DIY weddings are all the rage. Pinterest is loaded with ideas and tutorials on everything from bejeweling shoes to sewing table runners and tons more. The problem is that people think that DIY in and of itself saves you money. This is not necessarily the case.
Just to be up front, I have to mention that I am the queen of DIY. As a huge crafter and creative person in general, I love the benefits of DIY, of which there are many. The most important and number one benefit of doing it yourself is that you can customize whatever it is you are creating. You choose the colors, the execution, all the details. You can make as many or as few of any given thing as you want. You can plan ahead and make them over time. All great benefits.
The thing is, there are drawbacks too. DIY can be extremely time consuming. Something that would take you thirty seconds to buy may take you several weeks of four hour sessions to make. You may save money, but it costs you time. DIY can also be a bigger challenge than you originally thought. More times than I care to admit, I thought I could do something, no problem, only to find out that I didn't have the proper tools, or all the supplies, or the glue that I bought won't work with the materials I picked out or what ever. You can end up spending twice the time and money because of mistakes and inexperience.
This leads me to the biggest DIY drawback there is. It is not always, and in fact, far less frequently than one would think, cheaper. Sometimes DIY costs more because of mistakes and inexperience, but sometimes it just costs more! For example, a table runner at a department store may cost $15 a piece. You go to the fabric store and a similar fabric costs you $8 a yard. Such a savings, you think. Alas, most table runners are at least 2.5 yards long, if not 5 depending on your tables and the look you want. Perhaps you choose a wider fabric and you can make two runners per 3 yards. OK, now it seems you are on to something. But wait! Do you have a sewing machine? Do you sew? If not, you'll have to buy a machine or pay someone to sew them. The dollar signs keep adding up.
So now that I've thoroughly bummed you out on DIY, here are some tips to help evaluate if doing it yourself is really worth it.
How much will doing it yourself really cost compared to having someone else do it or purchasing it? Do your research. Include all the glue, thread, binding, whatever it will take to complete the project before you spend a dime on it.
Keep all your reciepts. This is just good advice for a wedding, but you'd be surprised how often people spend $40 on ribbon that isn't quite right, but forget to take it back or lose the receipt. That's $40 you spent on a project that you never used. Keeping the receipts will first, allow you to return unwanted materials, and second it will remind you exactly how much you actually spent on the project.
Have you ever done a similar project before? Do you know how to do this one, and do you know the materials needed?
Do you have the time to do a project of this scale?
If it is less expensive to DIY, and if you've kept your receipts, and if you are well versed in this particular project and you have the time, is it worth your time to do it?
Doing it yourself can be fun and can make your proud, but it can also be expensive in many ways. Just keep these simple questions in mind before you begin a DIY and you'll be much better off in the long run. Weddings are hard and require a lot of time and money, both of which are limited quantities. Be sure to use both wisely!
What are some of your worst DIY fails?