DIY Wedding

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ENGAGEMENT!  You must be so excited. You found that special someone to share the rest of your life with. Let the planning and fun begin!

No matter what your budget, this will outline all you need to do. I will offer budget advise in most categories. A wedding can be an overwhelming time, especially for the bride. So remember take a deep breathe, smile, and enjoy this experience.  Whether you have 2 years, or 2 months to plan your wedding, you can do it! There are so many options out there. When I planned my wedding, I will be honest, I wasted a lot of time searching for a good deal.  I will share with you my money saving tips, and websites.

Start with drinking a lot of water, eat healthy, and exercise. I know you are probably thinking this has nothing to do with staying organized. I am here to tell you it will help you keep a clear mind. Plus, drinking a lot of water will help you feel great. Also, start a Yoga routine, if you haven't already. It will help you feel less stressed, and drinking water will make your skin glow. Now let's get planning!  

If you are not excited enough (I'm sure your excitement is through the roof) these websites will start getting the creative juices flowing. Click on the links below, and enjoy!

Fun Inspiring Websites:
Wedding Chicks
Wedding Wire
Martha Stewart Weddings
Real Simple Weddings
My Wedding
My Wedding Favors
Project Wedding
Wedding By Color
Designed By The Bride
Kinser Event Company

Websites for the DIY Bride:
Diy Wedding
Koyal Wholesale
Wedding Monograms
Intimate Weddings
Ivy Belle Weddings

FREE Printables:
You will love these websites  ... and yes they are FREE FREE FREE
Wedding Chicks Freebies
Printerest Wedding Freebies
World Label

For my California, Shasta and Tehama County Brides:
This is a one stop shop website, check out:
North State Bridal Guide

(9 Months and Earlier)

 Announce Your Engagement
With social media, this is much easier than it use to be.  Please remember to tell your close friends, and family first.  Before, you decide to put it on social medial, or however you choose to tell the world. Your close friends, and family will happy when you took the time to tell them before you told the world. You might enjoy this article from Bridal Guide.

Make your own Wedding Planner Binder
Some brides want to go buy expensive wedding planners with a few printed pages inside. However, if you are a budget conscience bride, this is easy, fun, and all the while saving you money.

Your only need to purchase:
2" Binder and
11 tab dividers (with pockets),  label each tab:
- Payments Made  (click HERE for a FREE record-keeping system for payments made to Vendors)
- Venues
- Photos & Video
- Hair & Makeup
- Dresses & Tux
- Catering
- Music (Ceremony & Reception)
- Reception
- Flowers
- Honeymoon & Travel
- Cake & Desserts
- Save-the-Date & Invitations

You will be surprised by the information you will start accumulating. By keeping it all in one spot, your fiance will not get annoyed, and you will be able to find everything when you need it.

Wedding Wire Wedding Planner. Once you print out these forms, hole punch and put on top of your tab dividers. As you get ideas, or events planned fill in your worksheets. This will be a vital tool on the day of your wedding. Either for you and your wedding party, or for your wedding planner. That way you both are on a clear understanding of what you want on your wedding day.

What is your Wedding Style?  
Now, that you have looked at a few fun websites, a magazine or two (or in my case twenty), you can
start asking each other a few simple questions:
- Large or Small wedding?
- Elegant or Simple?
- Outside, Inside or Church wedding?
- Hometown or Out of town?
- Average how many people attending?
- What time of year do you want your wedding?
- Will you include children in the guest list?
- Once you have determined both of your wishes and wants, now you can really start planning your wedding.

Check out this website for an online What is Your Wedding Style Quiz.

Use your favorite wedding websites, or the few I mentioned at the beginning. Collect images from magazines, to determine what colors you both like.  Be sure to ask your soon-to-be groom if he likes the color choices you have found.  Most grooms are not too picky. However, my husband would have cringed during our entire wedding if I choose any shade of pink.

To make your color choices easier, to find hundreds of wedding ideas, and to create a free wedding website (if you choose) you have to check out  If you don't already have one - get a Pinterest account. Just go to and request a login account. Curl up on the couch with some wine, start flipping through magazines, pull out any pictures of wedding dresses, wedding colors, and decorations, you like. Hole punch these pages and put in your Wedding Planner Folder. If time permits spend a couple months figuring out your wedding style. Then run the decorations (not the dress), and color ideas past your fiance. Once you get approval, the real fun begins.

 Select a Date for Your Wedding
If you already have a date in mind, great. Dates are important, and if you share a significant date that you will not change, that is wonderful.  If you are able to keep the date flexible, yet staying in the time of year you want, it will make booking your venue much easier. Be sure you keep in account the weather for that time of year. Here is a great article about selecting your date from Bridal Guide.

Book Your Ceremony Site
For most people, this is the most time consuming part of planning a wedding. Try to go think where you both met, or where you both shared a romantic evening.
- Use this FREE Printable Venue Questions Checklist
- Also use this FREE Printable Venue 
- Google "Wedding Venue (and your hometown city, state).
- Call each venue you are interested in. Ask is if they have your projected wedding day open (or your desired wedding date booked).  The more flexible you can be on the wedding date, the easier it will be on booking your dream wedding venue.
- Ask how much they charge for a wedding. If the price is workable, then schedule a time to go and look at their facility.
- Ask as many questions as you can.
- Add your needs and questions to the Free Printable Venue Checklist.
Once you find your Venue, book it! All other wedding plans fall into place once the venue is booked.

Reserve Your Officiant
Now that your date and location is set. You can ask your favorite officiant, or start calling to interview officiants.  You want someone with experience.  I wanted someone who did not become nervous in front of people, someone who is not going to slur their words, and someone who made sure to have fun, yet reminding us, and our guests this is a serious moment.

Find Your Reception Venue
Be sure to ask if the Wedding Venue also has a Reception space.  If your Wedding Venue does not a Reception space, start doing all the above for your Reception site using the Free Printable Venue Checklist.  

Book a Wedding Planner / Coordinator
I am a huge DIY bride.  I didn't need anyone, and I mean anyone to help me with my wedding.  I planned the entire day,  made every single decision, decoration, chair cover, centerpiece, cake topper and managed every tiny detail.  However, I did not want to stress ON the day of my wedding.  I wanted to know I can show a wedding planner exactly how I want my wedding decorated, and on my wedding it would all be taken care of.  And, it was.  I was able to relax, and enjoy the day. A wedding planner will bring up ideas you might not think of. For example, do you friends, or family set up to help pick up after the wedding?  Most Wedding Venues now, require all decorations, tables, chairs, etc be removed from the premises before midnight.  Most of the time as a bride we get absorbed into the plans, the details, yet stuck cleaning up after our own wedding just by missing this one detail. She was the one to tell the wedding party when to walk down the isle, where to stand, when my husband and I should make a toast, when we should have our first dance, etc.

So, if you need a wedding planner, for everything or just a few things. I would highly recommend this expense. Search the internet in your area. Since you have already booked your venue, and you have your wedding date set. You can book your Wedding Planner, for just the day of decorating, and keeping things moving. Or, you can have her do everything for you.  Either way, I promise you will be happy you have a Wedding Planner.  Our planner also kept the entire day on time.  I did not have to think (or stress) on forgetting to do anything.  My wedding planner only charged me $300.00. The best money I ever spent.

** On a budget, contact your local College, or University.  Ask for their Wedding Planning Dept. Ask to post a job for those who are almost out of school, and need the experience.  Most people who plan on being a wedding planner are highly organized people.  Having someone highly organized to help during your wedding will be worth it.

 Determine Budget
The easiest way to lower your budget, is lower that amount of people you invite.  Start by getting a brief idea of how many people you will invite.  Then take that number times it by 25. (The average price per plate for reception).  This is a good way to get an idea just how much your reception could cost if you have a sit down dinner or buffet.  This helped me in determining the number of guests we could invite. Another website that might help you out from

 Select and Order Your Bridal Gown and Headpiece
** On a Budget, check out Davids Bridal.  They offer a lot of great deals. However, don't be fooled this is the only bargain Bridal Store out there.  Have you thought of going to a thrift store?  There are a ton of wedding dresses at thrift stores still in their plastic covers.

 Select Bridesmaids, and flower girl dresses
** On a Budget,  around Easter time there are so many beautiful dresses.  I went to my local Ross Store.  I told all my Bridesmaids what color I would like their dresses to be, and let them  pick their own dress.  Not only did they feel more beautiful, and comfortable, the dresses only cost $19.00 each.  If you can manage to pay this expense I highly recommend it. I feel they are doing so much for the bride, this is the least you can do as a bride. Especially at those great prices.

Attend a Bridal Expo
This website could help you find a local Bridal Expo from
Go online and search "bridal expo (and your city,state).  Not only will there be hundreds of venues, caterers, honeymoon travel agents, photographers and more. There are giveaways, and discounts given if you book them at the expo. You can sample caterers food, and ask all your questions.  Put all brochures in your pocket tab dividers in your wedding planner folder.

Book your Photographer
It can be scary when you start booking Vendors for the big day.  Just remember they only need a deposit to lock in your date. If you are having your wedding locally, use Facebook.  Ask your friends, and family their recommendation for a great photographer.  It is a huge time saver to see your friends photos photos from their wedding, along with the photographer they used. This time saving method will make you feel great when you book your photographer.

Once you have a photographer in mind, call him/her, check if your wedding date is available, and schedule a meeting. If you are happy with this photographer, schedule your ENGAGEMENT PICTURE SESSION.
Log into your account, and start looking at Save the Date/Engagement picture ideas. Save or Print out any ideas you both like, and share with your photographer.

Most Photographers offer Photo Booths too.  Ask, and check out prices.  Usually you can get a deal when you book Photo Booth, and Photographer package. I will say all of our guests (young and old) loved the Photo Booth.  I bought a scrapbook, and put in blank pages. The guests received a picture, and a copy to put in our scrapbook with a message to us.  My husband and I loved this so much.

** On a budget, you can ask a friend who might be needing photography experience. You can also contact colleges and ask if you can post a job board. There are a lot of great photographers who need experience. Plus, you can always look at their work before booking them.  Now days, almost everyone is camera savvy.  Be sure to outline exactly what you want for your pictures.  Send them a pinterest board showing wedding pictures you like.  Be sure to find a contract online, for you and the photographer to sign.  Outlining price, and details.

Order Save-The-Date Magnets
Your guests will be so pleased to find your Save-the-Date reminder in the mail.
Once you find your Venue, your wedding date is set, your engagement photos have been taken, go to and order your Save-The-Date Magnets.  This website has the best quality for the price. has been creating more and more. The quality has been much better lately. People love Magnets because they go right on their fridge, and it is easy to remember when your wedding is coming up.  

(6 to 9 Months Before Wedding)

Book your make-up and hairstylist 
The REALLY good Hairstylists & Make-Up Artists book up fast. I wasn't sure if I wanted to use a hairstylist, or a makeup artist.  I waited until three months prior to my wedding, unfortunately all of the highly recommended ones were taken.  Book early on, set up a day to go in and the Hairstylist can play with your hair.  Find a style you like, express your likes and don't likes. Request from your Hairstylist who she would recommend for a Make-Up Artist.  Word of mouth referrals are the best. Plus, it insures your Hair and Make-Up Artist will be able to work together well on your big day.

Book your Caterer
This was an easy choice for me. I ran into an old friend at a Bridal Expo. Come to find out when we lost contact, she became a Caterer. The Bridal Expo allowed me to sample food from over 30 different Caterers.  When would I have had the time to go around and sample all that food.  As fun as it sounds, this girl does not have that much time on her hands. :) I also used Social Media to narrow down my catering choices (and the Bridal Expo). The options were endless, and honestly it seemed overwhelming. I went on Facebook and asked my friends "Does anyone have a recommendation for a Caterer?". The responses quickly came in. It made making a choice a lot easier. Oh, and if you are have buffet style at your wedding, please ask your Caterer to fix the Bride, and Groom plates up for them, and bring them to your table.  Unless, the idea of possibly spilling food on your dress, or tripping with a plate full of food in your hands sounds like a good time. :)  My Caterer offered this without me asking. And, as silly as it sounds I was so excited. I think it was one less thing as a bride I had to stress over. Eating, and not getting food on my dress was up to me though.  

Book your Music, Band or DJ
Will you need music played while walking down the isle, and when your guests are being seated?  Many couple getting married forget this. (See below) Start by determining if you want a band, or a DJ. Cost might be a determining factor in this decision. Check out DJs on the Internet, and start by asking if they are available on the day of your wedding. Ask their pricing, and the amount of time they will play for.

If you were able to go to a Bridal Expo (advised above), this process will be easier for you. The expos give you a chance to meet and interview DJs, ask your questions, (will they use a music preferred list you can offer? Are they willing to NOT play certain songs, or genres?). One DJ in particular I met and I knew I did not want on my wedding.  My fiance informed me that he kept hitting on me.  The last DJ I want for my wedding was a tacky one, that will hit on me, or say inappropriate things during our wedding. I also heard of a local DJ who always cries.  Yes, I said cries.  It's one thing to cry during the ceremony but a blubbering DJ during the reception... no thank you.

Ceremony Music
I kept this separate because a lot of people assume the DJ, or band will play the music for the ceremony. Not always. Check when you book your Band or DJ.  Don't forget the option of having an artist sing or play an instrument while your guests are finding their seats, and for your arrival down the isle.  My husband and I found our Ceremony Musician by chance.  We were at a local concert, and fell in love with the band we heard.  I looked them up online, called and I  was very happy to hear he was able to perform for our wedding. And, the best part was the price wasn't as expensive.

COST:  $ - $$

Depending upon your budget, your flowers could be just a few to add color, or a major flower explosion. Flowers can get expensive, and it can easily tip the budget. Do not be afraid to add silk flowers to arrangements. There are wholesale silk flower companies online which make them a lot easier.  The great party of using silk flowers is you can start decorating your centerpieces right away. You do not have to wait for the day of the wedding.  If you want to add a few real flowers to a silk flower arrangement, it will be a quick task to accomplish the day of the wedding.  Just like the other Vendors, call or shop around.

**  On a budget, take a flower decorating class. Buy your flowers in bulk, grab your flower girls, enjoy some wine, and arrange your own flowers.  You can also buy silk flowers by wholesale.  The silk flowers now days looks as real as the real flowers do.  The best part is you can arrange the flowers months in advance, and save a ton of money.

COST:  $ - $$$$$

Create a Website
This is FREE, FREE, FREE.  If you have a ton of information you want your guests to know, yet not sure how you can inform everyone. This is really simple, and really fun to do.  All my out of town guests enjoyed this.  I shared the local hotels that would be nice to stay at.  My guests felt informed, and excited about the big day as much as I was.
To create your website:
- Go to
- Just have a few engagement pictures of the two of you ready, and you will very quickly have a website to share with your family and friends.

 Schedule Fittings
It is important for the bride, bridesmaids, and flower girls to try on their dresses closer to the wedding date.  We all can fluctuate in weight, and dresses can look a bit drab.  Fittings make a big difference.

 Select and book Videographer
** On a Budget, contact your local church and ask if they know someone who might like to video a wedding. There are very talented people in churches with a lot of great equipment. Also, you can contact a local television station to see if someone would like to video your wedding.  A lady at our local television station filmed our wedding for FREE, because she just wanted the experience.

(4 to 6 Months Before Wedding)

Start shopping for each other's wedding gifts

Reserve rental items needed for ceremony

Finalize guest list

Select and Order Wedding Invitations
Also order stationery such as thank-you notes, wedding programs, and seating cards

Address Invitations

Set date, time, and location for rehearsal dinner

Arrange accommodations for out-of-town guests
Include this on your website.  (Website information listed above)

Start planning your honeymoon, order passports

Register For Gifts
Popular stores to register:  Macy's, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate and Barrell, Bloomingdales,, Walmart, Pottery Barn, and Williams Sonoma)

Purchase Shoes and Accessories
Begin breaking in your shoes.  Wear around the house and outside to help the bottoms of your shoes not be so slippery.

(2 to 4 Months Before Wedding)

Select Style and Order Wedding Cake

Order or Make Party Favors

Order Wedding License

Order or Make Reception Decorations

Purchase Honeymoon Attire and Luggage

Select and Book Transportation for Wedding Day

Shop for Wedding Rings

Write Your Vows

Purchase Gifts for Wedding Attendants

(6 to 8 Weeks Before Wedding)

Mail Invitations

Record RSVPs and all Gifts Received

Determine Hairstyle and Makeup
Scheudule to have your hair, makeup and nails done the day of the wedding.

Finalize shopping for Wedding Day
Accessories such as toasting glasses, ring pillow, guest book

Submit Wedding Announcement
Contact your local Newspaper

Select and Reserve Wedding attire for Groom, Ushers, Ring Bearer, and Father of the Bride

Select a couple who you can trust to watch over Wedding Presents on Wedding Day

Send out announcement for rehearsal dinner

Finalize your menu, beverage, and alcohol order

(2 to 6 Weeks Before Wedding)

Confirm Ceremony Details

Arrange Final Bridal Fitting, and Bridesmaid fitting if needed

Make Final Floral Selections

Review Vendor Payments made, and payments to make the day of Wedding
Be sure the day of your wedding you have all checks made out.  Do not wait to do this the day of the wedding. It is a stressful thing to write out large checks. Your wedding day should be relaxing and enjoyable.

Meet with Photographer and show any new ideas you have, confirm contract amount left to pay

Meet with Videographer and go over ideas or questions you have confirm contract amount left to pay

Meet the musicians and confirm details, first dance song, no playlist, confirm contract amount left to pay

Plan reception room layout and seating. Write names on place cards for arranged seating.

(Last Week of Wedding)

Pick up Wedding attire

Finalize guest count and notify Caterer

Gather everything you need for wedding day

Arrange someone to drive getaway car

Confirm all honeymoon reservations and accommodations. Pick up tickets and traveler's checks

Finish packing suitcases for the honeymoon

Arrange for a few people you can count on to stay at reception to help clean up, and take rental items back next morning 
(tuxedos, cake pillars, rental decor items)

Provide each member of your wedding party a detailed schedule of events/timelines for the wedding day

Get Plenty of Sleep

(The Wedding Day)

Give the Grooms Ring to the Maid of Honor

Give the Brides Ring to the Best Man

Relax and enjoy your wedding!