrating.
6. Photo Album Guestbook
Though the traditional guestbook is nice, it can seem a little old fashioned and generic for the eclectic and unique modern wedding. Create a photo album with pictures of the two of you and leave enough space for your guests to sign each individual page with a message. A photo album is something that you’ll cherish and actually be something that you’ll want to flip through on an anniversary or when you want to show your children who attended your wedding.