Wedding Diaries: The One with the “DIY Vendors”

May 27, 2015

There comes a time during every wedding planning process when you will ask yourself an important question:

To DIY or not to DIY?

DIY projects are a great way to add a personal touch to your wedding. Sam and I are undertaking a lot of building projects that I will blog about later- probably after the wedding because I’m all about keeping things a surprise 🙂 However, I wanted to write a blog about something I am referring to “DIY Vendors.” These are the roles in a wedding that can be performed by a professional OR possibly DIY’ed.

When you are on a tight budget, the list of DIY projects becomes longer and longer. You start to wonder which vendors are absolutely necessary and which a family friend could do instead.

If our wedding had an unlimited budget, I would be hiring a vendor for everything from massages the morning of the wedding to a firework show and puppy wedding favors to end the night. Just kidding. But I would be hiring a team to handle the day for me! Unfortunately, we are “Limited,” with a capital L.


In my opinion there are three vendors should absolutely not be “DIY’ed”: the Photographer (duh), the wedding coordinator, and the caterer. The uncle with the nice camera as your photographer or the cousin that has been to 6 weddings acting as your coordinator just doesn’t work. You are just asking for trouble! Moving on to the other vendors…

  1. Florist
    • I decided to hire a professional florist because of time restraints; however, this is a pretty obvious DIY Vendor. It requires a bit of skill and understanding of flowers, as well as time. In LA we are lucky to have the Flower Mart and brides are commonly found shopping there the morning before their wedding. You will also need to dedicate the morning of your wedding to putting together arrangements and bouquets (corsages and boutonnieres can be done the night before and left in the fridge). When it comes to flowers I believe more is more, so don’t be afraid to put a lot of personality into your flower choices 🙂
  2. Catering (DESSERTS ONLY)
    • This is one of my DIY Vendors. I opted to hire a friend/ wedding guests to bake our desserts (not a wedding cake!) for a fraction of the cost a traditional bakery would have charged. Most people know someone that is a talented baker that would be happy to work for the cost of materials and hugs.
  3. Invitation Design & Signs
    • Initially this was an obvious DIY Vendor for us. I know my way around photoshop and we could have everything printed locally. I created our Save the Dates with no problem and then moved on to the invitations. As we started the design process, it was a lot more time consuming and frustrating than we expected. We want something minimal but unique and everything looked… home made. So I got creative and found a talented artist on Etsy that was willing to work with us for a fraction of the cost.
    • I will be DIY’ing all of our other paper goods and wedding signs. I am excellent at cutting and staining wood, but might have to bride a friend with nice hand writing to do the rest.
  4. Photo Booth
    • This one has stumped me majorly! We ran out of room in the budget to hire a photo booth (my dream was this amazing VW photo booth bus from San Diego) and are now at the point of figuring out how to DIY this. Our options are to set up my DSLR and tether it to my computer to create an open-air booth with a backdrop, or we can stick to polaroids and toy cameras.
  5. Rentals
    • Our venue requires us to bring in everything! We immediately found a rental company for tables and chairs. Budget Hint: instead of working with a company that markets to weddings, look for a bigger name corporate rental company. We found great rates at A-1!
    • Our next step was to decide what was actually going on the table. We are still deciding on place settings (buy good quality paper for a “rustic” feel or rent real china?). I have slowly become a thrifting master, gathering vases and decor from the goodwill, estate sales, and more! I plan on re-selling the items after our wedding on craigslist, and for about 75% of the cost. (These are also great sites to buy used wedding items!) When I need something in bulk I have been using websites like oh my gosh it is a lifesaver!
  6. Officiant
    • This is probably my favorite DIY Vendor! One thing most brides do not know is that almost anyone can marry you (assuming you are not getting married in a church.) If there is a friend or family member that you want involved in your wedding in a unique way, consider asking them to officiate. All they need to do is pay a small fee and answer some questions to become an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church. I know it might sound silly… but to us it is important to have someone that knows us personally to be marrying us. Who is our minister? Now that’s a surprise! 🙂

I hope this helps all of your future brides and grooms on a budget, and if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments!





Where’s your venue for the wedding and reception? I like doing events that I can put together myself I just need a space to work with. And I don’t know of ver many.

Our wedding is at a retreat center called Bailey’s Palomar Resort on Palomar Mountain (near Pala/ Temecula)! There are also a few venues in Malibu that allow you freedom to create! 🙂