How Do I Know What to DIY at My Wedding?

A wedding announcement greets guests at the reception

“D.I.Y.” or “Do It Yourself” is the motto of capable people who can take the bull by the horns and make their own dreams come true. Before the modern DIY revolution, most people hired someone to do anything they weren’t skilled in or knowledgeable about. Now with the likes of Pinterest and YouTube, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when someone has already done it for you with step by step instructions!

We love when couples take the initiative to DIY, and we encourage you to do as many things as possible yourself for your own wedding. Not only will it help your budget go a lot farther, but it also means that you will be in control of almost every detail of your special day.

But how do you know what NOT to attempt yourself? Here is our handy guide:


Decorations are a DIY item all the way. Check out Pinterest for your favorite ideas, then make them come together using items from garage sales, craft stores, or discount stores. By checking sites like Facebook Marketplace and Varage Sale, you can even find already made decorations (at a fraction of the original price) from couples who don’t need them anymore.


If you have a friend or relative who is a performer you could save on entertainment, but you definitely want to make sure you’ve seen them perform in advance and know what to expect. Otherwise, it’s better to choose someone who’s reputable, will bring and set up their own equipment, and has all necessary insurance/permits for the venue and city. If you’re going to have a second line parade or outside music, it’s especially critical to make sure that the proper permits are in place.

Newlyweds stand with Second Line band in New Orleans


Favors are another one that you can easily do yourself. Try browsing websites for items that you can buy in bulk or find something you like and find a way to recreate it. When I was getting married I found votive holders I loved at an upscale boutique, but they were $12 a piece which adds up quickly. Instead I bought plain glass votive holders and spray painted them myself at a cost of .83 cents per holder! 


Flowers are a tricky one, but you can go either way on this item. I have an aunt who is famous for making the most gorgeous bouquets. What she does is pick out really beautiful grocery store flowers by the single stems, duct tape them together in the perfect arrangement, then cover the tape with satin ribbon and pins. It’s genius and it stays together, not to mention costs a fraction of the price that you’d pay for a florist to do the same. The downside to DIY flowers is that they don’t travel well, so if you’re not getting married nearby you really need to consider hiring a professional. Additionally, if you don’t have someone who can watch over them the night before, water and refrigerate them if necessary, and carefully transport them to the ceremony, you may want to invest a few extra dollars toward hiring a professional. 

bride holds bouquet


We’re pretty sure that you don’t want to be in the kitchen on your wedding day! This is something you could possibly farm out to friends and family if you’re having a small, local wedding, especially if there’s a special recipe among your clan. However, if you’re having a large wedding or destination wedding it’s best to hire professionals to handle the food. You’ll also want to check with the venue, as many of them have in house catering and don’t allow outside food.


There’s no reason why you can’t design your own invitations nowadays. You can also order them from Etsy, a local small business, or independent contractor for a fraction of the price that you’d pay a professional invitation shop. You can also try sites like Upwork or Fiverr to connect with graphic designers who can create custom invitations for as little as $5 a template, as well as calligraphers who can address them for you.

Bouquet, bridal shoes, and wedding rings surround a wedding invitation


Licensing can be very tricky, so if you’re not sure what you’re doing it’s best to get your officiant or wedding planners to help you. You should also make sure you’re complying with the laws and regulations of the city, town, or (in our case) parish where you’re tying the knot, especially if you’re doing something like having a second-line or parade to accompany your ceremony. Your wedding is a joyous occasion which we don’t want to be smudged by tickets or fines.


 If there is someone special in your life that you’d like to officiate your ceremony, feel free to ask them. They can get certified easily online in the church of your choice and you’ll be able to pay a reduced fee. Often, when a friend marries you, they’ll donate the services as your wedding gift. You’ll need to make sure they are licensed in the state in which your ceremony will occur and determine if they need to be there earlier for paperwork, so if that’s not possible you may need an officiant who knows local and regional laws. 

Bride and groom stand in front of officiant during wedding ceremony in New Orleans

Photo Booth

A photo booth is something that can easily be done yourself. Check out Pinterest and other sites (or photo booths in the area) for the setup that they use, then recreate their frames and props. If you have any amateur photographers that would like to help out with your wedding, this is where they can be useful!


Photography is going to be a “hard no” in our opinion. Your wedding day will only come once and it needs to be captured beautifully. We understand that photography is expensive, but you can find the right person who will stick within your budget. The price is expensive because having good equipment is expensive. Trust us on this one, we have seen too many amateur photographers ruin wedding photos (not our personal clients!) to know what can happen. You won’t get a chance to catch those precious moments again, so it’s important that it be done right the first time. The same goes for wedding videographers.

bride and groom pose under bride's veil


 A venue is something you can find yourself, but it is very time consuming. At the very least you’ll want a place that has been used before (and troubleshot) for weddings, as well as a place that carries some kind of insurance. We typically suggest having a list of venues you’re interested in, then letting your wedding planner contact them for more information.

Wedding Planning

Last but not least, are your wedding planners. Of course you can wedding plan yourselves, as most couples do a large portion of the wedding planning whether they hire someone or not. The difference though, is that a wedding planner is there to implement your vision and make it come to life so that you can do what you’re supposed to do on your big day — enjoy it! By splurging on the wedding planner(s), you’ll be treating yourself to a better experience by ensuring all of the work you’ve put into your big day goes off without a hitch!

Napoleon House

If you’re looking to get married in New Orleans, we offer all-inclusive packages that take the stress out of planning. Check out our services or contact us to get started!

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