Rhode Island Wedding Ideas – The Dangers of DIY for Brides on a Budget

Hello brides to be! Happy Spring!

Many of Emily Things followers are from the Rhode Island area looking for places to have a wedding and most of all – save money! We all know that wedding bells bring wedding bills, and savvy, crafty, DIY brides are always looking for ways to be resourceful and ultimately save on the overall wedding cost. But are there dangers in trying to plan a DIY wedding if you are on a tight budget? Could your efforts to save money be ultimately countered by what you end up spending in trying to make everything yourself?


Take it from a previous RI bride and craft guru herself – I’ve been there and done that.

Like you, I knew I was clever enough to figure out how to make things myself and diligent enough to not get carried away with spending. I was incredibly blessed to have parents who provided a very opulent wedding at Glen Manor House, but honestly, I truly wanted to keep everything as simple and stress free. The very principle of spending a lot of money on a wedding just seemed so outrageous to me that I wanted to figure out how to cut costs wherever I could. So why not save on all the wedding stationery and decorations if you can just make them yourself, right?


Before I got involved in the stationery, wedding planning, and wedding accessories business of Emily’s Enchantments, I did not have a wholesale license or any fancy shmancy way to get access to bulk shimmery paper, ribbons, lace, jewels and all the other wonderfully splendid wedding decorations that you see on Pinterest. Chances are, unless you are a professional stationer, you don’t have this either.

1. DIY Wedding Invitation Cost Reality

Crafts stores and online shops are a RIP OFF for invitations!

Did you fall in love with a lace invitation on Etsy or Pinterest and thinking of DIY? Good luck. Joann’s Fabrics charges $4-5 per yard. From experience in making lace invitations by hand, I know that you need about 1/3 of a yard of lace per invitation. So you’re talking $1.66 just for the lace!  Basic, single sided faux silk ribbon is about $4 per spool and from my experience that gets you only about 6 invitations, because they obviously don’t give you very many yards.

Here’s a breakdown of other invitation components if you were to look at (PER INVITATION):

  • Lace $1.66
  • Pocketfolds $0.80-1.25
  • Card stock $0.40-1.99
  • Ribbon $0.50-$0.75
  • RSVP envelopes – $0.20-$0.30
  • Mailing envelopes – $0.23-$0.35
  • Rhinestone buckles – $0.75-1.99
  • Rhinestone brooches – $1.00-10+

Then you have to factor in (for someone who doesn’t have professional printing and cutting equipment):

  • Basic paper trimmer – $30
  • Glue for all of the invites – $7-15
  • 60-70 hours of your time (depending on how many and how involved your invites are)

You could be thinking that you’re saving when you see at the register $20 here, and $20 there as you make several trips to the craft store or make several online purchases from different retailers. But you never realize how much that really adds up. What is your time worth?

 * I will, however, suggest that if you are willing to wait 4-6 weeks to receive craft supplies and take a gamble on the level of quality you receive, eBay can be a pretty good hit or miss option for finding many invitation making supplies for a bride with LOTS of time who doesn’t care if she wastes $30 here and there and several weeks of time waiting around for something that could end up being nothing like the photo and complete crap. Sometimes you can luck out though but just take that into consideration.


2. DIY At Home Rhode Island Wedding Venue Reality

Ok, so I really and truly entertained the idea of hosting our wedding at my then-fiance’s home in Cumberland, RI. He had a gorgeous colonial home and a big, very private back yard with lots of luscious grass and space. Plus there was plenty of parking on the street for guests. I figured this will be PERFECT and we will save on having to spend $5K at a venue somewhere in Rhode Island. We all know that most of the East Bay and Providence wedding venues charge an arm and a leg just to have your wedding there with nothing else included.

But here was what I learned when I did my research and priced out what it would actually cost to have a wedding at home in Rhode Island:

Let’s talk about RENTALS!

You want to host your own wedding at home in RI but chances are you don’t have 50 or even 100 chairs nor do you have event tables and other very important items. So what are your options for renting?

Rhode Island Rentals

Newport Tent Company

Rentals Unlimited

Quality Rental


I have a pros and cons list for each of these companies but those would really require separate blog posts. For now, let’s just do a break down of what things would cost to rent items for a small, backyard wedding.

Backyard Wedding Rentals Checklist:



  1. TENT – please, please, please DO NOT think that rain will not happen. I will keep my fingers crossed for all of you that it won’t rain a drop on your wedding day but in New England we all know that it is completely unpredictable. If you are having any sort of outdoor wedding, you absolutely need to have a tent!!! No ifs ands or buts! This is #1 on the list of priorities for your backyard wedding rental list.
  2. Hallman’s Portable TOILETS – you are probably laughing out  loud thinking that I’ve lost my mind. You might be rolling your eyes saying, Really? Toilets?  Ladies and gentlemen, this is NOT a joking matter.  Do you really think that your guests even say a small group of 30-50 people are not going to clog your toilet? Think again! I was at an event once where children clogged someone’s home toilet by throwing salad down it. The little girls were incredibly adorable and giggling, but the scene of the overflowing toilet made by the next user who did not know it was clogged, not so adorable…DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN AT YOUR WEDDING. You are a smart bride, you know better. I have wonderful things to say about Hallman Toilets and I’ll write a separate post later, but just trust me, you cannot forget to rent these.
  3. Dance Floor – unless you have an enormous patio or do not plan on any dancing at your wedding, you need a floor space. These rental companies provide pieces of flooring you can snap together yourself to make your own floor. You can get anything – floor that looks like wood or even faux stone. DO NOT assume that everyone will want to dance on the grass. And again, remember the rain possibility…even if you faithfully followed my suggestion #1 with the tent, grass will be wet, and dancing on wet grass even in casual attire is just a don’t.
  4. Reception tables (for guests to sit and eat…obviously)
  5. Buffet food station tables (assuming you are going with a buffet style as it’s more affordable with caterers than sit-down and serve)
  6. Tables for music (DJ or you can save money using an iPod, you would just need to rent speakers which cost about $1000 to rent)
  7. Tables for a bar area
  8. Table for gifts or guest book
  9. Chairs for Ceremony
  10. Chairs for Reception (you could use the same chairs for both ceremony & reception…just think about who is going to be coordinating the moving of them. Hope you’re paying for a wedding planner!)


For a 40 person wedding, you are looking at $6,800 in rentals for the above mentioned items.

This pricing has been compared between all 4 of the top RI rental places and they are all within the same price ranges +/- $62.00

Oh and in case your caterer does not provide these items you will need:

  • Plates, Glassware, Flatware, Napkins (unless you wanted to do BBQ style disposal plates, napkins, glassware, and flatware then you will need to rent these items!)

Factor in another $800 for a 40 person wedding

So $6800 for just rentals??? This means that you’re already shedding close to $7K on having a 40 person wedding at your house. You could have almost rented a fancy spot in Newport for that price. Yikes!!


Other DIY Backyard Wedding Expenses and Issues to Consider:

  1. Catering – you may be charged additional fees for the caterer to come to a home versus a commercial building. There is liability and other issues involved with hosting food and having a bar set up at your house in addition to the extra time spent on the caterer’s part in traveling to you and setting everything up.
  2. Parking & Neighbors – do your neighbors like you? Well, hopefully they still will! You want to make sure your neighbors are fine with you having a wedding at your house, on their street, within their earshot. And where will your very small 30-50 person group of guests park? Oh, on the street? So 15-28 vehicles can fit on the street and won’t block any traffic or upset neighbors? Hopefully not!
  3. Clean up – my instant thought is bride in yellow rubber gloves. Caterers will usually clean up all the food and beverages, but they are not going to be cleaning up everything else. Who is putting away chairs, breaking down the floors, folding up tables and everything else? Hopefully you have factored in a wedding planner to be your savior in this situation, but if you’re a DIY bride, chances are you think that “wedding planner” and “the bride” are one in the same.


Hey, I’m a DIY everything. I love DIY and I was definitely bride & wedding planner at the same time. I’m not hating on DIY weddings or brides. I’m just giving you the whole honest truth and showing you a reality so that you can make the best and most informed decision. Maybe you see things that I mentioned that don’t apply to you because you’re doing it completely differently. I am so impressed and inspired by those who have DIY weddings and can really pull off saving money. Anyone who has had success in it, please send along your story so I can share with our fellow brides. I hope this has been helpful in your wedding planning journey!


(And don’t forget to rent those toilets!!!!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s