DIY Wedding CouplesBy Venus Marigmen

When Ralph popped the yes-no question that came with a sparkling rock, one of the many thoughts that immediately came to my mind was this:

We are definitely DIY-ing this wedding because there’s no way we can afford to hire wedding professionals.

While I was excited and honored to be asked to be his wife, the practical woman in me couldn’t help but panic because I was aware of how much we have in the bank. Even a quick mental calculation of how much we can save for the next coming months was not very comforting.

I believe there are two types of DIY couples:

  1. Those who do it because they are gifted with creativity and they want their wedding to be as personal as it can get.
  2. Those who do it because it’s the only way to have a decent wedding without breaking the bank.

I’m actually a mix of both. Ours was a budget wedding and I happen to have a penchant for anything Pinterest, cut-outs, paints and all-nighters and sweaty palms.

DIY couples might not be the best market wedding professionals have but they are still part of the market. And if you can win them over, dealing with the others should be a walk in the park.

For our wedding in 2013, we didn’t hire a florist, stylist, and DJ, among others. We decided we’ll only focus on the must-haves and the good-to-have will take a step back. This might already look like a dead-end for wedding professionals, but it isn’t.

These are ways to make your wedding business attractive even for DIY couples.

#1 – Be flexible with your offers.

At the beginning, we were sure we wouldn’t hire a professional photographer and videographer. We knew some people who can cover this, and have family and friends who would have been willing to help.

But we decided to pay for our photo and video because we found professionals who met us halfway.

No post-process photos, no same-day edits or music video, no prints. Just pure coverage of our wedding, raw and unedited.

That was what our budget could afford, and it still gives us a window for creativity when it comes time to have some of the photos printed and framed.

#2 – Be open-minded to their ideas.

Owning a wedding business is not very much different from owning a restaurant or a library or a zoo. The market is still people. These are people of different personalities and walks of life.

Just because a couple is DIY-ing doesn’t mean there’s no room for you to be in a professional relationship with them. Do not be quick to judge their preferences but be willing to understand their needs instead.

As Stephanie points out in her article, don’t be quick to say things that are better left unsaid. Instead, be a good listener.

Treat every DIY couple as an opportunity to solve a problem and close a deal.

#3 – Think outside the box.

If you want your wedding business to thrive and grow, you must be willing to go outside your comfort zone.

I mentioned earlier we decided to focus on the must-haves. A dessert buffet certainly looks like luxury for a wedding that didn’t have 5-piece silver utensils or red carpet, but I had one anyway. Not because it’s a “must-have,” but because it’s nice to have one — especially if we can get it for FREE.

You see, the candy buffet supplier was willing to give me a sample of what they have to offer in exchange of me featuring them on my blog. I only had to pay for the transportation of their one-man staff.

I got my dessert buffet; the supplier got free promotion. Win-win, yes?

#4 – Be excellent at what you do. (Better than DIYers.)

If you are a master of your craft, there’s a big chance you are better than this couple in creating those backdrops or edits. You already have the upper hand.

You can show them your portfolio (which I’m sure they’ve already checked prior to meeting or emailing you), but doing that can risk your chance of booking them if they are DIY couple Type 2.  The ball is in your court.

Either you negotiate by adjusting your package or help them on their DIY, pro bono.

Give them a taste of your brand and if you’re excellent, at least 50 wedding guests are there to witness your talent. Word of mouth is on your side.

#5 – Be professional, no matter what.

The truth: there’s a big chance that DIY bride won’t hire you. You can still be turned down no matter how good your offer is or how excellent you are.

In any case, you have a business to run and other prospective clients to attend to. Ask for feedback, exit the conversation gracefully, and move on. That’s what professionals do and that’s how you want to be remembered.

If she was sufficiently impressed, that DIY bride might still recommend you to a friend later on.

What do you think about working with DIY couples?

A hobby-hoarder and a binge-learner, Venus is a wife and mom from the Philippines. Her love for weddings started when she DIY-ed all that she can for her own in 2013. She’s currently part of a Manila-based wedding coordination team — The Wedding Bellas. For more information about the writer, check out some of her wedding blogs here.