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DIY Brides Spotlight Interview - Wai Sze

All photographs ©Wai Sze Zara

Holding reign over our very first DIY brides spotlight is recently married, Wai Sze Zara! Her DIY wedding was a seamless blend of her own DIY projects and elements she left up to the professionals. A perfect balance of style, personalization and not taking on too many projects at once. Read on to discover how she balanced everything, some DIY project bumps in the road and how her efforts were received by guests.

diy brides projects

What did you "DIY" for your wedding and how many guests did you have?

We had 100 guest at our wedding. I DIYed our Save the Date magnets and card, invitations, programs, favors, ring pillow, necklace, scrapbooks for the bridesmaids, wish jar cards and sign, headband and thank you cards. My sister in law helped me DIY my veil.

How long before your wedding did you start planning and when did you start working on your DIY projects?

We got engaged in May 2006. I started planning right away so that's 1 year and 4 months of planning. My DIY projects were done in various stages depending on how much time and effort was needed. For example, I started with the prototype of my invitation right away and changed it several times before I made a final sample 5 months before the wedding. It took me a long time to make my favors because I needed to make 130 (I overestimated the number of guests we had) so I started this project very early on and made it in small batches. Other projects like my headband took less time so I made that probably just a month before the wedding.

DIY brides invites

For things that you didn't do yourself, how did you decide which things to leave to the professionals?

There were a few things that I didn't DIY. For example my wedding venue provided escort cards. I could have made my own but I really didn't see a need to. It was not high on my priority list so I decided to save the money and use what they gave us. They also provided the menus and table numbers for us. I originally wanted to DIY my own flowers but then realized how crazy and stressful it would be. Spending the night before my wedding day, arranging flowers was not my idea of relaxing. Luckily I found a florist who does it as a side job and was very reasonable with her rates.

What kind of a "crafty" background do you have? Did you learn any new skills for your DIY wedding projects? Did anyone (fiance, friends, family) help you?

Well I've always been crafty. I'm interested in a variety of crafts including jewelry making, scrapbooking, knitting, cross-stitch work, origami, polymer clay, etc. The wedding definitely challenged me but it was a good one because I really wanted my wedding to be personal. As a result of my DIY projects, I've learned to be even better at what I do in respect to my Etsy shop. I'm not great at delegating so I did most of the work myself but I did have helpers (my then fiance & bridesmaids) assist me with a few tasks.

DIY brides ring bearer pillow

In hindsight, are there things you would have done more of, less of, or changed? Did you ever feel stressed by your DIY projects or feel like you took too much on?

No, I don't feel that I took too much on. In fact, in hindsight I wish I paid more attention to certain aspects. I think I could have been more creative with the centerpieces but I didn't want to get too overwhelmed. I bought Japanese tea cups to hold the flowers along with a few vases, and let my florist do the rest. In retrospect, I could have done something more personal, perhaps instead of flowers, display picture frames of us on the table.

Did any of your projects not go as planned?

My DIY projects did not go as smoothly as I had planned. Even though I triple checked the invitations and programs, I still found typos. It not only drained my energy, it also wasted ink and paper. I make handmade cards in my etsy shop and it's always been a fun task, even the cutting and scoring the cards part. However, it's a different story when you need to make a lot of cards at once. That was not so fun. I don't know if I would have made my own invitations if I had a bigger wedding. Another time drainer was addressing my envelopes in calligraphy. I'm not a great calligrapher by any means, but I thought it would be more personal. Well, I ended up spending many hours and throwing away at least a box worth of envelopes doing this task. It was not as fun as I had hoped. I also had trouble tying the string around my favor tins. It was difficult to make it tight enough so that the string wouldn't fall off. It took quite a bit of patience but I managed.

Do you think any of your DIY wedding projects saved you money?

Yes, making my own necklace and headband definitely saved me money. The invitations and programs were also very inexpensive. I also saved on the favor tins as well.

Did your guests notice your DIY, personalized details?

Yes, all my DIY details were noticed. Most of our guests know me well and I don't think they expected any less DIY from me, so I'm really happy with the positive outcome.

Now that your wedding is over (congrats!) what is next for you? Any other crafty stuff on the horizon?

Now that the wedding is over, I find myself still loving the idea of weddings. I have started adding more wedding type goodies into my etsy shop. For example I recently made Save the Date magnet cards for someone and it turned out really well. In addition, the scrapbooks that I made for my bridesmaids turned out really well and since then I've had orders from other brides. I loved making the favor tins and offer it in my shop as well.

Wai Sze runs waisze designs where you can custom order favor boxes, save the dates, bridesmaid scrapbooks and much more!

She is a tough act to follow, but if you know someone who would make a great DIY Bride feature (yes, it can be yourself!) please contact me!

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