Guest Blog by Erika-the-Intern — Sometimes It’s Better to DDIY (Don’t Do It Yourself)

Hey there brides and grooms!

It’s clear that my interns are more than just helpful pretty faces around here – these girls are responsible for making sure that all of the details and prep work is completed ahead of the clients’ arrival.  That means inventorying anything you send, making sure the things we’ve ordered are here, and double checking every little detail.  In the process, they learn a LOT about what does, and what does NOT, work for a destination wedding.  Check out Erika-the-Intern’s guest blog today!

Many brides have been picturing their weddings in their heads since they were little girls. Today’s new social media outlets like Pinterest, OneWed, Instagram and just keep adding to the intricacy of details they want. I am all for Do It Yourself (DIY) weddings – to a certain extent. I think it’s cute that couples try to put their own touches on their wedding décor and try to make it personal. However, from my recent experiences working at Weddings in Vieques, I would advise that if you intend to have a destination wedding, then DDIY – Don’t Do It Yourself. If a DIY wedding is what you have your heart set on, then go for it. But before you set your wedding plans in stone, take the following information and suggestions into consideration.

Erika Guevara (aka Erika-the-Intern) recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University and is trying her hand at wedding planning in Vieques this fall.

Erika Guevara (aka Erika-the-Intern) recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University and is trying her hand at wedding planning in Vieques this fall.

It’s time consuming. If “pinning” and “favoriting” thousands of pictures (ranging from bouquets to place cards to color pallets and every lighting and candle arrangement in between) didn’t take up enough of your time, the time it takes to actually make these items yourself will add up too.  While you and your fiancé are being indecisive on the minor details of the décor, you’re losing focus on the more significant things that need to be checked off your wedding to-do list. Like Sandy says, the ceremony plan and the DJ playlist are the two things that couples procrastinate on the most. You should be spending your time wisely, starting with the priorities. We would rather know what you want to have happen during your wedding ceremony first, rather than the new way to tie the ribbons on your reception dinner napkins that you found on Pinterest at midnight last night.

Are the cost savings worth it? Many couples have DIY weddings to save on costs for decor. But you have to ask yourself “Is it really worth it?” Initially you think you’re saving money, but after paying shipping charges and the fees to insure your packages (which is a must, you never know what your package goes through by the time it arrives at its destination), how much did you really save compared to having your wedding planner work it into your budget and do it for you? Most of the time you end up spending more on shipping then what you spent on the actual items.

And for the Pinterest-addicted brides and grooms, you know how easy it is to get carried away with finding new ideas and details that you want to add and incorporate into your wedding. Next thing you know, you’re spending more money than you anticipated because you just had to have handmade dessert labels that match your color scheme or because you find yourself buying material so your crafty friend can make you different colored runners. In the grand scheme of things, all these little extra details are unnecessary. Sometimes less is more. Most of the time you didn’t need it or want it when you planned your wedding.  Social media wedding materials are overwhelming you and making you second-guess yourself.

Shipping can be a hassle.  So you made all the cutesy and creative decorations and purchased the little detail items. But now what? You have to ship of all of it to your wedding destination. As if paying the shipping and insurance fees wasn’t a headache in itself, there are other potential problems you have to consider. The biggest worry is damage. If you are sending fragile items, make sure everything in the box is properly padded and packaged. As obvious as that sounds, we wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t necessary. You can insure the heck out of a package but all we can do is hold our breath when it arrives and we open it. The majority of the time everything goes well and arrives in one piece. But there have been other times that didn’t have such lucky results.

Unfortunately, if something is damaged en route, being able to replace it is no easy feat here in Vieques. We can’t just run out to the store to buy replacements. The best case scenario is that there is enough time for us to tell you to send replacements that will hopefully arrive in time for the big day.

This brings us to another potential shipping issue: timing. There is no guarantee that sent packages will arrive on time in the Caribbean so you need to plan wayyy ahead. Receiving a package the day of your wedding (or, God forbid, one day after) with the ribbon you want for your dinner napkins and your customized guest book is very stressful for you and your wedding planner. But yes, it does happen.  And usually, we manage to get everything in place before anybody knows it was ever missing.

I do not, however, want to completely discourage couples on the whole DIY idea. There lots of things you can DIY for your wedding if you want to put your personal touch on your biggest day. Here are 5 examples:

  1. Welcome bag stuffers
  2. Menus
  3. Programs
  4. Place cards
  5. Reception favors

Sending these items to the location of your destination wedding is less of a hassle. Most of the listed items are lightweight so shipping fees shouldn’t be a wallet-buster. They are also not as fragile so the anticipation of the shape they arrive is not as big of a deal. If one of these items doesn’t arrive on time, yes it would be disappointing, but it wouldn’t be detrimental to the big picture of your wedding.

Like I said before, I am a fan of DIY weddings. I enjoy seeing how creative couples can be with their own personal touches throughout their wedding. Anyone that knows me can tell you I’m a sucker for all that romantic stuff. But if you plan to have a destination wedding, I would not suggest having a full-blown DIY wedding. Sure, sending some décor-matching place cards or some table signage is fine. Picking up multiple boxes from the post office and only opening the first box to see the words “light bulbs” and “200 count” for the reception decoration lighting is when I start to sweat.  And pray. We want your destination wedding to be beautiful and hassle-free as much as you do. Sometimes that means DDIY – Don’t Do It Yourself.

Erika Guevara

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