Weddings can be expensive — in truth, very expensive. So, it’s no surprise that frugal and canny couples look for ways to save money where they can. The multitude of online tutorials and do-it-yourself wedding ideas may encourage you to consider ditching the professional help and planning it yourself.
There are certainly some aspects of a wedding that you can do without consulting an expert. Typically, anything that can be done well in advance and doesn’t need any special skills or equipment is worth considering. Other aspects really require a professional. We’ve broken down nine areas where the DIY instinct should be handled by someone with more expertise.
#1 – Food and drink
Whether or not you’re comfortable in the kitchen, cooking and serving the food for your wedding is best left to dedicated caterers. The key time slot for preparing even a simple buffet is the same period in which you’ll be getting ready to walk down the aisle and say your vows.
In addition, domestic kitchens rarely offer enough space or equipment to prepare food for more than a handful of people. If you do try to do your own catering, it will almost guaranteed that you’ll feel frazzled and stressed when you should be feeling serene and happy.
If you can’t afford professional caterers, friends and relatives can step in and provide the food, but do yourself a favor and let someone else take the lead on organization.
#2 – Floral arrangements
Just like food, flowers for bouquets, table centerpieces, floral displays and boutonnieres need to be prepared shortly before the ceremony and then stored in exactly the right conditions so they arrive at the peak of perfection.
Floristry is both an art and a skill that requires years to perfect and utilizes some specialized tools you’re unlikely to possess. If you really can’t find the budget for a florist, consider using dried or silk flowers rather than fresh, as these can be organized well in advance of the big day.
#3 – Invitations
It’s true that at first glance, wedding invitations seem to be something that anyone with a computer and a printer can put together, but it’s wise to think again. Your invitations will set the tone for your whole wedding, and if they look amateurish, they might not make the best impression.
Plus, experienced brides will tell you that choosing your invitations is one of the most fun and stress-free parts of planning a wedding, so it would be a shame to deprive yourself of such a pleasure for a relatively modest expense.
#4 – Photography and video
However handy you are with a camera, trying to capture your wedding day yourself isn’t going to work. If you have a keen photographer among friends and family, you can ask them to step in. Still, it can be a risk, since you’ll have no idea until it’s too late whether their shots are going to turn out to your liking.
To get the best results, you need to have a detailed discussion with your photographer beforehand. Be sure to review their portfolio so you’ll know what style of photography you’ll be getting. Professional photographers and videographers have the training, experience and equipment to set up shots with the best angles and lighting. That delivers results that are likely to be far better than any amateur photographer or videographer can achieve.
#5 – Music
Unless you’re simply planning a little background music while people eat and chat, using the playlist on your i-pod probably isn’t going to cut it. An excellent professional D.J. or live band will do more than simply play music and provide equipment. They are skilled at reading the crowd and choosing music that suits the mood. They also interact with the guests and organize activities such as a first dance and bouquet toss — and if anything technical does go wrong, it’s up to them to fix it.
#6 – Your dress
Sewing or altering your own dress is a task that is probably best left to the professionals unless you’re a whizz with a sewing machine. The combination of expensive fabric, a complex design, an immovable deadline and the pressure of wanting to look your absolute best can all combine to make this a very stressful task to take on yourself.
#7- Hair and make-up
If you can’t feel pampered on your wedding day, when can you? Hiring a professional to do your hair and makeup will make sure you look and feel your very best on this important day. Do find some photographs of the style you want and book a practice session beforehand. That way, you can be sure you all have a shared understanding of your wedding style.
#8 – Transportation
You might have a lovely car but let a professional handle the transportation on the day of the big event. You don’t need to hire a limo, but do yourself and every other driver on the road on your wedding day a big favor and ask someone to drive you. They will probably be thrilled you asked.
#9 – Your cake
Elaborate multi-tiered wedding cakes are time-consuming to make and decorate and very tricky to transport. Hot weather, in particular, can cause all sorts of horrible cake disasters that could involve melting, sliding and collapsing. Professional cake-makers usually transport cakes in refrigerated vehicles to guard against these kinds of problems. If you want a cake made from a special family recipe, just ask your baker. Not only are they very skilled, but they are usually very accommodating.