- reduce the cost
- more personal and individual
- opportunity to involve friends/family
- greater choice
- lower environmental impact (dependant on couple's choices)
- more ethical (again, dependant on couple's choices)
So, if that has convinced you, the next step is to start thinking about what elements you can DIY. Most people when thinking about this would think of the stationary, but with a bit of imagination and some assistance from friends/family there is a whole lot more you can create.
- stationary - more and more craft shops are selling packs for brides wishing to make their own stationary and it's not as hard as you think. For an even more professional finish, try to find a friend or family member who is able to do calligraphy to write the names on invitations and place cards.
- Cake - I would never attempt to make a wedding cake from scratch, but it wouldn't be totally beyond me to buy a plain cake to decorate. However, how about breaking with tradition and going for a more unconvential 'cake'? A collection of cup cakes makes a delightful display and is perfect for dishing out to guests. You could enlist the help of several friends - just don't eat them all before the big day!
- Flowers - does one of your family or friends have a gift with flowers? Many people can create stunning floral arrangements, so ask around. For a more quaint look and feel, you could grow your own flowers. The 'Country garden', 'Afternoon tea' and 'Village fete' wedding themes are perfect for a collection of homegrown flowers - the perfection of this day is in the imperfection. A perfect cala lilly and highly sculptured bouquet just would not fit in, but a handpicked selection of wild blooms would be a beautiful finishing touch. If you are horticulturally-challenged, this might be a task that you enlist the help of those with greener fingers.
- Wedding rings - I'm not advocating using curtain rings! Making your own wedding rings is not something you can attempt on your own, unless you've had training. However, a number of places offer workshops where you can go as a couple to create your wedding rings.
- Jewellery - attempting to make you own tiara or jewellery yourself as a first adventure into jewellery making is not the best idea. However, a number of craft and bead shops do offer workshops and with some time and assistance you may be able to create some simple pieces for your big day.
- Favours - favours are not essential, but can be a lovely addition to your tables. There are many favours that can be handmade - truffles are one delicious idea.
There are many more elements of a wedding that can be created yourself, but hopefully this will have set you thinking. I believe the main thing is to be realistic about your abilities when it comes to creating things and get other people involved - oh, and plan ahead to avoid last minute stress and a rush to get things made in time. I will be looking at some of the things that you can create yourself in greater detail in my blog, so check back for more great ideas. If you like the feel of handmade, but don't feel you can commit the time to DIY, why not shop handmade instead? There are many talented people out there who sell their wonderful creations - check out places like Folksy, Etsy and MISI for starters.
If you are getting married and have any ideas of things you would like me to write about in more detail, please post your ideas in the comments. I'd also be interested to hear what elements people are making themselves. Sellers - please feel free to post links to your websites and shops.