DIY versus the WIC

A commenter wrote this on my recent post on economic uncertainty:

I definitely have made sure not to buy into the WIC, but at the same time I don’t think I can do the DIY route either. My new career is more travel intensive (and 8 weeks before our wedding it will be at its most intense period). I don’t craft. I’m not a designer (I can barely sketch!) and I don’t have friends or family who are designers or seamstresses. While I really like this post, I feel like the opposite of the WIC is the DIY movement. I guess I don’t really feel part of either.

I’ve been thinking about this ever since.

First of all, I don’t consider myself to be part of the DIY movement. I’m part of the do-it-together movement, but do-it-yourself? No way. I’m always reading long little essays about things people lovingly crafted by hand for their wedding days, and I’m fascinated, and then tired by the end of the post. I work really long hours, and have more than a few side projects (achem, blog, achem), so I just don’t have that much time to get things done. We’re taking on projects for our wedding, selectively. We pick projects based on what we care about, what we like to do, and what we can save a bunch of money on. Basically, we have no time, but we’re really cheap. Since David and I produced theatre together before we started dating, much of this feels natural. We designed our Save The Date’s, sure, but we used found internet images, and we’re printing them at home on our color printer. It’s creative, but not very labor intensive. My mother, sister, and I are going to attempt to sew my wedding dress, but we’ve been sewing for years, we’re keeping it simple, and we have relatively low expectations. All this helps.

As the DIY movement has reached new heights of coolness (hello etsy!) the bar keeps getting higher and higher. It’s important to remember that we can do things on our own without being professional crafters. The tips I talked about when I did my DIY flower dry run help. In sum: think about what you like, don’t follow the rules, and just go for it. Everyone is going to be far too nice to tell you that you screwed it up, and the aura of confidence covers up a world of flaws.

Which brings me to my second point: Maybe we should all just lower our expectations on this wedding stuff. I was pondering DIY vs. WIC and it occurred to me that there is a very real third option – it’s the old fashioned route. Yesterday we talked about smaller and simpler weddings of a generation ago. I don’t think our grandmothers would tell you that their wedding was DIY (though some part of it probably was. Weddings had been less professionalized a few decades ago). I suspect our grandmothers would tell us that they just worked with what they had, and made do. My paternal grandmother took a taxi from Alabama to California to marry my grandfather when he was released from a prisoner of war camp after WWII. She told me that he told her to get a white satin dress, so she bought the only one she could find and refused to let it out of her sight the whole trip. The only wedding picture we have up in our home is theirs. It was a really meaningful wedding, but I can tell you right now that they didn’t think about colors, let alone favors.

So. Where does that get us? Bride in Exile made an excellent point yesterday when she pointed out that weddings are more complicated today since most of us have people flying in from all over. For us, this meant that we really wanted to feed everyone. But, that said, regardless of where people are traveling from I think we need to lower our standards. Our guests want to see a wedding that genuinely celebrates who we are. Just because they bought a plane ticket doesn’t mean they expect us to throw them a party just like the last 5 weddings they attended. What is important is that your wedding day is really happy, and is the start of a fantastic lifelong partnership. The trick is figuring out what will make us happy, and what is just extra fluff. If you can’t DIY your dress, can you buy a white suit off the rack? If you can’t DIY your Save The Dates can you skip them altogether, and drop people a note or a give them a call? If you don’t have time to DIY confetti packets, can you just let people throw confetti by the handful?

What do you think? How can we collectively ratchet down wedding expectations? What is the middle ground between DIY and WIC?

Picture: Me rocking my DIY bouquet

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