Shelly Pate

Pros & Cons of a DIY Wedding: How to Get Friends & Family Involved

Ever since wedding planning was placed into the hands of wedding planners or coordinators, the wedding planning experience changed. Now, we have come full circle and most couples incorporate both planned and DIY elements to their wedding day. Here is my breakdown of what you can do, who you can involve to do it, and my own tips for how much makes sense for a DIY wedding day!

How to Make a DIY Wedding Plan

Every wedding should have a couple’s own personal stamp on it. This can be your own creation, involve family and friends, or utilize outside vendors entirely. Either way, your wedding day should include touches that make it feel and look like it represents the two of you. How exactly that is accomplished is your decision, but it should always be about YOU!

floral and lace table setting at backyard wedding

For most couples this involves elements from DIY wedding decorations to DIY wedding flowers made by yourself or by friends and family. You can even include just a single DIY element and leave the rest up to the professionals. These are some general pros and cons when considering a do-it-yourself wedding:


wooden leaf table setting
  1. Personalize your day to your own style.
  2. Handmade details and family heirlooms hold more meaning and memories.
  3. You can save money but it isn’t always the case.
  4. Loved ones feel included.


  1. Plans are needed for organizing and executing who will bring the items and set them up on the day.
  2. It can get very time consuming. I suggest starting earlier than you think you should and doing one project at a time before moving onto the next.
  1. A DIY wedding decoration can look less elevated and high-end.
  2. You have to figure out what to do with the items after the wedding. Creating multi-purpose items that become your home decor or seating charts that transform into DIY wedding party favors can help!

I always recommend hiring a day-of wedding coordinator for the following reasons:

  • They know how to problem-solve, work behind the scenes and take charge of your entire day without needing to come to you for last-minute decisions.
  • A coordinator will better keep up with your wedding planner timeline knowing how to use buffer time to keep everything on track.

Here is my breakdown of what you can do, who you can involve to do it, and my own tips for the amount of DIY that works for a single wedding day!

Drawing a Line for How Much DIY is Possible

Yes, it is possible to over-DIY your wedding day. The results can be placing unnecessary burdens on yourself or those closest to you for tasks that could have easily been outsourced. Hiring great wedding vendors and allowing the experts to bring your vision to life relieves the stress of your day. A line should always be drawn before too much DIY is attempted and this line primarily depends upon the type of wedding.

couple exchanges rings at backyard wedding

For an intimate wedding you can easily use DIY wedding decoration ideas especially if you own the property or if you opt for an elopement with less decor. You have increased control and flexibility for the day when it’s smaller and your own space.

Costs increase for larger weddings so you need to be more selective with your chosen DIY wedding elements. Renting or hiring outside vendors can be less overwhelming, be of a higher and more elegant quality, and often cost the same or even less!

My advice is to do your research and really count both the monetary and time cost of going the DIY wedding route.

couple exits backyard wedding through bubbles

All That Friends & Family Can Do for a DIY Wedding

In some cases, freeing family and friends from the responsibility of bringing or doing anything for your wedding day is the greatest gift you can provide. On the other hand, they can be offended if you don’t let them help or participate in some way. Though I would never recommend styling your day according to outside pressures, there are still ways to include loved ones on your big day!

It’s a great way to involve those who want to feel like they are contributing but not let them take over the day. Key to this balance is firmly communicating what is important to you. It is your wedding day, not theirs, and sometimes this reminder is needed.

There are so many ways that loved ones can contribute. They may have just the skills you need to make your day happen! Here are some recommended DIY wedding ideas that don’t have to be an added stressor for your friends and family!

Tasks for Friends & Family

  • Have a parent be in charge of food and drinks for the getting-ready portion of the day.
  • Do hair and makeup for the bride and bridesmaids.
  • Allow family to throw a shower or engagement party for you.
  • Pass off arranging transportation for the day.
couple sits under veil at washington DC wedding
  • Officiate the wedding ceremony. Having friends officiate holds so much meaning. A friend I’ve known since high school who actually introduced me to my husband was our wedding officiant. We knew we didn’t want a stranger to officiate so it was perfect for us (read more in our vow renewal story!).
  • This bride’s mom made all of the desserts which were incredibly beautiful and tasted amazing. The mom also created cornhole bags from vintage fabric for this garden wedding theme!
handmade wedding pies and cupcakes
  • Little details like a DIY wedding sign or pressed flowers!
personalized wedding hashtag sign
  • DIY wedding favor: at our wedding we made a mixed CD with cute custom cases. We also put it on a Spotify playlist to download. I still listen to it and we have friends tell us all the time that they do as well!
personalized mixed CD wedding favor

In order to make your wedding day happen, you know best who to ask to do which task. If there are family members who easily get overwhelmed and become controlling, those aren’t the ones you’ll ask to help!

To DIY or Not to DIY–The Choice is Yours

couple enters wedding tent reception

So much meaning is added when all the little details are personally made like designing your own vow books or a skateboard guest book! But, including DIY components in your day should add meaning and relieve stress–not add to it!

I ultimately recommend a mixed DIY wedding with planned elements as the best choice! This allows you to add some personality to your day without being overwhelmed. There are just some roles that professionals always do best–like your wedding photography!

Want to hear all my DIY wedding stories of how things went well or backfired? Let’s hop on a call and I’ll share all of the behind the scenes!


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