BY TERESA CHURCH
You’re engaged, and what’s the first thing you do? If you are like the majority of today’s brides, you open your Pinterest App and start hunting. Then what? How do you know what you can do yourself without a Pinterest fail and when it’s time to call in the experts? Hopefully, we can help you figure it out. There are three things a bride can almost always safely do herself – décor, favors and little details. And, there are three Pinterest fail traps waiting for every bride – hair and makeup, catering and photography.
Décor – Some of my favorite weddings, both as a wedding planner and as a guest, have been when the bride and groom (along with family and friends) have provided all or some of the wedding décor themselves. It isn’t just about flowers anymore. You can use a hula-hoop and ribbon to make a gorgeous chandelier. You can use vases and votive holders collected from vintage stores with a mix of flowers and candles. You can use your favorite photos as centerpieces (Shutterfly.com). Whether you are trying to save money, or you just want to make your special day even more special, this is an easy DIY.
Favors – Let me start by saying, not everyone incorporates the tradition of wedding favors. And frankly, some wedding favors are never going to be used again. But, a smart bride can make a lovely favor that doesn’t just say “We got married, here are our names in case you forget.” Use a gorgeous fan for a summer wedding or pumpkin spice ANYTHING for a fall wedding. You can purchase local food or drinks and make a wedding treat bag. How cute would it be to provide bottles of Cheerwine and Moon Pies for a North Carolina wedding? When you are thinking about favors, always think personal and practical.
Little Details – Every bride and groom should add little touches that show it’s their wedding. When you decorate your home, you don’t just buy the room display on the show room floor with no personal touches. Your wedding should be the same. Add a special dance, a special cocktail recipe, anything that’s special to you as a couple. This will make your day even more memorable for you and your guests.
Cater Your Own Wedding – This should go without saying, but never, ever assume you can cater your own wedding and remain sane. Imagine it’s the big day, you walk down the aisle in two hours and you are still in the kitchen perfecting the final touches on a buffet dinner for 100 people. Even if you are a caterer, resist the urge. And please, do not bake your own cake. You’ll be nervous enough about your wedding without adding the stress of making a cake or food to satisfy everyone. Trendy desserts like donut boards, cupcakes and macaroon trees may look easy, but displays like this require last minute details you just won’t have time to handle. So, buy your Krispy Kreme donuts, but have someone else set up the donut board.
Hair and Make-up – Don’t be nervous, but EVERYONE will be staring at you on your wedding day. You are the center of the show. This is not a day to DIY your hair and makeup. You will look at the pictures and video of your wedding for years. You may even use the wedding pictures for your first-year-of-marriage Christmas card (did I mention Shutterfly?). Your mom will show these pictures to everyone that comes into her home from the day of your wedding until her first grandchild. You want to be a beautiful, stress-free bride, so call that stylist now.
Photography – Yes, you obviously can’t take your own pictures and still be in them. So, why put this in a DIY Do’s and Don’ts? The reason is simple; I’ve seen too many disappointed brides when they ask their friend/neighbor/aunt who’s an amateur photographer to photograph their wedding. Yes, this saves money. No, this does not provide the best pictures. You want to be able to look back on this day years from now and see the smiling face of your husband when he first saw you in your wedding dress; or see the picture of your niece standing in your brother’s shoes to dance like a grown up at the reception. You don’t want to see a blur that may have been your first dance or your cake cutting. You want to immortalize your wedding, not watercolor it.
Now go ahead and start looking for hula-hoop chandeliers on Pinterest. You can thank me later.