As many of us are aware many of the recent brides are on very tight budgets. So the brides have been turning to DIY to save money. Now I am a huge fan of DIY for those who have the time and are creative. But most brides don't realize the time and money that goes into DIY. Especially when mistakes are made.
As vendors what can we do to either embrace this movement or convice the brides they can get what they need with a professional. My initial idea is to encourage couples to review their guest lists. Suddenly a budget of $5,000 can go a lot further when the list goes from 150 to 75.

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When I got married 12 years ago, 4 years before I became a florist, I did a few DIY projects for my wedding. Although they turned out OK it was A LOT of time, there was a lot of re-do's, and I made my own center pieces which needed to be done the day before the wedding, which caused a lot of stress.
Now when I meet with clients and they would like me to provide flowers for DIY projects I discuss their vision and may make some suggestions but also inform them about the time that it will take. Most appreciate the time I take with them to explain the details. Some change their mind before their day and some don't.
TV shows and celebrity weddings in magazines have inspired bride's for sure but we need to face facts that most of us don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on one, although special, day.
If I was a bride today with all this information at my finger tips I would prioritize what I was willing to spend money on and what I could do myself, or with trusted help, where I could cut and where I could not and definitely I would get a planner to help me make appropriate decisions as to what is achievable. I would never, never again do anything that required ME to do the work within the last few days before my wedding-that is money well spent!
Rose's Flowers and Gifts
I am a calligrapher. While everyone cannot affort my services, I do make some products available at a very reasonable rate to help them DIY. For example see these place cards. They are pictured with calligraphy but they are availble to purchase without calligraphy:
My daughter is getting married in May and my son in June. The planning of these weddings has been so fun. Planning my daughters wedding, we have turned to DIY for the invitations, favors, some of the decorations and the programs. I am sure that we are saving a great deal of money on these items, but more importantly they are a gift of time to the people who will be attending the wedding. Can a professional do a better job? Probably, but the sentimental gift we are giving our guest can never be achieved by a professional. A wedding is one of the biggest days in a young girls life and much thought should be put into by the bride. We designed the "save the date" cards and already we are receiving calls saying they know this will be an unusual and fun wedding. Tradition has been thrown out the door. We are planning the wedding that is in their dreams, not a professional's. To me, if you want a wedding planner and you are a DIY, you should have her at the end to pull all of your ideas together and tell you what you missed. Also, for us, I plan to have a professional wedding planner the day of the wedding. I want to enjoy the day and not worry about something I missed.
I'm glad you're having fun planning your daughter and son's weddings. And I'm glad you're having a planner coming in for "the day of" so that you can enjoy your children's weddings, but, perhaps you might want to think about this.

First, a planner does not plan a wedding that meets his or her vision. They interpret the vision of their client and generally can help make it come to life in a way that even the client hadn't considered or they can follow your directions and/or show you alternatives. We do this every day. You'll do it a couple of times in your lifetime.

When you bring in a planner at the beginning of the process, the planner can steer you in the right direction rather than trying to pick up the pieces and correct often costly mistakes that DIY brides/parents may have already made.

Another thing is that you can still have a DIY wedding and the consultant at the same time. A good planner will work with you on whatever you want her to. She won't run over the top of you and, in the long run, most planners can save you money for the simple reason that we have buying power that you don't.

It's just a common misconception that DIY weddings and planners can't go together.

I wish your children and your family every happiness. I'm sure the weddings will be a lovely experience for all involved.

Phyllis Cambria
I had recently lost a customer for wedding invitations. It was not a high price at all as she is a friend for a long time. But i said to my self I dont need her to sign a contract or put a deposit on it. Well her mother asked why they were 150.00 for 60 invitations. Well there are done professionally i told her. You get everything you need as if you did them at home you will have to order another set of envelopes -tissue paper to go over the invitation And the invite will not be Embossed with the lettering As when u DIY its just the computer You dont get the professional look as i will give to you. I also included doing the wax seal Not the peel and stick The actual dripping for the wax and so on. I had gotten the color that she wanted so bad for the invite for the lettering also. And i even was helping her plan the wedding too I did the hall set up and had it printed on the computer for her to have. I mean i went out of my way for $150.00 cause she is mt friend And i have been working on her wedding for the past 9 months now. And i get a call from her mother saying she is going to do the invites herself cause she found a 2 heart invite from Party city for $10.00 bucks So she doesn't want them to be professionally done cause it costs so much money Me and the Bride already spoke on the price and it was fine. Her mother kept asking me is there a way i can bring the price down. I can put everything together with you and you can take off like 20 to 30 bucks. I told her no for the reason is that i dont want anything touched by another person As when you touch the papers - invites - envelopes they will start to get dirty.Let me do what i do best. So this way you dont have to worry about 1 thing with the Invitations. It will be all taken care of. Now i get slapped in the face cause we had just had a meeting 1 hour before. All they wanted was all mu info for the hall and stuff and couldn't tell me there.I'm so very hurt and upset about this. I know she is on a budget and i gave her the best price all around where we live. Well i learned my lesson No matter if they are friends or family I will always have them give me a deposit and sign the contract So this will never ever happen again. Does anyone have any tips that i can say to people that are like this or ha e it every happened to you??
Sorry you learned the lesson the hard way, but it is a painful and important one. You want to help out a friend or family member, great! Give them whatever price reductions you feel are necessary but always get the contract because friends and family members - sad as it is - are often more likely to think they don't have to pay.

From now on, just say, "I'll be happy to give you a discount, but I need a deposit to pay my supplier and a contract for my accountant when he does my taxes, I'm sure you can understand that." Or, if you want, just offer the invitations and say it's your wedding present to them.

Hope that helps! :)

Phyllis Cambria
I am running into a similar situation myself. Recently, a friend asked me to help plan their wedding. I sent them a questionnaire that sought to better understand the extent to the services needed. They never filled it out, instead the started sending me jobs to do, like booking accommodations for their guests. Since they are friends, I started working on coordinating accommodations, but am wondering how I will send them a quote seeing as how they haven't really defined what jobs we will be helping them with. I don't want this to blow up in my face and I know that I have to confront the situation, but it's hard. Some people really just don't get it!
You said she's a friend so meet her for lunch one day and sit down and ask the questions you need answered. Personally I hate sending questionnaires because I never get the full depth of what I can do for the client if I don't personally ask probing questions. The questionnaire is a helpful tool but it never tells the whole story.

Be upfront with your friend and explain to her that in order for you to best help her, you need to treat her like you would any client. Remember, you're the professional planner and not just an order taker (although I wouldn't phrase it like that to your friend! LOL) so it's important for you not to treat her any differently than you would any other client.

If she hedges or seems to think you're doing this for free, you really need to be open and honest with her. You can tell her that your normal fee is X but that for her you'll charge her Y. Or you can decide if you want to do this for her as a wedding present (although it would be less expensive to just buy her a present in the long run).

Again, your friend doesn't get it but you really have to toughen up and talk to her. I know it's hard, but unless you want to feel bitter because you think your friend is taking advantage of you, you really need to act professionally and explain the situation to her. But do it in person in a friendly, relaxed fashion. Or decide if you want to make it even more professional and insist that she makes an appointment with you so that you can discuss everything.

If you don't, you'll either resent her or she'll be upset with you because she thought you were doing something for little or nothing and you thought she knew she had to pay you.

Nip this in the bud now before it gets out of control.

Let us know what happens, Kristen. It will probably be easier than you think. :)

Phyllis Cambria
In response to this and Simply Creative... regardless of who your "working for" you are running a business. A contract is a must. I've done invitations for friends and family and they had no problems signing a contract; I've had other brides who refused to sign a contract and guess what? I refused to do their invitations!
Resend them it. Call them and talk . I just had 1 blow up in my face from a friend of many years. Well were not friends anymore at all. And when people get upset they tent to make bad remarks to people and you didn't even sell them or do something for them.
Thre truth is that no matter where a bridal budget is reduced, it hurts the industry. "Use the venue's linens"--that reduces the revenue to the rental industry. "Make your own centerpiece" reduces the revenue to the floral industry. "Cut back on appetizers" reduces the caterer's revenues....The Special Event Industry is suffering,with business down 30-40%. It is not a sign of greed to hold a formal celebration--- many message boards even condemned the White House for the State Dinner they held for India! Sadly, I can walk into a venue and know imediately if it was a DIY wedding....
Check out this video on Youtube

"How NOT to plan your wedding"


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