Recently in our Ask the Expert column a reader wanted to know how she could find wait staff for her "semi-catered" wedding. The food was being prepared but a restaurant, but they weren't providing servers.
Semi-DIY ideas like this are are one of the newest trends in wedding planning. There are plenty of brides and grooms (ok, mainly brides) who love the idea of DIY because they want to spend hours hand crafting centerpieces out of Mason Jars and bouquets out of paper, but most people choose DIY because they want to save money.
Just like with full DIY, to do semi-DIY you wan to work with your personal strengths, and keep the expectations you have of your relatives and bridal party to a minimum. You want your friends and family enjoying the wedding with you, not busy collecting garbage or serving food.
You'll also want to keep a close eye on the finances and make sure you fully understand what is and isn't included in the "bargain" you're getting by doing some of the work yourself. In some cases, you may find that it's actually less expensive to go with a package deal than to try and break things up.
Here are some areas you may want to consider for Semi-DIY
Many invitation designers charge extra to stuff and address the envelopes themselves. This may be something you want to consider doing yourself. You can invite a group of friends over for chili and beer and set up an assembly line for stuffing the envelopes. Only very formal invitations need to be hand calligraphed. If you don't mind a more casual look, you can ask friends with nice handwriting and nice pens to help you address, or even print the addresses on clear printer labels.
This one is a bit tricker. Sites like Fifty Flowers offer "wedding kits" that send you everything you need to create your wedding flowers. The main concern with this is timing. Your bouquets and arrangements need to be done the day before the wedding. Will you have time to do that?
This is another one that's tricky. By the time you price out the cost of the food, paying someone to get the food, paying servers, renting equipment on which to serve the food - it may have been less expensive to simply go with a caterer. Keep in mind that caterers can also sometimes get better prices for you on things like tablecloths, plates and even chair rental.
4. Clean Up
If you have willing helpers, you can ask your venue if you can take care of clean up yourself. This is risky because if your helpers flake out (or are too inebriated) to help with the clean up, you may actually wind up paying an extra fee.
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