Wedding DIY – Let Someone Else Do It!

Do you fancy yourself something of an artist? Are you planning to put together your own wedding by yourself? If you’re doing it out of financial necessity, then you’ll get what you get. But if you have some fiscal flexibility, consider leaving some of the key elements of your big day to people who’ve done them thousands of times, and know how to do them right. Here are five tasks that are best left to the professionals.

1. Dinner

Even if you’re a gourmet chef, planning a wedding meal for 100 guests takes a lot more than the knowledge to mix your ingredients properly. You’ll need to know how much to make, how to accommodate guests with small children and guests with dietary limitations, how much to set aside for unexpected guests, and so forth. And you can’t just slap it onto the plate. It has to be presented attractively, and each course must be served in a timely manner. Professional caterers know all the short cuts to ensure that dinner doesn’t drag on for three hours. If you’re set on doing it all yourself, why not opt for a cocktail reception with heavy appetizers instead of a full seven-course meal?

2. Photography

It takes a lot more than an iPhone camera to take beautiful wedding pictures. Even a talented friend with her 35-millimeter camera will be completely out of her element if she’s never done a few dozen weddings. Posed pictures always take a lot longer to arrange, because it’s difficult to herd people together when they’d rather be doing something else. A professional photographer knows how to do it, and how to anticipate the best way to set up for the next photo. It’s a little like playing pool. It’s not enough to make the shot; you have to leave the cue ball in position for the next shot. A professional wedding photographer won’t lose a great shot to bad lighting, or forget to take all those great close-ups of your rings, your bouquets, your champagne flutes, and all those other special elements of your wedding. And when dancing starts, a pro will recognize the perfect point in each song to take those candid shots when everyone’s hands are high in the air. It’s worth it to pay the extra money for pictures you’re going to cherish for the rest of your lives.

3. Flowers

Creating your own centerpieces or bouquets requires more than just an artistic eye. Flowers don’t last forever, and many of them don’t even last for a few hours before wilting. So you have to time them to arrive shortly before the wedding, then scramble to put everything together within a few hours. Remember, you’ll have dozens of other demands upon your time in the final 24 hours before the wedding. A professional florist will create stunning arrangements and deliver them just in time. If you simply must create your own designs, consider a florist who will bring all the flowers and set up do-it-yourself stations. In the Chicago area, we suggest Annie Occasion for Any Occasion.

4. Planning

Even with the perfect game plan, and an army of friends and relatives to help you, doing all of your own planning is going to be extraordinarily stressful. Imaging running a business that requires every employee to perform at 100% every moment, and then a third of your employees call in sick, or perform poorly. Unlike a business, you can’t just fire them, because they’re all volunteers. You’ll end up doing a lot more of the work yourself than you expected. A professional wedding planner has a “plan B” and “plan C” for everything, so unexpected twists won’t derail the entire day’s carefully planned schedule. Plus a professional will make your room look fabulous, and ensure that your guests enjoy every sight, sound, taste and smell. Even a day-of coordinator will make the day run more smoothly than a bride and groom can. Your job is to get married and party with your friends, not to micro-manage a chaotic evening.

5. Hair and Makeup

Good rule of thumb: if your hairstyle has a name, let a professional do it. A stylist can see to the tiniest detail, so the back of your head will look as good as the front. And a stylist can do it much faster than you can. While it’s great to have your hairdresser and makeup artist come to your wedding, it’s also acceptable to book your hair and makeup at the salon on your wedding morning. And it’s cheaper.
If there are DIY projects you can complete months ahead of time, go ahead. Create your own personalized invitations and favors. Put together welcome bags for your out-of-town guests. But as your big day approaches, and time gets more precious, you’ll thank yourself for choosing to let the pros handle the heavy lifting.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2016 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.

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