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Planning A DIY Wedding – Embrace it!

It’s June 2017, my sister and her boyfriend had just flown home from Australia for their annual trip to Ireland. 2 days later they are engaged, had set a date and chosen a venue! The planning had well and truly commenced… I, being the best sister anyone could have, volunteered my skills in party planning/events/crafting and suggested that I take on the mammoth task of planning the Big Day.
Little did I know that 10 months later the whole family would be involved and we would be planning for the wedding of the century in our own back garden!
After much deliberation, liaising with the venue and trying to fit a marquee in a garden it just would not fit in, we came full circle and decided to host the Big Day right in the field behind our house. We are very lucky to have the space and a few sheds out the back that we can host 70 people for a 2 day event!
This planning has been a baptism of fire for the whole family and a major learning curve. However, we are all so glad we have made the decision to host this event at home. We have much more space, the flexibility to erect the marquee much earlier and can start tidying up the garden right away.
So here we are, 9 weeks out and I thought I would run through what we have achieved so far for all you DIY couples hoping to do the same.

Summer 2017
– Intention to Marry was lodged with the Registrar – as my sister and her partner live abroad this can all be done via email without the need of making an appointment. One major difference is that Pete will have to do an immigration interview 2 weeks prior to the wedding ceremony here in Ireland. So keep this in mind if you are marrying someone from outside the EU!
– The venue was chosen – this has since changed but bear in mind DIY venues such as country houses, glamping sites and marquees at venues are becoming every popular so book early.
– Níamh & Pete both decided on the format and vibe they wanted for their Big Day at this stage too. Casual, laid back with a touch of sophistication suited both their personalities perfectly. They will be able to revel in the company of their closest friends and family in a chilled way and not worry about not having time to see everyone.
– The had already decided on the size of the group being invited. 60-65 is the perfect size of gathering for a DIY wedding where everything has to be sourced. It can be bigger but be aware of the work involved in hosting those extra 10 people you are on the fence about!
– Major suppliers were sussed out such as photographer, florist and music. These main wedding suppliers can book up years in advance so if there is someone you really want, make sure to check their available dates before setting your heart on them. Negotiate rates now and have everything in email format. Remember when it’s DIY there will be other suppliers you will need such as a marquee hire, caterer, bar staff, furniture hire – please do shop around for prices because the difference between them can be huge with the same quality guaranteed!
– A celebrant was booked. Wow – we did not realise how early these guys book up! The ever growing trend that is bucking the traditional church wedding is gathering momentum. In June 2017 we could not get a humanist celebrant for the following 18 months! So book a celebrant as early as you possibly can.
After these main things were all sorted we sat back and relaxed a while to let it all sink in – My sister is getting married!!
So if you’re thinking about hosting a DIY wedding, if you want it ALL YOUR OWN WAY, want the flexibility of changing things around and want to treat your guests to something unforgettable just do it! I would highly recommend it…

Next week I’ll update you on the next phase which happened over Christmas when my sister flew home for 2 weeks. What a fortnight it was, full to the brim of appointments and meetings but worth it that now we’re sitting pretty waiting for a new shed to be built on time – as you do!
Check out my previous related blogs here!
Happy planning folks!
Áine

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