A nice read for DIY mommies out there. I must admit, I’ve been guilty of some of these at one point. First seen on Smart Parenting as written by Michelle Lao.
D-I-Y, or Do-it-Yourself, is all the rave these days, and it works all too well for people who have the flair for creating, organizing, and executing their own bash. It allows self-expression and, for many moms who are on a budget, a means to save.
However, not all D-I-Y projects are successful. Some end in disappointment – if not disaster. Ever wonder why? Here are the top 5 common mistakes D-I-Y-ers make:
1. An infinitely expanding guest list: It is perfectly natural to want to celebrate your child’s most special birthday with your family and friends. While you and your husband may begin with the intention of hosting just an intimate party, it is also perfectly natural for guest lists to expand and balloon as you go further along the planning process, but if you don’t watch it, your intimate party for 50 could blow up to 200!
If you are planning to DIY this party, you will find this feat extremely difficult to pull off with a large guest list. The reason for this is simple: having more guests means having to book a larger venue, a larger stage, a higher ceiling, and more tables, all of which translates to more “space” that you need to cover up with decorations and styling. The whole point of DIY is to minimize costs (and to some extent, offer a more personalized feel to the event), which is then undermined as you see all the expenses pile up. Think about handcrafting centerpieces, and then doing it 20 times for your 20 tables!
In order to avoid this situation, follow this simple rule – keep your guest list at a maximum of 100 people. You will be surprised at how much easier and cheaper it will be.
2. Ineffective purchasing of decor elements: Assuming now that you have pledged to yourself to keep your guests to a maximum of 100, the next common mistake lies in the procurement and creation of the props themselves. Once you have an idea on what decor element you would want to use, for example, for your table centerpiece, the next thing to ask yourself is: do I make this on my own, or is there a ready-made version that can be purchased? The first method will be more cost-effective but will take up more time and labor, while the second will be more expensive yet will require no time and human resource.
If you do not plan carefully, either (or both) of the 2 scenarios will happen: you run out of time, or you run out of budget. Most of time, the DIY moms underestimate the expenses that they would be incurring, then find themselves in the middle of their preparations with their decor elements and props nowhere near completion, and desperately contemplating about hiring a professional stylist at the last minute! I know this to be true as I have personally answered a number of distress calls from DIY moms!
As a general rule, paper crafts are more suited for DIY parties as these are cheaper, lightweight, easily disposable, and biodegradable. Use them indiscriminately. When you do decide to purchase items, think carefully about how you will use it after the party (will I be able to use these mason jars for the kitchen? Where can I display this lamp afterwards?). Think about just renting props that are too large or expensive to create on your own.
However, if you feel that this feat requires too much time, effort, and money, consider hiring a professional stylist as she will be able to provide you a better all-in costing for all your party needs. This is because (some) stylists offer a rental fee on the props that they use, which they can charge at a reasonable rate because they can spread out the acquisition cost with all their other clients.
3. Focusing too much on price when choosing suppliers, and neglecting the quality of their work: Part of the DIY process is the canvassing and eventual hiring of all your suppliers (cake, photo booth, photographer, videographer, caterer, etc.). A common pitfall in this process is an obsession over which suppliers offer the cheapest rate, without considering the quality of service that they provide. Sometimes, paying poor money will get you just that: poor service. You might find that paying a little bit more will reward you with a supplier that offers a quality of work that is 3 times over.
Here’s a true story: A client availed of a supplier via a discount deal site, thinking that she just got a real bargain. When the day of her party came, the supplier didn’t show up. Over the phone, the supplier explained that they couldn’t come to her party as the deal site still hasn’t paid them their package price. What a nightmare scenario! Thankfully, the client knew another supplier that was available the last minute.
Do your homework. Ask your friends for referrals, and make sure that your friends have attended a party and saw the supplier’s work firsthand. Word of mouth is still the best and most trustworthy source of information there is around.
4. A constantly evolving theme: In the course of your styling preparations, you will inevitably come across tons of websites, blogs, and other resources showing photos of all of these wonderfully-styled parties. These photos will serve as invaluable resources that inspire you to create that perfect party of your own.
However, there is such a thing as too much inspiration. For some moms, the explosion of colors, themes, and decor may seem so captivating that they feel like a little girl run loose in a candy store (“I like this, oh, and I like that too, and I have to have this in my party, can’t I just have them all?”). The next thing you know, what started as a Fairy Forest party becomes a Princess / Fairy / Forrest which then becomes a Candy / Princess / Fairy / Forrest party, with a dash of Hello Kitty for some variety! This example may sound absurd, and it may be in the extreme, but this type of enthusiasm does happen with some, and some would even change themes at every meeting.
Research well, choose your theme, choose your color palette and nail the concept down. If you’d like, make a mood board summarizing your thoughts and ideas, then leave it alone. Stop looking at more blogs, and more photos. Execute. Remember, the essence of styling is in its simplicity, cohesiveness, and how “tight” or “well put together” your concept is.
5. Turning into super-mom and going at it solo: At times, moms get into the whole planning and DIY process with such gusto that they become totally engrossed and work themselves to the point of exhaustion.
Just because DIY is acronym for Do-It-Yourself does not mean that you literally have to do everything by yourself. While the DIY process does involve a lot of hands-on involvement from you, let it be known that no one ever managed to pull off a successful party just by herself. Think about it this way – if the professional stylist has a team, why shouldn’t you?
Turn to your immediate support system for help. Ask family and friends to help you source giveaways, contact suppliers, purchase various props. Get the grandparents and even the godparents to pitch in, in whatever small way they can. If you need a lot of hands for a certain craft item, organize a small gathering in your house. Better yet, make it a social event and a time to bond and catch up!