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What's Up Weddings

DIY Bride: Rent or Reuse?

Apr 12, 2012 05:50PM ● By Anonymous

When I was little, and my little sister and I wanted to sing like Celine Dion or Mariah Carey (don’t judge), I would tie a hairbrush to the top of a folded-up music stand (you won’t be able to imagine that unless you had one…) and we would stand in the mirror, belting out the lyrics to All by Myself and Hero like we were performing in front of the masses. But I always assumed it was a logic thing, not a creative thing. (In retrospect it’s an embarrassing thing…) Until I got to grad school, when professors started commenting on how “imaginative” I was. So, after three years in a publication design program I still get really excited about my creative concepts, and then tend to fall flat when it comes to execution. I can imagine it, I just can’t produce it.

As it turns out, that same predicament rings through to all of my DIY bridal endeavors. There are two reasons to DIY wedding elements: to save money and to add a personal touch. Unfortunately, for the craft-challenged, the former is just not accurate. By the time I finished our save the dates, I’d spent more money on printing, paint pens, stickers and stamps—half of which I ultimately decided not to use—than I ever would have if I’d consulted a professional. But, I made them myself, and there is something sweet about that.

So I’ve decided that since saving money is an important part of our decision to DIY, I would try things a little differently. For one, I’m going to limit the amount of money spent on rentals. I am in love with the idea of mix and match china. So, instead of renting dishes, we have been scouring yard sales, Craig’s List, Ebay and consignment shops for cheap, cheap pieces. The idea is that while it’s more money up front, we can eventually resell some of the pieces and donate what we can’t. Granted, I’m not making the china, but I’m picking it out, piece by piece. We’ll probably keep one set for ourselves. And maybe we’ll eat off of our actual “wedding china” on anniversaries! Personal, and in the end (I hope), a savings.

The same will go for our glasses. I’ll probably buy these in sets, but they should be easy to resell on sites like to other brides who are looking for the same thing. Lighting is another expense we plan to purchase and repurpose rather than rent. You can find adorable strings of white lights anywhere, and if you clip the right coupons you can find them cheap. After the wedding, we’ll use to them to spruce up our backyard (perfect for a Derby party), and to decorate our first Christmas tree as a married couple. How sweet will that be!?

The more of these “purchase and repurpose or resell” items I find, the more excited I get. Maybe after the wedding I’ll set up my own little Ebay store. And, while it puts a slight strain on the wallet in the meantime (and let’s be honest, whose wedding doesn’t?) after the wedding we can hope for the best in getting some of those dollars back, or at least reusing the merchandise.

I am using this theory to recast myself as a “DIY bride” (after the save the date incident I was temporarily dethroned). And even though I’m not making everything, I am hand selecting it—and that both saves money and personalizes it. Two for two. In the words of our photographer, (more on this in a future post): “Boom!”