50 DIY Wedding Tips to Save Thousands
— By Raashka Mannie
11 February 2022
Aretha Franklin was right when she sang it to the world: sisters really are doing it for themselves.
As sustainability, buying local, and micro weddings continue their voyages into the wide world of weddings, DIY is bigger than ever. Although DIY weddings have been around for years and years, it’s never been on this scale. Couples are more conscious of their budgets and footprints as they plan their big days. It’s become a handy way to save time and the planet, with a whole slew of valuable tips and tricks for cutting back. We’ve put together some of the niftiest DIY trends to help you save a pretty penny as you piece together the best day of your life.
Image by Fay Carey Photographer
Sure, but why should I look at DIY for my wedding?
Firstly, it’s saving you money. There are hundreds and hundreds of details that go into weddings, from lining the aisle with flowers to making sure the groom’s boutonniere doesn’t clash with any surroundings. If you delegate each and every one, you may end up spending far more than you should. Now, we’re not saying you should shoulder everything and collapse from stress like soufflé – but you should consider where you’re able to tighten the reins, for your wallet’s sake.
Secondly, it does end up lowering your carbon footprint. DIY lends itself to sustainability, whether it’s because you’re using seasonal flowers, not paying for the added transport of goods or services, or because you’re repurposing items around you to give your wedding a distinctive, cosy touch. With more and more people leaning towards greener methods of celebrating and living in general, you won’t go wrong with adding spots of DIY here and there.
Lastly, it’s unique. There’s nothing like a personal flower arrangement, put together by you and your loved ones as you sip on cocktails and chat about this and that. Your guests will love handwritten notes with your heartfelt words in them. The wedding arch you and your partner made together from piles of your favourite books is going to make saying your vows even more special. DIY weddings add an element of individuality that’ll have you eternally grateful you chose to try your hand at customising your own wedding.
Image by Kouki Photography
50 DIY wedding ideas
1/ Solar power
All you need is double-sided tape or glue, mason jars, and solar lights to make these solar-powered lamps. They take moments to put together and will last comfortably throughout the night after soaking up the sun. Line your dancefloor or pathways with these bundles of light, designed to be a cost-effective DIY wedding tip that’s easy on our earth.
2/ Bouquets and boutonnieres
One of the most obvious tips is not to be taken lightly: arranging your own flowers. There are plenty of professionals who can handle this – but why don’t you give it a shot? Dried flowers are a cinch to add in, or you can pop by your local flower market and see what’s in season for your big day. Make an afternoon of it with your friends or your partner, trying out different combinations and finding what you love. You could use a flower of particular significance to you, too. Who says your bouquet has to be a variety? Nothing is stopping you from gliding down the aisle with a handful of sunflowers with a ribbon around them. The same goes for boutonnieres. Using ribbon, cloth or thread, you can weave together whatever you wish.
3/ Flower crowns
If you want to add a dreamy touch to your wedding, flower crowns are where it’s at. Fresh and festive, these are simple to put together, from the classic daisy chain to ferns, baby’s breath, chamomile or more. Get bendable and soft but enduring flowers, such as those, so making the flower crowns is simple for everyone. You could even turn this into an activity at the wedding itself. Flower crowns will make you feel even more royal on your special day – and they look adorable on everyone.
4/ Go faux
Not a big fan of flowers? It could be that you have hayfever or don’t want to spend that much money or time on the fresh sort. If that’s the case, why not opt for faux flowers? You can buy them from prop stores for a handful of dollars or make them yourself if you’re feeling the DIY wedding creativity take over. Use soft pom-poms for the centre and thread felt, velvet or your preferred fabric around them for the petals. All the ease, and no one has to sneeze.
5/ Get comfy
A comfort station is as wonderful as it sounds. Think of all the things your guests might need during a fabulous event: flip flops, water bottles, blankets, mini fans, parasols, the whole shebang. Depending on the season and location of your wedding, you can cater to these needs. Super easy to put together, all you have to do is pop these necessities into crates, barrels or random furniture you have around the house. As long as they’re arranged neatly and artfully, it’s going to look as cute as it is practical. Trust us, your guests will thank you.
Image by Nearly Natural
6/ Barrels and barrels
Yes, it’s the ever-versatile barrel, here to make styling your DIY wedding a billion times easier. Whether you’re using them to prop up your welcome sign, the seating arrangements or act as makeshift tables throughout your reception, barrels are pretty much ideal. You can extend their use by placing two of them together and stacking a slab of wood atop it – now you’ve got a table for guests to rest drinks on, a beverage station, a snack station or more. Barrels, fellas, I tell you!
7/ Drink to that
Speaking of beverage stations, it’s a pretty solid guess that your guests will want some refreshments. Self-serve beverage stations are incredibly easy to set up. All you need are some glass dispensers, and voila! You can have a variety of different drinks available using premixes or keep it simple with wines, juices and cucumber water. After all, who doesn’t love cucumber water? Flutes and streamlined tumblers will give you an elegant look, but mason jars will add a funky accent to your DIY wedding beverage station.
8/ Wedding welcome
Signage at your wedding matters – so why not use your own handwriting? It’ll be extra personal and extra cute. Get creative with the canvases for your DIY wedding sign. You can use a marker to write on a wood or a mirror or even get a decal printed out for a few dollars that you can stick to pretty much anything. Stencilling onto surfaces is equally nice! Go crazy and do it on anything you want, from hanging fabric to a vintage window you unearth from some op shop.
9/ Sweet tooth
We’ve got to keep the sugar at the ready. In our humble opinion, nothing gets anyone going like a mini frosted cupcake. Dessert stations are the simplest things in the world to set up. You can choose to bake or buy the sweet treats yourself, but it’s setting up the station that will wow the crowd. Display them using wooden blocks, printed plates, tiered stands or trays. Whatever your choice, make a meal of it, and you’ll end up with a dessert station that everyone will adore.
10/ The versatile ladder
You could have a bare corner you want to dress or be thinking of where to balance your escort card holders. For that, we offer the humble ladder. Innovative yet sturdy, it is a makeshift shelf that you can wrap flowers around, drape with fabric, tie bows to or even pin fairy lights on. The best part is that everyone needs a ladder, so it’s likely that you already have one. On the off chance that you don’t, it can be your something borrowed or your something new.
Image by Ryan Ray Photography
11/ The painted lady
Well, more like the painted anything. If you’re looking for lovely votives or centrepieces, our solution is to liven up jars, containers or buckets you already have around the house. Choose to spray paint them in a fitting colour or get even more creative and hand paint them with a design you love. These painted pieces will look even better with your customised arrangements resting in them!
12/ Here comes the bride
Everyone wants their walk down the aisle to be a sight to behold. Making it that way is much simpler than you realise. Line the aisle with candles, greenery, dried flowers, lavender, golden bulbs or fairy lights for a fantastic look. You can make the aisle itself stand out by draping a carpet or fabric down the centre, leading to the arch and the love of your life. It’ll take a handful of minutes to do this DIY wedding tip, but it’ll make a memory that lasts forever.
13/ Have a seat
Getting individualised seating sorted is such a chore. Who says you have to do that, anyway? Grab a chalkboard and write it up yourself! If your partner has nicer handwriting, maybe they’ll want to give it a go. Seating signs that offer everything guests need to know in one place are super convenient.
14/ Pottering about
Potted plants go with everything. Tiny ones with succulents make for no-fuss centrepieces that still look streamlined; larger trees can hang wish cards from your guests or twinkling lights. You can bring as many as you want from home, borrow from loved ones or go shopping for a couple. They’ll be going home with you if you choose the last option, so this is DIY wedding décor that you get to keep — a win-win, in our books.
15/ It’s vintage, darling
We all love boho looks (or, more recently, the MOHO trend), and vintage rugs fall into this category with such ease. Available for hire or purchase, vintage rugs are easy to find and utilise. You can rest them beneath your arch; they can frame your aisle or make up your dancefloor like the coolest patchwork quilt you’ve ever seen. Besides how awesome they look, the best thing about vintage rugs is how affordable they are. It’s a ton of personality for a very nice price.
Image by Alex C Tenser Photography
16/ Flying a kite
A little nod to childhood memories, kites seem like things of the past – but they’re still rather magical, we feel. You can find printed kites starting at around $8, easily hung from rafters, beams or marquees. They’ll dance in the wind or just make spaces brighter and more beautiful in general. You can also paint your own kites or let your guests do so for some fun and games – a DIY wedding tip that works on so many levels!
17/ Love is an open door
Here’s something all couples love to experiment with: the DIY wedding arch. You get stacks of books, garlands of flowers, origami hanging from delicate threads, vintage doors salvaged from second-hand stores, sea bark, bamboo, drapery and more. Basically, anything and everything can be used as a wedding arch. Our favourite? Right now, it has to be the vintage door look. Painted to match the style of your wedding, these doors can be decorated with flowers, lights, ribbons or more to add style like none other.
18/ Up, up and away
You don’t usually think of balloons when you think of sustainability, do you? However, the environmentally-friendly version does exist! You can grab a few (or many more) for a reasonable bundle and use them to line your aisle. You can also dress up your balloons with tassels and ribbons for a more glamorous look. This is definitely a much simpler DIY wedding tip, but it does the job.
19/ Celebrate good times, come on!
Once upon a time, people threw confetti and rice to celebrate a couple’s gleeful stroll down the aisle. Today, people like to find more resourceful and sustainable ways to commemorate the moment. We recommend putting together your own handfuls for the beloved exit toss. Paper cones are simple to make, then filled with petals, leaves, herbs or anything natural that you love. If even paper cones feel like too much of a hassle, have a bucket filled with these beauties and a little scoop, so your guests can shower you with joy at the right moment.
Wedding arches and centrepieces made of books – how dreamy is that? You can emblazon table numbers on the covers of old books and keep them in your personal library as a fond memory. You and your partner can stack your favourite ones to create the cutest arch around. Books can tell stories in more ways than one, which is why they’re some of the sweetest DIY wedding décors.
Image by Anna Jones Wedding Photography
21/ Garlands upon garlands
Garlands might seem like a difficult task, but we have news for you: they’re cheap as chips. You can put them together yourself, using dried or fresh flowers or simple greenery, but you can also purchase garlands from any prop store and hang them up yourself. Either way, it’s such an effortless way to dress up any space, from making sure your beverage station is pretty to decorating your dance floor. On top of that, they’re extra flexible and can be used as table runners, streamers, dividers and more!
22/ Pine for it
Pinecones are a dime a dozen – which is good news for us all. This DIY wedding tip couldn’t be more straightforward: grab a bunch of pinecones and dress them up however you like, from spray painting to adding sprigs of holly, and then add name cards to them. They’ll do this naturally, which is what makes them so very useful.
23/ Flower market vibes
Yes, it’s as adorable as it sounds. The flower market look is possibly one of the most straightforward techniques to looking like you put in oodles of effort. Grab some buckets or tins from around the house and fill them with fresh or dried flowers. After that, you slip in some sticks with the guests’ names on them and set them up on a table or shelf, resulting in an escort display that will amaze your guests. It looks mega personalised and elegant but will take you no less than half an hour to set up.
24/ Follow the pallet
Did you know that a pallet costs about $10? Did you know that you can also rent pallets? Both very affordable and customisable, a favoured DIY wedding tip is to paint pallets with your big day’s events. It’s a smart way to convey the order of the day, and you can dress up the pallet however you please to match the style of your wedding.
25/ Fun with furniture
We’ve all got random bits and bobs lying around the house, from dressers we’ve been meaning to revamp to side tables we are vaguely thinking of donating. Rather than spending extra on hiring furniture for your DIY wedding, choose to upcycle your furniture. Fill drawers with flowers, set favours on end tables and display your seating chart on top of an old chest you forgot about – it’ll look gorgeous, especially against the backdrop of nature.
Image by Samuel Goh Photography
26/ Fancy a game of scrabble?
For table numbers with extra charm, use your scrabble letters! You may have to borrow a few letters from friends or invest in an extra box or two, but can you really have enough of Scrabble? You can place them atop foliage, books or blocks of wood to elevate them so guests can make them out with ease.
27/ Wax seals
A personal favourite of ours is the wax seal. You would think it takes hours upon hours of being painstakingly careful, but wax seal kits cost around $20 – yes, even for something custom – and all you’ll need is a tealight and some wine as you customise place cards, programs, menus or whatever you want. If you’re not keen on hot wax, adhesive ones are also available. Wax seals add a sense of unmatched class to whatever they top. They’re also entertaining to play around with, which is why you might end up sealing a bit more than necessary.
28/ In bloom
We all love a good flower wall – but, jeez, are they expensive or what? The professionally-made flower walls do take a lot of effort, so we can understand the price tag, but if you don’t want to spend that, you can make your own! String your favourite flowers up and thread them around a doorframe, canvas or pallet. You can also use an adhesive like double-sided tape or glue if you want a fuller look. There’s no need to use fresh flowers either; fake flowers will work extra well, with hardiness to them and an excellent price to match. If you really want the wall to smell nice, all you have to do is spritz some freshener, room spray or perfume on the petals.
29/ Put a bow on it
Ribbon is that all-essential and cost-friendly addition that we love to love. You can find just about any fabric for the right price, so you are sure to settle on the type that suits your wedding. The DIY wedding tips with this one are endless: tie them to the backs of chairs, line the aisle, loop them around trees and branches, make bows on table legs and more. You can keep them neutral or use them for pizzazz. Either way, they’ll work wonders.
30/ Follow the path
Sometimes you’ve got to lay it out for your guests. Guiding them towards the reception, ceremony and mingling areas are important. You can use signs that you create yourself, but you can add some fun paths, too. Paper lanterns, lights in mason jars, candles in glass holders – they all make for beautiful pathways that your guests will happily tread down. The plus is that all these DIY wedding options are cost-effective.
Image by Wedding Wire
31/ Ice bath
Need somewhere to store those drinks? A bathtub works. You can use an old, claw-footed one and fill it up with ice and a bunch of your favourite beverages, or you can opt for a range of smaller metal ones for your guests to use. It’s best if the ice is refreshed regularly, especially if it’s hot out, but, luckily for us, that’s not going to be too hard on the wallet.
32/ Frame it
There are tons of things you can frame at your DIY wedding, from your welcome sign to your seating plan, but let’s get even more creative with it. You can frame a photo of you and your partner for your guests to leave loving messages across. You can frame table numbers that you doodle yourself. You can frame labels and signs, so guests know that they’re wandering the right way to the bathroom. Glass frames are affordable and will look as pretty as a picture – just as intended.
33/ Take a pretty picture
Guest books don’t have to be handwritten messages and nothing more. Ask your guests to snap a picture! Polaroid cameras cost around $100, and, boy, are they worth it! You can have the visual guestbook of your dreams with one, inviting your loved ones to take a picture alongside their messages. When you’re flipping through the memory years later, it’ll make you all warm and fuzzy inside, especially when you’ve got those familiar faces to look back on.
34/ With a bang
The sparkler send-off is an old-time favourite. This DIY wedding tip costs pennies to put together. Some nice cards, a few lighters and a bunch of sparklers are all you need. You can even skip the individual bundling of the sparklers and have them ready to grab from nearby jars instead. You get to be sent off in a shower of gold and delight, which is precisely what you want.
35/ Leave it to me
They literally grow on trees, so don’t take them for granted. Leaves are a lazy yet lovely solution to table runners, exit tosses, table numbers, escort cards and more. They come in all shapes and sizes, from enormous banana leaves to dinky ferns. On top of that, this is an ultra-organic DIY wedding tip. You can write on or paint them to decorate them exactly as you please, leaving you with everything you need for a fraction of the price.
Image by Flawless Photography
36/ Garden fresh
You can find DIY wedding décor just about everywhere, including your local farmers market. Fresh herbs, such as lavender, basil and mint, add incredible levels of detail to menus, table settings, chairs and more. Tie them up in burlap, stick them into jars or put a little bow on them – it will be both fragrant and fabulous. One of the most extraordinary things about herbs is how easy they are to grow. You could quite literally be spending next to nothing for this DIY venture.
37/ You’re glowing
Glowsticks are fun. You get a bunch of environmentally-safe options floating around these days, from the reusable kind to the biodegradable type. Your send-off can happen in whirls of light with glowsticks, or you can have a ball during your photo sessions with them. Heck, why not do both?
38/ Wine and dine
It’s finally time to make use of all those wine bottles. If you or your partner aren’t big on wines, reach out to loved ones that are. Wine bottles can be repurposed into table numbers, vases, candleholders, aisle liners and more. You can rinse them out, paint them, pop sprigs of lavender into them, tie silk around them – it all works. Wine bottles are helpful in a multitude of ways at your DIY wedding, not just for a delicious drink.
39/ Break out the bubbly
The exit toss doesn’t have to be a literal toss. Boxes of bubbles can cost nowhere more than $20, and they can make for the world’s prettiest photo opportunities. On top of that, it’s just one of those simple treats to be blowing streams of bubbles. You and your partner can celebrate your marriage in a stream of them, straight out of The Little Mermaid. You can break out in song while you’re at it.
40/ Get fruity
Are you getting your daily serving of fruit per day? We can help with that. Fresh fruit makes the loveliest little centrepieces while being as economical as possible. Pop them into bowls, crates, pots or more. Work with the colour scheme of your wedding and the fruit in season. Pomegranate, oranges, nectarines, dragon fruit and peaches for warm and jewel tones; green apples, lemons, elderberries, bananas, and green grapes for something brighter. Fruit is the kind of DIY wedding décor that people overlook for how obvious it may be, so give it a go!
Image by Look for the Light Photo and Video
41/ She sells seashells
Take a stroll on the beach and go seashell finding. When was the last time you did this? It’ll help you and your partner unwind – but it’ll also make your DIY wedding even more manageable. Depending on their size, seashells can be used for place settings or even table numbers. They are easily painted and make festive little pieces to add to your big day. If you don’t have the time to scour the beachside, you can order seashells online starting from around $10 per set.
42/ Pack it up
Those old, vintage suitcases you have stored somewhere in your garage can finally be put to use. From displaying wedding favours to being part of the aforementioned comfort station, this is a DIY wedding tip that is making use of the things that you or loved ones may already have. These suitcases can also be used to collect cards and messages from guests, making it a cinch to store at the end of a long, fulfilling day.
43/ Divine drapery
Anyone looking up at graceful drapery goes ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ for a good reason. You’d be surprised how easy it is to put together awe-inspiring pieces. It’s all about suitable cloth, technique, and access to a ladder. Softer fabrics work wonders to create intimacy, play with lights/shadows and soften the atmosphere of any space. You can use spare sheets you have – we recommend shades of white, beige or cream – or pop by a fabric store for something affordable and fitting.
44/ Mirror, mirror, on the wall
Fun fact: both acrylic and water paints wash off mirrors. That means you can use ones from home and borrow as many as you like for DIY wedding décor. Mirrors can double as signage for seating plans and welcome signs, or they can be used to decorate spaces. Outside, mirrors give an ethereal feel to greenery and nature; inside and side by side, they expand rooms and make them go on forever in the most fantastic way.
45/ Tonight’s special
There are a billion resources online for just about everything, including your menus. Choose from tons of presets online, input your carefully-chosen menu, spellcheck it and then print. Printing your own menus can happen on recyclable paper or, for something fancier, a glossy card. You can customise the menus to have table numbers and other relevant information. Why not add a cute little quip while you’re at it? It’s your party, after all.
Image by To Have & To Hire Events
46/ A sky full of stars
Nothing is more magical than fairy lights. They conjure up Christmas time and that sparkly feeling that comes with it. You can do anything you want with fairy lights, including stringing them from trees, making a makeshift ‘roof’ above your reception area, hanging them around your dance floor and more. Costing anywhere from $5, fairy lights are an old-school DIY wedding trick, and they never go out of fashion for a good reason.
47/ Do me a favour
The most DIY-able thing at your DIY wedding, quite possibly, is your wedding favours. All guests love good favours, and there is ample opportunity for you to get cosy with them. Homebaked cookies, jam, cake pops, hot chocolate, tea blends and more are among the best and most effortless wedding favours you can whip up in a single afternoon. Everyone loves a good snack, so you’ll be doing them all double the favour when you gift them something they can nibble on.
48/ 1,000 paper cranes
The legend of a thousand paper cranes – referred to traditionally as ‘senbazuru’ – is a heartwarming belief promising that the gods will grant anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes a wish. Now, whether this is true or not is up to you, but these origami cranes are surprisingly easy to make, and they double as almost mystical DIY wedding décor.
49/ Ring toss
This easy-peasy lawn game is put together in a snap. Gather up some bottles of similar sizes, perhaps old wine or olive oil ones that you’ve got lying around, paint them up or cover them in contact paper, then pop them into a box. After that, you set them up with a bunch of rings – ta-da! You’ve got a silly lawn game that is sure to make your guests laugh as they frolic about in the sun.
50/ Get funky
We love the era of disco. The style from then was immaculate: bright colours, big hair and, funkiest of all, the disco ball. You can emulate parts of this with your wedding style – the easiest of which is using disco balls. Starting from $5, they light up any space (quite literally) and can be strung up from the ceiling or stacked in corners for a downright groovy vibe.
Image by Robyn Rachel Photography