Does the DIY craze drive you crazy? Are you on a DIY budget but don’t have the time or ability to create your centerpieces and décor? If you are like most engaged couples, you want to have a remarkable wedding and wow your guests! But how?

Don’t stress out just yet! I have some tips for you …..

What NOT to DIY

A simple internet search will bring up so many articles on this subject, it will have your head spinning. Here’s a quick and dirty list of what you should NEVER DIY for your wedding …

Red and white bouquet

Red & White Bouquet created by Paper Blooms ‘n’ More (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Photo Courtesy of AltF Photography (Las Vegas, NV)


While it’s very true that ordering flowers online to make your own bouquets and centerpieces can be a money-saving option – fresh flowers can only be assembled one to two days prior to your event. Do you really want to spend the entire day before your wedding doing this? And it will take a team of you to complete this daunting task!

You and your wedding party should be enjoying spa treatments, celebratory lunches and, of course, your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner – AND getting the all-important sleep the night before your wedding! Don’t spend this valuable time arranging your flowers yourself!

The Food

Don’t leave this up to mom or Aunt Sally. Your friends and family should never be asked to work your wedding – they should be guests like everyone else! Leave the food to a professional caterer! There are many options to fit even the smallest of budgets. Do your research and you will find the best options.


Trust me when I tell you to not trust your photographs to a family member or friend – no matter how great their vacation photos always look! My first husband and I did this for our wedding – and guess what? We ended up with ZERO photos!

The photos and/or videos are the only tangible items you can take away from your wedding – the only things that will stand the test of time and help you recall every magical moment of your special day. Why entrust that to an amateur?

And…quite frankly…don’t skimp on the cheapest photographer either! Be sure you hire a professional who will give you timeless images.

The Bar

If you are going to serve alcohol, leave this to the professionals also. Determining the amount to purchase is difficult. And, you also need to remember ice, cups, drink mixers, garnishes (olives), etc. If you want to serve more than soft drinks, beer and wine, determining the right liquors and other beverages to create mixed drinks can be confusing.

More importantly, however, you will need to have someone who is licensed and trained to know when to “cut someone off.” And these days, many venues will not allow alcohol on the premises unless you have hired a licensed bartender. So, if you can’t afford all of this, then just opt for a “dry” wedding and only serve soft drinks, water and coffee.

Wedding DJ

The Music

It may seem like a great idea to have Cousin Bob use his iPod and just play some music for your ceremony and reception – but don’t do it! That iPod needs to be plugged into a professional sound system, you’ll need microphones for the speeches, and once again – do you really want to have family and friends work your wedding? No!!!!!

On top of that, will Cousin Bob download a wide variety of music styles to please ALL of your guests? A professional DJ will handle all of your music and knows how to keep the party going! And many DJ’s offer lighting packages and photo booths these days, also, so you get more bang for your buck!

But … What CAN You DIY For Your Wedding?

Hair & Makeup

You can probably do your own, unless you want something fancy or over-the-top. If you do, leave this to professionals also.


You may know someone who is a top-notch seamstress and can make your wedding dress or bridesmaids dresses. Many websites will advise you against this, but if you truly have someone talented, then I say go for it!


Yes, you really CAN do these yourself and often for a very low cost, too! YouTube and Google are your friends! Many beautiful centerpieces and décor items can be created even from dollar store items.

My Décor Design Assistant and I recently created all of the centerpieces for a 25th Anniversary Vow Renewal. We learned how to silver leaf glass vases and bowls, and picture frames, and how to make fabric carnations and roses.

We also created many items for bridal show booths (see photos at

While some of these ideas are time-consuming, they are by no means difficult to learn and can result in some lovely décor items for your wedding.

Cocktail Hour Snacks

Yes, I said it – food. Am I contradicting myself from my previous advice? Not really. Hear me out ….

If you have a difficult or low budget, then I always advise spending your money on the photographs above anything else. So you then start asking, how can I save money? Well, that’s easy – bring your own snacks for your cocktail hour.

Honestly, I watch Four Weddings all the time and am constantly amazed at the amount of food these couples have at their cocktail hour – and then they have a full course meal immediately afterwards at the reception! I have no idea how their guests can possibly eat all that food!

And you are probably asking, why do I need a cocktail hour anyway? Well, you want your guests to have something to do while you are having photos taken. The last thing you want is for bored guests to leave before you even make your entrance as a married couple!

So, if you need to cut costs, bring your own snacks. Make some appetizers yourself. Believe me, your guests will not mind at all! A lot of wedding websites may lead you to believe that guests remember the food above anything else – but I tend to disagree. I believe guests will remember the ceremony and the overall reception experience! The food in itself will not really matter if everyone has a great time and are moved emotionally!

When to Hire a Professional for Décor Items

This has an obvious answer! When you can afford it, first of all! Secondly, when you just don’t have the time or ability – or desire – to make your own décor! Many items can be rented – be sure to search the internet for local rental companies.

Here in Dayton, Ohio, the premier rental company is Prime Time Party Rental and they have every item imaginable – tents, couches, furniture, centerpieces, tables, chairs, table linens, napkins – everything!

And oftentimes, when you have hired a wedding planner, he/she can obtain a slight discount on the rentals on your behalf!

Meet Christy Kerley & Paper Blooms ‘n’ More

Other décor items are becoming quite popular – paper flowers, backdrops, and customized signs, guest book alternatives, programs and seating charts. In my area, my “go to” vendor is Christy Kerley who owns Paper Blooms ‘n’ More in Cincinnati, Ohio. Christy is one of the most creative people I have had the privilege of meeting since entering the wedding industry, and I was afforded an opportunity recently to get to know her and her business a little more.

In 2011, a friend of Christy’s asked for a dozen red roses for his girlfriend – soon to be fiancé – so Christy made up some lovely paper blooms and shipped them to California. She told me she had so much fun making those flowers but little did she know, just two weeks later she found herself making dozens more roses for Valentine’s Day and soon booked her first wedding!

Since 2011, she has completed around 400 weddings and many more bouquets, and well as full décor packages for brides & grooms who want to think outside the box and be creative.

Paper Blooms ‘n’ More typically works with clients of all genders and ages, and have found that the average wedding budget ranges around $30,000.00 and above for fully customized items. But, don’t let that scare you!   Christy stated, “The average couple cannot have a fully customizable wedding” so she guides those with limited budgets to create a few unique items to make their wedding special and remarkable, all within their budget.

I asked Christy about how she works with brides/grooms to create unique items that help them tell their story for their wedding. She explained that she starts with a Pinterest board to see what the bride/groom likes or dislikes, and together they narrow it down and come up with some extraordinary and one-of-a-kind items. Christy will meet with a bride/groom for anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours to begin the design process.


She has created everything from bouquets, to hangers, to seating charts and custom signs – and so much more. Many of the items made by Christy and her team can also be personalized with laser engraving!

One of my favorite things recently created by Christy is this ornament seating chart. Christy laser cut each gold mirror acrylic ornament, and then engraved them with the guest names and table numbers. Small bags were hung on one of the hooks so that guests could take the ornament with them as the wedding favor! Such a beautiful display, isn’t it?

Christy went on to tell me, “Floral backdrops and walls seem to be very popular with clients these days.” She loves to create items that will be over-the-top and wow wedding guests. She often gets requests for specific items – recently, she created key fobs that replicated a vintage hotel key.

“If you can dream it, we can create it,” was how Christy summed up what she does for each and every customer.

You can find Christy at or by email at She also can be found on Facebook. Paper Blooms ‘n’ More is located in Cincinnati, but can ship items to any location. To date, they have shipped items to every state in the United States, as well as Belgium, Holland, Russia, Italy, Singapore, New Zealand, and Chile. Christy stated, “We love what we do and want to create that perfect moment for your special day!”

Write Your Own Story For a Remarkable Wedding!

There are so many ways you can tell your story, and make your wedding not only unique and remarkable – but memorable too! And you can do this even on a budget! Don’t be afraid to explore your options – and I always recommend hiring an experienced wedding planner to guide you to the best options for you! And remember, TLC Events & Weddings has a very talented Décor Design Assistant who can handle everything for you!

Let’s get started today creating a magical wedding! Visit my Services page to learn more, and then complete the form on the Contact page to schedule an initial consultation at no charge to you!


With Tender Loving Care,