Several times over the last several months, I’ve heard many of these stories. The poor bride who really wants to do everything themselves, who doesn’t realize that there are wedding pro’s who can assist them and take some of the craziness & stress away. So she on her own or with her mom; the True DIY bride tries her best to put together her dream wedding together. Doing hours and hours of research, running all over town meeting with different vendors, trying to understand what the fine print in the contracts mean, if they even read it. Crying in the middle of the night or nearly having a nervous break-down is no way to live, especially if it’s for months on end. It really makes my heart hurt for them. Now these brides are helping their friends or helping their children to plan their wedding.
Here are some of the stories from these brides so you can learn from their mistakes. Our first bride got married 20 years ago. Granted at the time, there were not a lot of wedding professionals who could help her, but it is because of the brides that lived in this era that wedding planners and professionals came about. Now granted this is when personalized weddings started to emerge and the cookie cutter wedding of a reception in the church fellowship hall with punch, cookies and mints really went to bank burner and brides wanted to have a wedding reception that showcased their personality.
Our first DIY bride, Sarah, wanted to have her dream wedding, a church ceremony followed by a lavish dance party. The couple didn’t have a ton of cash to work with, but wanted something fabulous that they could call their own and be unique to them. Then as what typically happens, good meaning family steps in to help and take a guess as to what happens next. If you guessed tears and long nights of arguing, you guessed right. Sarah and her finance had 200 people at their wedding. The ceremony was in a beautiful church with sixteen attendants total between the couple, parents, grandparents and cousins that all needed to be in pictures. Just trying to wrangle those that needed to be in the pictures was a chore all in itself and instead of being able to relax, the bride, Sarah was having to run all over the church to gather those who were to be in the pictures, and if they didn’t stick around, she had to go track them down again. The pictures after the ceremony took almost three hours and she was already tired and over her wedding before the reception even started.
Then it was time for the reception, the flowers on the tables we’re want she expected, the cake was on the wrong table, guests were seated in the head tables, the DJ wasn’t able to keep the attention of the guests who were more than ready to leave when she finally got there. Before the end of her wedding day, she was in tears again, because her wedding day was ruined. This can still happen when you’re only looking at the bottom line and not paying attention to the quality of the vendors and professionals that you’re hiring today.
Then she got her photo’s back from the photographer three months after her wedding, she hated every single one. There’s only one wedding photo displayed in their house to this day and she hides it behind other photo’s on the piano in their formal living room. It was when she got the photo’s back she discovered that it was the 2nd wedding he had ever done. He had no experience with angles, shadows, lighting techniques and nearly everyone in every picture…it was as if he tried to make everyone look as bad as he possibly could.
She said that since they wanted ALL the BELLS and WHISTLES for their wedding so they hired everyone who came in as inexpensively as possible and it backfired. Not just backfired, but literally made her wedding day a bitter memory. Her exact words, I wish that I had the foresight to hire an outside Day Of Coordinator it would have made my life and my families lives so much easier.
Our next bride, actually worked in the wedding industry, planning other peoples wedding for them, thinking that 3 years and close to 100 weddings already planned for others I thought that I could do my entire wedding, including the day of myself, but being young, not having much money to be able to spend and impressionable, she allowed family to step in and help. OMG. That’s the only way to describe what happens next. Her fiancé gave her three months to plan the entire wedding from start to the finish – including the wedding day. Things started out great, her fiancé had a few requests, such as everything takes place in a church and on this particular day, here’s the $3,000 that you have to work with for absolutely everything for this wedding and we have approximately 200 people who will be invited to attend. Does this sound familiar? Even 17 years ago, this was and still is in every way, shape and form, impossible. Yes I said it. It’s true and you’d be mad at me if I told you it was possible only to find out that I lied to you. That’s the one thing I’ll never do, I won’t lie to you.
So the rest of story is pretty similar to Sarah’s. Family stepped in to help and their help was appreciated. However, the wedding day was nothing like envisioned. The part of the story you’ll love, is because I was in the wedding industry and had floral design training, when the flowers showed up and nothing was even close to accurate I was supposed to be walking down the aisle and instead was running down the sidewalk of the church still in a button down flannel shirt, jeans and cowboy boots to the floral shop to get the items required to fix their screw up. I always advise, NOT under any circumstances using family friends or companies owned by family or their friends to assist with photography, your cake, DJ, floral arranging, your hair or make up design or any other aspects of your wedding, why you ask. It’s simple. If it’s all messed up, you can’t tell them, you can’t yell, or cry; if you do it puts a wedge in family or hurts feelings and that can’t be undone. So when I finally am ready to walk down the aisle (2 hrs after when I was supposed to) I was ready to spit nails and breathe fire. It would have been obvious in every picture. Our photographer was a friend of my great grandparents. Again there’s only one way to describe this haute mess. OMG. All of five photos were burned to ashes upon them showing up. The only reason the last five weren’t, my husband refused to let me finish burning so there would be some photo’s as proof that we really did get married. You’ll love this part, most of you know how anal I am with my 20 page wedding day timelines, explicated details and making sure that everyone involved knows what’s going on. Since my entire wedding and reception took place at the church, by my husbands’ request, I had to use the gal at the church as our wedding coordinator to handle the details. I’m convinced to this day, that she couldn’t read or knew directions i.e. north, east or west. I had zero confidence in her abilities, so I came to the church 8 hours early and set up the entire reception myself so it would be right. By the time that I walked down the aisle she moved everything I had set up so I knew it would be correct.
Why do I tell you this? It’s very easy. I want you to be able to understand that even those with 100 weddings under their belt and three years of experience (which by the way, is still super wet behind the ears) had no business trying to do it all on her own at the age of 20. Young and impressionable my wedding day was the furthest thing from what I envisioned. As a result now, I and everyone of my staff is trained to listen to our brides to find out what is important to you and make sure that your vision is what happens within your budget. Of course this works the best when we help from the beginning or shortly thereafter. I personally feel that my wedding went the way it did so that I knew from the brides perspective how she feels when she’s not listened to, and doesn’t stand up for herself. I wish I had hired a Day of Coordinator who could have held it all together for me at the caliber I was accustomed to doing it for the brides I work with.
Our next DIY bride, Marlene waited until she was older, in her 30’s to get married. She married her high-school sweetheart after they saw each other at a high-school reunion. She decided that she could plan her wedding herself and be her own day of coordinator. Ambitious and impressive, right? Just wait and listen for the chaos to begin. She was working as an office manager while trying to plan her wedding. She was doing ton’s of research on the internet to find the perfect location, the right caterer, the cake bakery that really understood what she wanted to achieve on her wedding day. Frustrated that her finance didn’t want to attend any meetings except the caterer and the cake bakery and his ideas were so different from her own she was up nearly every night for months crying herself to sleep. She wasn’t able to find the right centerpiece items she wanted or anything else. Items that were close were just so expensive that she was worried that she couldn’t have the wedding she wanted. Finally after months of beating her head against the wall, she finally found the perfect rhinestones in the shape that she wanted. She ordered them and when they arrived she discovered the reason why they were so inexpensive compared to the others. The picture was blown up and made them look like what she wanted but they were ¼ of the size she was looking for. Other items started to arrive and the rhinestones on the cake knife and server were already falling off, the mirrors were cracked, the special themed shot glasses with their picture barely even looked like them. She was devastated, but there was no time to get it fixed. The reception location dropped her room booking and re-booked the room because she didn’t realize that she missed the payment date since she was so involved in the quest for her perfect items. The same thing happened with her florist, so there was no bouquet or centerpieces.
After the ceremony the horse carriage arrived to take her and her brand new husband to their reception, the wrong reception site, because she didn’t realize she needed to inform them that it was a different site now. The new site for the reception is too far for the carriage to travel so now she’s stuck at the old reception site. They had to wait for a cab to come and get them and take them to the new reception site. As if that isn’t bad enough she didn’t pick the carriage color, the company guessed and was the opposite of what she had wanted. All of these things could have been avoided if she had used a planner. An actual pro who works in the industry, who is trained to check, double check and triple check the details to make sure that if there’s something that you missed, it gets taken care of. She told me at the end of her story, “I wish that I had the foresight to hire an outside Day Of Coordinator. Now that I know what a planner and coordinator could have done for me, I would have been so much better off if I had.”
Our next and final DIY bride for this article is Amber. She and her mother started planning the wedding a year ago. Now that the wedding is a month away and they are no longer speaking to each other they have come the realization that something needs to happen and happen in a hurry. In desperation, Amber tells her mother that she’ll handle the alterations of the dress, the decisions at the caterer and the florist appointment while her mother took care of the rest. In the confusion, the DJ was missed, so her wedding of 300 people all spent five hours staring at each other with no entertainment. The cake was the total opposite of what Amber and the bakery had discussed several months earlier. Amber and her mother still aren’t speaking and her mom has never seen her children. This wedding day outcome could have been avoided. Bringing in a day of coordinator and some extra hourly help could have made 100% difference in this wedding and possibly even saved their relationship. Most wedding planners do help with relationship and argument resolution on a regular basis. She told me that she wished she had hired a partial planner and had someone to pull it all together for her on the day of.
Now other than the crazy escapades that all of the DIY brides have in common, is that after the fact, every single one said to themselves and others, “Don’t plan your wedding completely on your own! I wish that I had the foresight to hire an outside Day Of Coordinator. If you feel that you must plan your wedding completely on your own, under every circumstance, always get a Day of Coordinator. Day of Coordinators can solve many of the above issues for you so that you can save your sanity and be able to cherish your memories of your wedding day.”