DIY Weddings and the Millennial Generation

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

If there is one thing that gets a bad rap among wedding professionals, it is the DIY movement. Wedding pros hate it because they view it as income that doesn't get to go in their pockets. Being true experts, they can also generally see the bigger picture much better than a bride or groom can and know firsthand that DIY tends to not work out that well, especially when a wedding is involved. I once read a post on Tumblr by a woman who (not even being engaged yet) shared that on the morning of her wedding she was going to pick wildflowers from the side of the highway for her bouquets and centerpieces. While her intentions may have been good, I still laughed out loud. One gusty rain storm the night before and her highway flowers would be gone and she would be stuck hoping that Trader Joe's would still have something pretty in stock on a Saturday morning. Not to mention the stress of the day, the getting-ready schedules and the fact that much more goes into making flowers look great than just sticking them in some water. Among wedding pros, DIY is often rightly interchangeable with DIAwry.

To combat this, wedding professionals have been promoting anti-DIY campaigns on social media. "Don't DIY" and "let the experts handle it" are two common phrases going around. Unfortunately for those involved, this movement will fail. These messages may be picking up steam with wedding pros, but they do not resonate with today's engaged couples.

For millennials, the group born between 1979-2000 and the majority of brides and grooms today, DIY is more about creative expression than it is about financial constraints. This generation grew up with Martha Stewart making crafting cool again. No longer was sewing, cooking, baking or whipping something up with glitter and glue relegated to dowdy housewives resisting the feminist movement. Martha, and the subsequent TV celebs that continued to feed the cash-cow she created, made being hands-on the ultimate in personalization. People today will also pay more for the opportunity: over 60% of women will spend more money on making a special event feel more personal. In addition, interest in DIY weddings has spiked 126% since 2007, the same year millennials became the majority group tying the knot.

Today's generation sees DIY as a stress-reliever and its appeal spans all budgets. In fact, affluent millennials are more likely to dedicate a spare bedroom as a "craft room" since they view having an artistic outlet as a necessity for work/life balance. I once had a conversation with a bride who insisted on making the flower girl baskets because it would give her a mental break from the stress of her job as a corporate attorney. With her wedding budget pushing $500k, the price the florist quoted for the baskets was never the issue. Marketing DIY solely as a money-saver is a mistake as is promoting a negative attitude towards it through social media. Constantly knocking DIY and trying to take away something that is genuinely fun for a person only makes a wedding pro look whiney and out of touch.

DIY weddings and DIY wedding elements are not a trend; they are here to stay. Millennials value the creative expression they provide and are often willing to spend more on DIY materials than to have the items created by an expert.

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