Do It Yourself Weddings – For the Ultimate Stressful Expeerience

Do It Yourself Weddings – For the Ultimate Stressful Expeerience


With over 35 years in the wedding industry and approximately fifteen-hundred weddings under my belt, I have seen just about everything that can happen at a wedding – both good and bad. My purpose in writing the essays that follow is to encourage the good things and help you avoid the bad. Bear in mind that, even when a few things go awry (there is always something that does not go according to plan), nearly every couple still ends up married and has a good time.

Stress can be a Wedding Killer. It can suck the Joy right out of your day. Please understand: there is a certain amount of anxiety – a kind of Stress Base Line – that necessarily comes with any wedding. Wedding People (includes bride, groom, parents and siblings, and a small assortment of others) invest huge amounts of emotional energy into what often seems an all-important day. There are SO MANY THINGS to do!! And there is a steep learning curve for every aspect of a wedding. What’s more, there is a GOBB1 of stuff you cannot know without a history of wedding experience. That is just how it is.

At the same time, this Base Line stress is very manageable. These articles discuss ways to give you a smooth and trouble-free wedding day, keeping your stress level as close to that Base Line as possible.

1GOBB: a non-specific unit of measure, yet to be registered with the US Department of Weights & Measures, generally referring to a large number of items with no particular order or design. Similar to “a bunch” or “a pot-load.”


Do-It-Yourself Weddings:  For the Ultimate Stressful Experience

Do-It-Yourself Weddings have become increasingly popular in the last few years – so much so that the shorthand “DIY Weddings” has become commonplace. There are books and magazines and whole new businesses predicated on helping you do it yourself.1 For as long as I have been involved with other people’s weddings, more and more brides (and their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and sometimes dads & grooms) have done some part of their weddings themselves. Whether to save money or just because they wanted to make some aspect of the celebration more personal, they have launched into projects with enthusiasm and energy… often unprepared for some of the more difficult realities they would face. Do you remember that Stress Baseline I mentioned earlier? Well the stress goes WAY UP from there as you take on more of the functions normally left to professionals.

I can regale you with disaster stories of melting, collapsing or tumbling cakes, failed photography, floral disasters, half-done barn remodels and half-built wedding arches, hair & makeup gone wild, and would-be officiants who did not know one end of a ceremony from the other… all because Do-It-Yourselfers were poorly prepared or ill-advised. The more things you or your family/friends do instead of having them done by qualified professionals, the higher your cost will be in stress and mistakes.2 With amateurs, there will be more missteps and errors, things overlooked, done poorly or not done at all. That doesn’t mean you should not do at least some things yourself. Just be smart about it.

If you plan to take on most or all of your wedding yourself – venue, cake, flowers, table decorations, gowns, food, music, officiant, photography – the one person you shouldhire is a good wedding planner/coordinator. (You probably should anyway. They will often save you money, get you the best value for your dollar, and help you avoid many square yards of stress and anxiety.)  Compare planning and executing your wedding to hiking across the Rockies. It is a fantastic journey with wondrous sights to behold. It’s also a longer trip than you think and involves a steep climb. There are grizzly bears, mountain lions, badgers, bugs, rattle snakes, sudden storms, avalanches and other dangers… Or you could simply get lost.   Remember the Donner Party? They tried it without a competent guide.

By seeking and following the advice of well-qualified professionals, you will avoid the pit-falls that add stress to your wedding day or can result in a disaster.

There’s More to Come.  Check back often…


1      Yes, I know. That is an oxymoron… If you’re not doing it yourself, then you’re not doing it yourself.

2      A $30,000 wedding will still cost you $30,000 or more – in cash or stress or goof-ups or some combination of the three.