April 18, 2014
As event planners we are often asked for ways to save money on an event and in the same sentence the idea of a DIY project often follows. DIY ideas always sound great – “Yeah, we’ll get all the bridesmaids together and we’ll make the truffles for the guest favors!” or “No problem, we’ll get the committee together and we’ll construct these ‘out of the box’ style centerpieces for our 45 gala tables.” or “We have like a billion volunteers, so we’ll just round them up and they can learn this specialty sailor knot to make custom napkin rings.”
DIY (Do-it-yourself) is a great idea if you have a few things at your disposal:
- Time to do it
- Access to Supplies
- Room and Storage
- Some Creativity
- Ability to Problem Solve (AKA Crisis Management)
Some of these items may seem obvious, but let me explain.
Time to do it – Things take time, this is certainly not news, but if you are not crafty on a regular basis, it will take you longer to figure out the pieces needed to put it together, plus how to put it together, plus purchasing the supplies, plus organizing your “team” to help you, plus the time to actually create “it.” And if it’s something like decoupage or painted furniture, then you also have to add in some drying time!
Access to Supplies – The internet is chock full of places to get supplies, but some things end up costing you more than the item just for shipping and then you’ll have to start asking around for who might have access to it at a better price, which bring us back to #1 – time. Sometimes making your own centerpieces sounds like a good idea, but as a non-vendor person, you probably don’t have access to the wholesale flower market and it’s pricing to flower vendors. So instead, you have to purchase your supplies from a florist, a supermarket or some other random place – where you might not get exactly what you want.
Room and Storage – Depending on how ambitious your project is, you need to consider space. If you’re stuffing small favor bags with jordan almonds – first, please don’t! – this is a bit out-dated for favors, but second – you won’t need a lot of space. If you’re making centerpieces, then you need tables to create them on and somewhere to put them until the event. And if they’re flowers, then you need somewhere cool for them to sit (plus lots of buckets with water). If you’re creating the centerpieces on site, then I’m not going to lie – as the event planner, I will probably give you the evil eye unless you have a really simple design that is not going to take a big chunk of time or floor space that I need in order to make the rest of your event a success.
Some Creativity – I’m not saying you’re not creative (I don’t even know you!). What I’m saying is that at least one person on this DIY adventure needs to have some creative sensibilities to see when something looks good (or more importantly, when it looks bad!). Should the box have a bow or a knot tied on it? Should the flowers be 5 different colors? Should the placecards hanging from ribbon off the trees be held with safety pins, little clips or something else? Someone with a discerning eye should be able to lead you in the right direction on this. That Crafty Captain of yours should also be able to troubleshoot when the project doesn’t go exactly as planned.
Which leads us to our final item – Ability to Problem Solve (AKA Crisis Management). Even the most experienced builder/creator/sculptor/DIY-adventurer runs into some problems – the item you ordered online from China is stuck in customs, the kitchen is too hot and the chocolates are melting, the dog decided to take the pew markers you just made for a little jog around the backyard… First – stay calm. Second – figure out Plan B. There is always another solution to the problem, don’t automatically throw in the towel! Do not get discouraged. Third – call us, your event planner, for some additional ideas!
So, dear reader, before considering a DIY project, consider everything above, including our advice as to whether it is a good idea for your particular event. Sometimes using a respected vendor will save you time, money and heartache. If you are a bride and considering some DIY projects, be very cautious. As the bride, you will likely be pulled away for other projects and won’t have time on the morning of your wedding to build that driftwood archway for the ceremony…