You may be tempted to try planning the entire wedding yourself, with only the help of family and friends. Actually, all but the smallest weddings are usually most economical with hybrid solutions. Purchase some items, make others; hire pros for some services, do others yourself. Few pieces of your wedding are “all or none” propositions when it comes to DIY versus hire or buy (Note: This is Secret #5 in the Dream Wedding on a Dime; 7 Secrets for the Budget-Savvy Bride ebook). In general …
1. Make the easy products, buy the rest. Depending on your expertise and cost of the supplies, some tasks will be more realistic for you than others. If you and your helpers have limited craft skills, for example, you will want to stick to making the easier decorations and buying ready-made or hiring someone to complete the more difficult ones.
2. Pick and choose tasks to do yourself, and hire vendors to complete the rest. If someone on your team has experience coordinating large events, cooking for a crowd, baking wedding cakes, bartending, taking photographs, etc., you may want to keep these in-house. Otherwise, it may be most economical for you to work with a professional to complete these and other aspects of your wedding.
Other ways to save using blended solutions include …
3. Consider barter. If you have a talent or skill or make products others find valuable, see if any of your vendors would be interested in trading value-for-value.
4. Provide the appetizers, salad, and/or side dishes, and have a caterer prepare specialty entree(s).
5. Use real flowers to decorate the cake, either to top it or between layers. This eliminates the need for advanced cake decorating skills.
6. Get a plain, iced cake and add rhinestone mesh ribbon around each tier.
7. Decorate a plain cake with fruit, such as berries.
8. Consider buying different-sized cakes and stacking them yourself.
9. Check friends’ and family’s miscellaneous vases, dishes, and glassware (especially clear-glass containers) first for dessert or other display items.
10. Consider the option of providing flowers or centerpiece vases yourself and having a pro apply her talents to your supplies.
11. Go with a mix of professional and amateur work for photos. Do this by having professional vendors only at the ceremony and relying on guests for pre-wedding preparation and reception footage.
12. Set up an app for guests to upload pictures and video from their phones.
13. Use social media such as a Facebook group, Twitter or Instagram hashtag, YouTube account, or Google+ page to gather guest images and video.
14. Set up a computer or other device with a memory slot and Internet connection at the reception for those with memory cards but no photo upload capability.
15. Edit photos or video yourself. If you have never done it before, however, expect to go through some tutorials and learning curves.
16. Go to a hair stylist for only one or two of cut, color, or pre-wedding styling, and do the rest yourself.
17. Hire a small band for early in the reception, during cocktails, or for only one set; then, have a DJ cover the rest of the event.
18. Consider a soloist for a portion of the entertainment and a DJ for the rest if the band is beyond your budget.
19. Combine your own MP3 playlist with a band or soloist for different parts of the event.
20. Hire a caterer to cook a main dish, and ask a family member or friend to take over the rest of the preparations.
21. Have a potluck as an informal reception (Note: Not all of your guests will be enthused at the prospect of bringing their own food to a wedding. So add a quirky twist. For example, make it fun by having a cooking competition or other food-centric event; have them bring food in lieu of a gift; or make it a recipe exchange).
22. Find products from non-traditional sources for your vendors.
23. Buy a plain, already constructed veil and dress it up. Find a selection of unadorned veils here.