For her November 2008 wedding, Laura Modisette tackled a variety of do-it-yourself projects, including invitations, a cupcake stand and all centerpieces and reception d?cor, as well as her bridal bouquet and bridesmaid bouquets.
"I chose to DIY almost my entire wedding because I am a very crafty person to begin with and love the way DIY makes things so personal and memorable," Modisette says. "And what better time to get personal than your wedding?"
She was crafting and creating wedding items for more than a year, but it's an experience she cherishes. "I would do it all over again," she says.
DIY weddings are all the rage. Brides are getting crafty as a way to personalize their events and save a little money, too.
"Brides are trying to find ways to express their creativity," says wedding planner Deanna Park, who is planning DIY workshops for brides. "I think it's appealing because it's your own creation. It's an avenue to create the dream."
As a way to add personal style to her event and save money, Lacey Dudley did DIY projects for her June 2010 wedding.
"I wanted to make our wedding as personal as possible, so I tried to do as much as I could," says Dudley, who crafted her wedding invitations, menus, centerpieces and favors, as well as her jewelry and her bridesmaids' jewelry.
She even started a DIY website (http://thediybride2010.blogspot.com) to share her crafty tips with other brides.
"I have received such wonderful feedback from so many future brides," she says. "Even though my wedding planning days are over, I take comfort in knowing that my tutorials are still out there being utilized."
"For those who want to do DIY to cut costs, I'd advise them to price things out before they commit to it," Park says. Figure out how much it would cost if you were to buy it, and then determine the cost of making it, including the time you would spend.
DIY projects may seem affordable at first, but it's about more than ordering supplies and putting the projects together.
"DIY is often misconstrued as the 'cheaper option,'" Modisette says. "In reality, it is often less expensive to find a preassembled item as opposed to buying all of the materials for it and making it."
Uniqueness is a key factor. "I never did a DIY wedding to say that I saved X amount of money. I do them to be able to sit back and say, 'That was a one-of-a-kind item that I know has meaning behind it, and there isn't anyone who can get it somewhere else,'" Modisette says.
Still, you can save money if you budget the projects' supply and assembly costs.
"The invitations alone saved us hundreds of dollars, especially because I wanted to go with a more intricate design," Dudley says. "In total, I would say that I was able to save at least $3,000 by completing projects on my own."
DIY crafts can be complicated, stressful and lots of work.
"Even doing 20 items takes a lot of time," Park says. "Find as much help as you can."
Dudley doesn't regret her decision to do many things for her wedding herself, but she says that finding time was a big challenge. "If you want to have a DIY wedding, you need to make sure that you will be able to dedicate plenty of time to completing your projects," she says. "I planned our wedding in nine months, and I used every minute of it."
Modisette says "the lack of experience with a DIY wedding" was a struggle at first, but after doing lots of research, she was ready for the job. "I am thankful that I did the research, because the final product was well worth it, and I was left with a great knowledge of DIY weddings and events in general," she says.
Not every bride wants to attempt DIY projects, but many want to try a few things -- making favors, for example.
"The best advice I can give another bride contemplating DIY projects is to look at everything with the outlook that anything can be DIY; it's just a matter of putting in the time and effort to finding the best way to execute," Modisette says.
Dudley urges brides to trust themselves, saying that even though she tried things that didn't work out, she didn't give up on DIY. "But in the end, I did what I wanted to do, and I wasn't afraid to do so," she says.
For a DIY look without having to do all the hard work, there's always the option of going online to Etsy and similar websites to buy handcrafted items, such as jewelry, purses, table runners and cake toppers.