With today’s blog, we’re showing photos from Emily and Rafael’s wedding. We’re not saying they did or did not DIY anything, but their day was absolutely gorgeous so we had to include it for inspiration.

One of our favorite things about the weddings our couples throw is how unique and different every single one is. No two weddings are exactly alike and each of them have personal touches that make them perfect for each individual couple. So, no matter what kind of day you’re planning, we have no doubt that it will be beautiful and customized just for you.

From intimate celebrations to grand affairs, we’ve worked hard to design a venue that will inspire a multitude of different couples. We’ve seen a ton of unique ideas brought to life on wedding days, both by our couples and their vendors, and constantly look forward to what the next wedding day will bring. When it comes to wedding planning, so many little things come to life to create such a special day. From personal momentos to expertly designed centerpieces, it’s all important and meaningful on a wedding day. So, when you start to think of ALL of the things that can go into planning a wedding, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and wonder what you can take care of on your own versus what you should leave to the professionals. 

Before we get into it, we’ll say that there’s no right way to plan a wedding. Whether you want to DIY as much as possible, hire a team to create something completely for you, or land somewhere in the middle of the two, there is no one way that fits every couple. Your availability, budget, vision, creativity, skills, and passions are all things that can help drive your decision on just how much you want to take on personally. 

So, with dozens of decisions and options, where should you start? Here are some of our favorite recommendations for things you can DIY for your wedding day, plus 4 things we think you should leave to the professionals.

Your Invitations

Whether you have the design savvy to start from scratch or use one of the dozens of websites with customizable invitation templates (Minted is a big favorite for a lot of our brides!) there are a ton of different options that will allow you to DIY your invitations. 

Your Escort Cards

There are so many fun ideas for escort cards and place settings all over Pinterest so you can find something that’s perfect for your day. From pressed flowers to mini footballs to individual cookies, escort cards are a fun project to take on in the months leading up to your wedding before trusting your coordinator to set it up perfectly. 

Your Wedding Website

We’re big proponents of having a wedding website, but there’s no reason you have to spend a lot to have one. Check out our blog here for everything we think you should include. 

Your Wedding Day Attire

We’re not suggesting you make your wedding dress or jewelry, though if you have the talent to do so then all the power to you, and can you customize something for us? Curating your look and taking time to find the perfect pieces – from jewelry to shoes to your veil – will help ensure you’re feeling your absolute best on your wedding day. 

Your Wedding Signs 

Welcome signs, bar signs, chair back signs, punny cake table signs, the list goes on and on. Wedding signs are especially easy to DIY if you or a friend have a Cricut, but good handwriting works too. 

Your Fun Details

Whether it’s your vow books, a funky pair of shoes to change into for the reception, a custom ring holder for your flat lay photos, or picture frames filled with your loved ones, there are so many fun details that you can add to your big day to personalize it more. Remember that DIY doesn’t necessarily mean making it yourself, but also the hunt to find the perfect items. Etsy is a big help with this! 

Your photo booth props 

One of our favorite recommendations for our couples having a photo booth is to customize the props to who they are and for their specific wedding. You can check out our blog about it here for more information. 

Your favors 

If you plan to give out favors to your guests, they can be even more meaningful knowing that you put them together yourself. Whether you make them from scratch or just tie a pretty bow on it, the personal aspect will always be appreciated. 

Your playlist 

While most bands and DJs will have a list of songs they regularly use and know get the party started, choosing speciality songs for important moments or songs you absolutely want played on the dance floor makes the day even more sentimental. 

Your vows 

We LOVE when our couples customize their wedding ceremonies. From writing personal vows to telling your love story, taking time to plan your ceremony is a special touch that both you and your guests will be sure to appreciate. 

And the four things you definitely shouldn’t try to DIY? 

Your Catering and Bartending

Hungry, thirsty, and grumpy guests are the last thing that you want. Professional caterers and bartenders will not only ensure that your guests are happy, they also help keep things on schedule and flowing well. They have the knowledge to recommend just how much food you need for your guest count and know how to prepare it so it’s not only fresh but also fast. 

Your Florals

For a lot of our couples, florals are one of the most dominant design aspects of their wedding day. Florists not only know how to take care of flowers and make them look good, but a lot of the floral work is done on the day of the wedding, when you’ll be busy doing other things. If you’re wondering why you should hire a professional florist, check out our blog about it here. 

Your Photography 

Long after the wedding is over, when the cake has been cut and the dance floor is empty, photos are what you’ll have to remember your day by. You spend so much time planning your wedding and we’ve said it a million times but the day truly goes by so fast. Make sure you hire a professional photographer to capture it all. 

Your Coordinating 

Depending on how involved you are in planning, you may or may not want a coordinator to help you plan all of the details of your wedding day. But what you absolutely do want at the bare minimum is a day of coordinator. We use the term loosely, because most “day of” coordinators actually step in the month or so before, but you need someone to be at the venue the day of the wedding that knows the vendors, can coordinate any hiccups that come up, and keeps things running smoothly. Coordinating all of the moving pieces and keeping up with the timeline is the last thing you want to be focusing on when you’re getting married. 

As a general rule of thumb, the best things to DIY for your wedding are things that are “extras.” The little details that build your day together, but not major things that will impact the flow of your day, add any stress to your day-of, or dramatically change the entire vibe of the day. We also recommend only DIY-ing big things that you can complete in advance and then pass off to your team, that way it’s not something you’re worrying about the week of the wedding. With that said though, the only real rule we like to follow with weddings is ensuring that you plan a day that’s entirely true to who you are. There are sites that will say to never do your own hair and makeup on your wedding day, but we have brides that feel 100 times more confident doing it themselves. Similarly, there are sites that will say DIY table centerpieces are one of the best things to do to save money, but we have couples that would rather not touch the design aspects of their day. Like we said before, there is no right answer for every couple. We create lists like these as a reference point and something to inspire you for your own day, but ultimately planning your wedding is for YOU. Make the wedding experience something you enjoy and can look back at fondly, whether that’s means you’re customizing every little thing or hiring a planner that will do it all for you. 

Emily and Rafael’s Vendor Spotlight:

Coordinator: Timeless Beginnings

Caterer: River City Catering

DJ: Northern Lights

Photographer: Ashley Medrano Photography 

Rentals: Accents & Events

Florist: Barbie Foerester

Bar: Bartenders4You

Transportation: Luxury Charters

Hair/ Makeup: Beauty Concepts 22