Do-It-Yourself Dos and Don'ts

When to stretch your creative muscles and when to hand it off to the pros

GOOD DIY IDEAS

Favors
Why: There are a gazillion favor projects to fit anyone’s budget and skill level, from baking cookies to creating candles.
When: Depending on the nature of your choice, you can get cracking a few months or a few weeks in advance. Invite the bridesmaids over to help. (Nice gesture: including your mom and his.)

Save-The-Dates, Invitations and Programs
Why: All you need is a basic software program and paper, and then you can get as creative as you like.
When: Play around with typefaces, papers, and ideas until you’re in love with the results, but don’t print anything until you’ve signed contracts and have confirmed dates, people, and places.

Reception Music
Why: Entertainment by iPod is the ultimate money saver, and there’s no question that your wedding will feature only the songs you both like. This is one wedding chore that friends will be eager to help with.
When: Why not get it out of the way early and work on your playlists a few months in advance? Appoint someone iPod Manager/Emcee for the night, and plan on doing a run-through. Have a backup laptop at the ready, just in case.

NOT-SO-GOOD DIY IDEAS

The Wedding Cake
Why not: Making a wedding cake requires the skills of a baker, architect, and mathematician. It’s not simply a matter of quadrupling Mom’s tried-and-true vanilla cake recipe, and slapping on some frosting. Decorating a wedding cake is a major challenge requiring training and practice. Also, consider the pans and other professional-size equipment you’ll need. Do you know how to sink dowels or put plates between the layers so the tiers can support one another? Didn’t think so.

Your Dress
Why not: Unless you have an advanced degree in wedding dressmaking (delicate fabrics are often difficult to work with, certain styles require boning, etc.), don’t even consider it. The craftsmanship and time involved in making such an important dress are beyond the scope of an amateur seamstress, and that includes well-meaning moms, aunts, grandmothers, and friends who make really swell scarves at Christmas.

The Bridesmaids’ Dresses
Why not: Sewing all those gowns for all those figures is a major time commitment, and with gorgeous dresses going for as little as $100 (at David’s Bridal and B2, to name just two), it’s better to put your time and effort elsewhere.

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