If you’re getting married, the temptation to cut costs and trim your budget may lead you to try out some Pinterest-worthy DIY projects, but wedding expert Deborah DeFrancesco warns brides and grooms to proceed with caution.
“I feel like DIY can absolutely set you up to cry,” she says. As the founder of the popular blog and podcast, Bitchless Bride, DeFrancesco understands the pressure couples are under to make their wedding their own, while also sticking to their budget.
“Weddings are so high pressure because there’s a lot at stake—you have a lot of money you’re playing with and it’s very easy to get wrapped up in DIY and saving money,” she says.
If you do plan to take on DIY projects for your big day, DeFrancesco offers her do’s and don’ts.
DO: Be realistic
Make sure you have a good understanding of the costs associated with whatever project you want to take on.
“DIY is not as cheap as you think it is,” she says. “You should take a look at how much you’re going to spend on everything DIY and include your time in there, because if you are not careful, you’ll end up going way over what you would have spent if you hired a professional to do it for you.”
Figuring out your skill level and how much time you’re willing to spend will help you keep your projects realistic and doable for your budget.
DO: Leave yourself enough time
On paper, your DIY project might look easy, but DeFrancesco estimates projects typically take at least double the time you allot for them.
“If you’re not a skilled crafter, you’re adding additional pressure to your already stressful day,” she says.
DeFrancesco advises couples to educate themselves on the project and do some practice runs so when the time comes to execute the full project, you’re realistic about how much time you need.
DO: Give yourself an out
Understanding your own limitations and knowing when to step away from your project will help you avoid a meltdown close to your big day, DeFrancesco says.
“If you feel like you got in over your head, then you have to give yourself permission to say OK, how am I going to fix this?” she says. “You either hire someone to help you fix it, you plow through, or you scrap the project and move on.”
DeFrancesco says you should try and complete all of your projects about a month before your wedding—otherwise you should reconsider how important they are to the day.
DON’T: Make your cake or arrange your flowers
Tackling big projects like baking your own cake and making your floral arrangements is better left to professionals, DeFrancesco says.
“I would not take that project on yourself, even if this is your craft, I wouldn’t have you do it,” she says. “It’s very unfortunate when it doesn’t work out and then you’re scrambling a day before your wedding.”
If you’re adamant about taking on these larger projects, practice makes perfect. “You’ll want to be able to try it out so that not only do you have an idea of how much time it’s going to take but you’ll know how it’s going to look and what the end project will be,” she says.
DON’T: Assume you can do it all
At the end of the day, you should be able to enjoy your engagement and the wedding planning process without getting too bogged down with extra stress.
“Don’t assume you can do it all—we overcompensate and we overcommit, but this is a time when you need to raise your hand and delegate and ask for help,” she says.
Don’t be afraid to hire professionals who can help you achieve the vision you have for your day and allow yourself to enjoy what the wedding is truly about.
“It’s very easy to get wrapped up in how everything looks and if it’s perfect, but at the end of wedding day, it’s about you and your significant other starting your lives together,” she says.
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