3 Tips for a Lazy, Do-it-Yourself Wedding

Yesterday my friends Ryan & Jenna were married.  I was fortunate enough to not only attend their wedding, but to also help them assist them with flowers and set-up.  Tomorrow I will have a tutorial for the 6 hydrangea + peony centerpieces for $50, but today I wanted to give a recap of tips I learned for a diy-wedding.  

1. Please use disposable wares.  When you’re hosting a crowd, it’s so much easier and faster  to toss the plates, cups, napkins, etc. then to have to wash and store them.  If you’re having a caterer, it will also be cheaper to use disposable wares.  If you’re not having a caterer, your friends and family will thank you for sparing them hours of soapy water and dish rags.  There are a ton of uber-affordable yet still classy options – look for substantial plastic, as in here and here.  A great eco-friendly option is to use biodegradable forks.  Regardless, when clean-up and break down time comes around, your friends and family will thank you when they are able to simply throw much of the mess away.

2. Pick a Pretty, Convenient venue.  Here I’m talking about the basic logistics: does your venue include ample, nearby parking? Are there bathrooms on site? Sufficient kitchen facilities?  All of those things are expensive to bring in and can add stress to oversee.   Also, consider the overall feel of the room – is it pretty as it stands?  The general “look” of the venue will dominate about 80% of your decor. (A highly precise number that I pulled from here.)  You can add flowers, of course, but unless you’re planning on re-carpeting the floor or replacing the artwork, the overall look of the room should be pleasing.

3.  Add Lighting.  I believe that lighting is often overlooked as a decor element.  Warm, inviting lighting can truly transform the feel of a room – much more so than expensive flowers.  Warm lighting is created with up-lighting (about $750 for a small room to be professionally lit, or about $225 if you rent the pot lights yourself).   Another option is to add candlelight, to open or close blinds on windows, and to dim any light that is directly overhead.  If you add candles, however, plan on adding a lot.  A single tea light is puny, but grouped in clusters of 8 or 10 they appear magical.  Inexpensive tea lights are available at Ebay or the Dollar Store, are easy to set-up (simply need to place them in a holder), and easy to clean-up (simply blow out and toss in the trash).   Below I have a before and after picture of the fireplace we decorated last night – it’s clear that the candles we used make the fireplace a warm focal point for a room for very little expense or effort.

Adding Candles to a Wedding Altar

Before and After: Adding candles to a Stone Fireplace


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