Top 3 DIY Wedding Don’ts

Top 3 DIY Wedding don’ts

On Holly’s Hot Wedding Tips

Top 3 DIY Wedding Don'ts

Being in the wedding industry has allowed me to participate in many different wedding celebrations. Professionally run events, are always a pleasure to participate in. But what about DIY weddings (do it yourself)? After attending a few DIY weddings, I wanted to know the top 3 DIY wedding don’ts. What do you need to turn over to a professional to ensure your event runs smoothly? I met with a panel of wedding experts to answer these questions.

Panel of Wedding Experts


The panel I invited included a wedding planner, event planner, officiant, and an event designer. Let’s meet the ladies behind the advice. Norie from Weddings by Norie is a wedding officiant and wedding planner. Carol spoke from IMES Events an wedding and corporate event planning company.  Our wedding event décor designer is Megan from Event Atelier. Finally, Wendie Bass, is the head of the mid-western Association of Bridal Consultants and owner of Wendie Bass Weddings and more.

Top 3 DIY Wedding don’ts

  • Disk Jockey-Hire a professional. Don’t DIY the master of ceremony, your DJ.
  • Photographer-Photos are forever. Don’t DIY your wedding photos.
  • Caterer-Feed your guests well. Don’t DIY the catering.

Don’t DIY your DJ

disk jockey

With the advent of I-pods and portable music devices, it can be tempting to DIY your DJ services. According to experts, a DJ is more than just a playlist. A professional DJ knows there’s an ebb and a flow to your reception and they know how to manage that ebb and flow with music, tone of voice, and announcements. They are the master of ceremonies and most importantly the keeper of your timeline. Just look online to see how couples are disappointed when they hired a friend to be their DJ. The timeline gets away, announcements are missed, and important parts are rushed or missed. The DJ is the #1 most important professional to hire for your wedding.

Don’t DIY your Photographer

photo camera

Pictures are forever. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get your friends and family together to celebrate your union. It is tempting to put out disposable cameras or use everyone’s cell phone. In hindsight, many brides report that you end up with photos of private parts, blurry photos, or no photos.  You miss first look photos, family photos and the best of your guests. You want someone with the experience to move through all the shots you want at an even pace, so it does not interrupt the flow of your wedding. There is nothing more irritating to guests than to be held up for inordinately long photo sessions. At the end of the day, you will have your photos to remember your celebration with.

Don’t DIY your food


Making the meal yourself, or asking your family and friends cook takes them from being your guest to working for your wedding. You are putting on an event for your family and friends and you want them to have a good time and enjoy themselves. A professional caterer will make it their priority how the food is being served. Hot food, will be served hot, and cold food being served cold. Nobody likes a cold dinner. Don’t skimp on feeding your guests. There is nothing more embarrassing than running out of food or drink and asking your wedding party to forgo dining. Even worse, having an outbreak of food poising because DIY food sat out too long. Your guests will remember if they ate well or were worried that the food would run out. Decide what kind of memory you want them to have.

How to know what to let go
lift bride

When do you know it is best to abandon the DIY? Martha Stewart’s weddings magazines noted that every bride needs some help at some point. Either from the bridesmaids, family, or by hiring a planner. Don’t be afraid when you get in over your head to look for professional help. You Don’t need to ruin your relationship over trying to DIY your wedding.

There’s a recent study out that it takes on average 528 hours to plan a wedding. If you are busy with your job and family, there is no shame in hiring an expert. Weather you hire a planner by the hour to help you organize your big day, or a day of coordinator to run your event so you can relax enjoy your big day.

Experienced advice is worth its weight in gold when you compare it to learning at the event that you needed a lot more help that you realized.  A small financial investment can make your event a success. Did you stop and evaluate how do I want my wedding to go? Do I want to be enjoying the party? or Do I want to be the person they’re coming to every time someone has a question? You want to enjoy your wedding and you want your guests to enjoy your wedding. You don’t want your friends working it.

What is the tipping point for hiring a wedding planner?
wedding gifts

I asked my panel what is the maximum number of guests that you can DIY well? They came back with no more than 45 people. Here’s this thing, moving wedding guests is like moving cats. We all love cat’s, but they pretty much do what they want which is what you will experience with your wedding guests. I would say anytime you are above 50 guests and definitely at the 100 guests point. Someone outside of the friend/family or even the location representative to help move people and direct events.

When you get to a certain level of guests it takes time to move guests. If you’re looking at 100 or 125 or 150 it takes time for them to move in from literally the patio in to finding their seats can take 15 to 20 minutes. A professional is going to know this. We’re going to keep working with the schedule. We’ll work with the caterer we’ll work with the DJ. We’ll be working with all the vendors there to keep everybody knowing, “Ok we’re moving guests in at this time”. So, if you’ve got a wedding where your ceremony is at one location and your reception is at another, you’re definitely going to want to consider having professional help.

Wedding experts

Thank you to this wonderful panel of experts. You can find them at:

  • Megan Tierney
    Event Atelier

green wedding

Holly Collins
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