Here’s why you need a DIY schedule – it may seem your wedding is still far away… but it’s also closer than you think. As any crafty person will tell you, as soon as you put those scissors, paper, glue and ribbons into action, you’ll be surprised how time can fly. We’ve prepared this essential schedule to help you get organised with all your tasks.
Remember – it’s best to make just one or two things well, rather than many things that look just so-so. As you’ll see below, many DIY tasks need much advance time, and they overlap too, so you could find yourself doing too many things at once. We recommend you take on no more than two projects, where one is a single item, and the other is up to you. It’s also a good idea to have some support, so ask friends, family, bridesmaids and your other half to help.
12 Weeks Before – DIY Wedding Invitations
If invitations are to be sent out six to eight weeks before the big day, then begin at least four weeks before that, depending on how many guests you’ve invited. Naturally, 30 invitations will take much less time than 300. Allow at least one weekend to try your design – you have to make at least two practice runs before you’re sure you really can do it, and the final results look exactly like you imagined. Set a timer to find out how long each invitation will take, then multiply by the number… then add at least two more days on top. Delays are inevitable.
A great alternative is making just a few DIY invitations for the people who are extra special in your life – your parents, grandparents, siblings, best friends and anyone else you especially cherish. The rest can have the same design, but have them professionally printed instead.
Image from studiodiy.com
10 Weeks Before – DIY Wedding Mason Jars
Our 10 week recommendation is no accident – if you haven’t started collecting the jars, you’re approaching the point of no return. Of course, you could simply buy the whole lot, but do it only if there’s room in your budget. So, what do you want to do with those jars then, and how many do you need to make? Wrap in doilies and twine to use as candleholders? You can do that well ahead of time and store. Wrap with ribbon and fresh flowers? Do the ribbon, but you’ll have to wait until the last minute to put in the flowers. Fill with colourful cocktails? Make sure the jars are thoroughly washed well in advance, the drinks will be mixed on the day itself. We could go on, but you get the idea – depending on your intended use for the jars, it could be a quick job, or quite a few days of tying bows. Best to get it done early and store away.
Click here for 10 fantastic DIY ideas for your wedding
8 Weeks Before – DIY Wedding Stationery
The stationery is everything else – your mass booklets, place cards, menus, thank-you cards, table numbers, and anything else that goes on paper. Think of the numbers – you’ll need only one seating plan, as many table numbers as there are tables, and one of everything else for each guest. Is this a big job? You bet – and it’s best to start right away after the invitations go out in the mail. To cut down on time, keep the design simple and classy, in a neutral colour. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and admit you have a big job ahead -best to call for some reinforcements in the form of friends and family, and at least one person with beautiful penmanship.
Image from Maria & Sean’s real wedding by Tomasz Kornas Photography
5 Weeks Before – DIY Ring Cushion
Now, here’s honest to goodness advice. If you’re really not sure of your way with a needle and thread, skip making this or ask for help from someone who really knows what they’re doing. However, if your skill levels comfortably reach such things as sewing buttons, hemming pants or darning small holes, you’ll definitely be fine with a simple project. Pretty fabric is key, and if it has a little pattern or a bit of lacy design, it’ll be easier to hide crooked stitches. This should take no more than three days – one day shopping for supplies, then two days for the sewing, nice and easy.
Click here for amazing gold items you can DIY for your wedding
4 Weeks Before – DIY Table Centrepieces
Depends what you’re making and how many tables you’ll have. Are you wrapping bottles in yarn? That won’t take long at all, especially if you have help – allow about two days. Are you dipping jars in paint, or gluing stuff all over them? That’s fiddly, plus you have to allow for drying time. Give it extra two or three days, just in case. Are you having stacks of books with a vintage frame on top? Chances are you won’t find them in one shopping trip, especially if you’re looking for specific colours or sizes. Allow two weekends at least, for book shopping, and don’t forget to visit carboot sales. We suggest you make two extra centrepieces just in case – it’s best to be prepared for any last minute changes.
Image from Pinterest
3 Weeks Before – DIY Confetti Cones
They are truly super easy to make and take very little time – the hardest part will be deciding what kind of paper you want to use. You’ll need only three tools – scissors (in case the paper needs cutting down to size), a stapler or glue line (stapler is far less troublesome), and a hole puncher if you want to attach ribbons for hanging up or decoration. Roll to a cone, staple at the top and bottom, and tie a bow if you fancy. Done! You could do this in just a few evenings while watching TV.
You can make these well ahead of time because they can be stacked easily and put aside until the wedding day. Just mind the ribbons.
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3 Weeks Before – Seating Plan
You won’t be able to fill it with names until the very last moment – so for now you can simply prepare the background, then leave blank spaces until the day before the wedding. Of course, you should arrange the seating plan beforehand and leave only the writing until the last minute, even if you’ve received all of the RSVPs back. A simple plan should take no more than two days – one day for shopping, and one for making. The best design is one you can change easily in case of any unforeseen mishaps. For example, it’s a good idea to write the names for each table together on one piece of card. This way, if something changes at one table, you won’t have to make a whole new plan from scratch – just replace the single card. Make sure you have a safe place to store it flat.
Image from Maeve & Dylan’s real wedding by Tomasz Kornas Photography
2 Weeks Before – DIY Bridal Bouquet
Before you even start this project, consider where you’ll store your bouquet. If it’s going to be made of brooches, buttons or other sturdy materials, it won’t be difficult. But if it’s made of fabric, felt or paper, you’re going to have to be a lot more careful and keep it separate from everything else, in case it gets accidentally crushed. Allow one whole weekend to make it – it probably won’t take so long, but you want a little extra time in case you make any errors along the way. In case of an utter disaster, make note of a good local florist, or flower market where you could throw something fresh together as a last-minute rescue.
5 Days Before – DIY Wedding Cake
Depending on the complexity of your cake, you could get away with starting three days before the wedding – for example, bake Thursday, decorate Friday, get married on Saturday. That’s definitely doable for an experienced baker who rarely makes errors – but do you really want to spend those final few days in the kitchen? If you start five days ahead, you’ll split the job into smaller steps that take far less time. First, bake all parts, then wrap them up well and put in the freezer overnight. The following day, do the filling, and put back in the fridge. Next day, add icing, and on the final day – decorate. On the fifth day, consume cake at your own reception. You should also have Plan B ready, just in case something doesn’t work out – a tower of Krispy Kreme donuts is a totally acceptable last-minute alternative for a modern bride.
Main image of mason jar centrepieces courtesy of wedwebtalks.com
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.