Tips for Staying Sane while Planning a DIY Wedding

If you are paying for your own wedding, are on a limited budget or just want your wedding to be authentically “you”, you might be considering a DIY wedding. But what does DIY really mean? Do you have to plan every single detail yourself?

The answer is NO. No one completely plans a wedding totally on their own and survives to talk about it! There are just too many moving parts to manage alone. If attempted, at best you could be a stressed-out, frazzled mess and unable to enjoy your wedding day. At worst, well, I don’t even want to go there.


Your wedding day will be hectic regardless, with a million details to attend to, so it’s important at least to have a day-of-planner, a venue manager or a trusted, well-organized friend or relative who will take care of the set-up and break-down details as well as the flow of the day so you can concentrate on feeling and looking your best.

Once you find a venue (a backyard can be lovely), find a caterer (your mom’s cooking can be awesome), secure your planner (he/she has great reviews) or friend (totally reliable), and figure out your dress, appetizers, dessert, etc., bar and band, (whew!) you are ready to think about DIY decor.


Do you want elaborate floral arrangements or something simpler? If you want elaborate, you will need to find an experienced florist. They will have their own vases and containers.

If you want to do the flowers yourself (meaning with the help of your day-of assistants!), you need to find containers that have the look you want. You can go for an eclectic look where the vases are somewhat different but have the same vibe or for a more “mono” look where all the containers are basically the same. If you choose the later, different flowers or greenery can give you more variation.


If your budget is tight, first check out what your friends and relatives have before you look start shopping. You would be amazed at what people have in their cabinets or in boxes stored away. Vintage tea cups and saucers filled with florals can make lovely centerpieces. Moss covered bark can be an amazing container and can be found on any walk in the woods. Filled with succulents, greenery or flowers, a long piece of tree bark surrounded by candlesticks and votives is both earthy and romantic.

Flowers (in pots or cut), greenery, and/or succulents can be ordered online, at a retail florist, or even purchased at the grocery store. They don’t have to be extravagant to make an impact. We recommend checking out your local wholesaler for the freshest cuts at best prices.

The secret to successful DIY is visioning, planning and organizing way before the wedding ever happens. Your decor should be set at least two months prior to wedding day. Do you have chalkboards, easels, place cards, a gift box, welcome area decor? Who will do the calligraphy or printing? Are you giving away a party favor? (We say skip this, you just put on a wedding and who needs more stuff anyway?) Ditto on a wedding program. What about a hotel goodie bag?


It is paramount to show your assistants an exact photo or diagram of what every scaped area should look like (consider every detail – linens, dish and glassware, etc.), and where and how you want everything placed. Doing an actual runthrough of the tabletop and other impact decor at least one week prior is even better and will put you and your helpers at ease.

If you are renting decor and it will not arrive until a few days prior, use other containers or index cards with the name of each item in place of the actual piece in your runthrough. Make a sample flower arrangement. Practice makes perfect.

When all the details are covered, the possibility for error and chaos the day-of are much less. The day you walk down the aisle, your head should be filled with excitement, not worrying if the candles on the tables or in the trees are lit.

There is an old saying, “If you want something done right, do-it-yourself.” We want to amend that with “or with the help of a few friends!”






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Judy Caplan is a nutritionist by day (founder of Go Be Full: Good Nutrition in a Nutshell) and co-founder of Field & Gown. With an excellent eye for style, her favorite hobbies include scouring antique stores and 'dumpster diving' for cast-away furniture and other odd-and-ends discarded to the side of the road. Field & Gown is a wedding decor rental company based in the Washington DC area.

Have a question or interested in placing an order? Don't hesitate! Contact us today.