DIY in the real world is pretty self-explanatory: Some things you do yourself, instead of hiring someone else to do them. What exactly you choose to do yourself depends on a myriad of factors, including budget, tools, time, and ability. This is why I “DIY” my car’s oil change, after all — I have an off-street place to park, I have the basic supplies, I have the know-how, it doesn’t take very long, and it saves me money. Changing my own oil works for me. Hell, I even like it a little.
This is DIY in the real world.
DIY in the wedding world has been, for me, another thing altogether. I’ve long been flummoxed by the term, because it seems that “DIY” gets trotted out the most when describing a wedding that has a lot of handmade elements — think pinwheels, bunting, goccoed invitations. Hence, I’ve come to equate “DIY wedding” with “crafty.”
I don’t do crafty.
Two of my best friends are among the craftiest people in the world. They can knit you a scarf, make you a purse, cross-stitch the crap out of anything. Their skills continue to amaze me, for I wouldn’t trust myself to sew a button on. One of these friends once brought her sewing machine over to help make some curtains for my bathroom, and that thing scared the shit out of me. My poor pal was baffled at my horror. “It’s really easy,” she assured me. “It really takes no skill whatsoever, you just have to learn.”
Hmm. My grandfather put it a bit differently when he described his attempts to teach my dad and his sister to play the accordion. “It takes nothing at all,” he insisted. “They just didn’t have no talent. They were awful.”
Yeah. See, that’s me with crafting. Just plain no-talent awful.
So here I was, starting to bite my nails, because I knew I wanted to DIY some elements of the wedding in order to save money, but I also knew that any project that involved a trip to Michael’s and/or the purchase of a hot glue gun was going to send me screaming and kicking into the dark recesses of hell.
Then I experienced a newsflash: DIYing my wedding doesn’t have to involve crafting if I don’t want it to. All ya’ll probably already know this, because you are smarter and wiser than I. But this was my call to get back to DIY basics. A reaffirmation of the “do what works for me” philosophy.
I started by trying to bring it down to street level. What are my skills? What do I actually like to do? OK, I’m a designer. I like to design. That means I can… you know, design things. Things like the save-the-dates, the invitations, and the wedding website. I already have the entire Adobe Creative Suite sitting right here on my MacBook Pro, after all. And I already have web hosting set up — all I have to do is purchase a domain name for our wedding site. Good! Right?
But I still felt conflicted. What with my perfectionist tendencies, designing these things is going to suck up all my free time. Moreover, save-the-dates and websites have been called out recently by the blogosphere as two of the least important wedding elements. Did I really want to waste a lot of effort and energy on things that I already know won’t matter in the long run?
Then I decided: Yes. Yes, I do.
Yeah, I know I could save buttloads of time by just picking out a readymade invitation suite. And I can’t even argue that building my own website will save us any money, because I can go out to the Knot, pick some colors and upload some pictures, and have a wedding website in under an hour for free. But do you know. How much. That would make me. HURT inside? My pride couldn’t stand a blow like that. My type-A personality would chafe under the knowledge that rrrrrghhhh this is just a template that somebody else made, and oh my god, I don’t even like this stupid scroll pattern but it’s the least offensive design of all of them.
So this is my DIY plan of action. It won’t save me much on time, but it’ll save me a little bit of money. I already have the tools on hand, and I’ll get to exercise my skills on something that’s important to me. This is what works for me.
What works for you?