Find Out How A GTA Bride Saved Big On Her Wedding With DIY Projects

June 17, 2024

As the cost of weddings steadily increases in Canada, many couples are forced to rethink what wedding expenses they can cut and save on—without sacrificing their special day. Toronto-based bride-to-be Mirangi Patel is an example of one bride who is opting for the more affordable DIY-trend where possible, rather than purchasing everything from costly wedding vendors, helping her find significant savings.  Like many other brides, Mirangi realized early into planning how quickly the small costs can add up. We chatted with her to learn more. —Noa Nichol

What inspired you to start DIYing aspects of your wedding? Was it primarily the cost savings, or did other factors play a role?

A big part of our decision was about saving money. When we talked to different vendors for things like décor, flowers, and guest favors, we found that these could cost thousands of dollars. The expenses kept adding up and it just wasn’t realistic. But it wasn’t just about the money. I also wanted our wedding to feel personal and unique to us. Many vendors that I spoke to had set themes that they use for lots of weddings, it was like a recycle and reuse industry. There was nothing that really stood out to me when I was searching the industry, and I honestly just wanted something that reflected our personalities, without losing out on quality. That’s when we discovered Temu. It was a really affordable and handy option. It’s an excellent starting point for everyone, I mean it. Even if you’re not a DIY bride, Temu will make you one.

Can you share some specific DIY projects you’ve undertaken for your wedding? Which one has been your favorite so far?

Where do I even start! I’ve had my Pinterest wedding vision board since I was in high school, so bringing it to life was really important to me. My wedding ceremony decor is especially the most meaningful to me, because it’s something that really reminds me of back home, India, which is where my parents and I are from. I wanted it to be romantic, traditional, and aesthetic. I found pink & white marigolds on Temu which are going to adorn the trees as hangings in the garden where our wedding will be. For my reception, we’re going for a moody and modern, black and white theme with disco balls. To bring this vision to life, we discovered fantastic disco balls on Temu for under $40, which I cannot wait to later repurpose as home decor or for future parties! You would not believe me if I told you that some vendors were charging me over $100 just to rent these from them for a few hours. As a South Asian bride, our weddings are a multi-day event, which includes many ethnic pre-wedding festivities. One of these events is a Haldi, where family members and friends playfully slather the bride and groom in a paste of turmeric. In fact, I was able to find water guns on Temu to use for this Haldi ceremony afterwards, where our friends and family will shower us with water after covering us in the turmeric paste. I made sure I thought of how we would clean up afterwards, and what better way than to add some water activities! This resourceful shopping not only aligns with our budget but also enhances the cultural richness of our celebrations. We also got cute parasols and fans for guests as it’s a summer outdoor wedding at a great price and amazing quality. I’m sure they’ll make for great pictures as well.

What has been the most challenging part of the DIY process, and how did you overcome it?

The most challenging part of the DIY process has honestly been making time for it. You know how the saying goes, time is money. Either you pay somebody else to do it for you, or you do it yourself. As a full-time working professional, I had to schedule a few hours a week to focus solely on my DIYs and make sure I was getting them done. The nice thing about Temu is that they have a lot of DIY kits that don’t take a lot of time and effort to make, but still look great. Looking for those kinds of kits that are efficient has been a super important and effective part of my DIY wedding journey.

How have you managed to maintain the quality and aesthetic you want while opting for DIY solutions?

DIYing our wedding has allowed us to be flexible and we were able to incorporate our own vision and style into every detail. With Temu and a great quality and wide variety of products, we are able to make our wedding uniquely ours, reflecting our personalities and tastes. The straightforward and cute DIY methods made it easy to add custom touches effortlessly. We also created unique elements that no one else has, making our celebration truly one-of-a-kind. I also really sat down at the beginning of every DIY and asked myself how I envisioned something to look, and searched for those exact things on Temu.

Can you tell us more about your experience shopping from more affordable sources like Temu?

The items are of really good quality and feel sturdy. We found beautiful parasols for our outdoor wedding that were both functional and elegant. The fans we purchased for our guests to use during the hot summer are well-made and effective. I bought iridescent tablecloths which I’m going to use to make fringe banners and ceiling decor at one of my backyard pre-wedding events, and the color range was vast. Even things like biodegradable plates for serving, to serving utensils, it’s all such great quality and there’s so many different sizes. Despite being affordable, the products do not compromise on quality. The craftsmanship is impressive; you can’t even tell that the items are inexpensive.

What products have you found particularly useful?

I’ve seriously bought SO many things from Temu for my wedding, I’ve got a whole room where I’m just storing things as the packages come in. What I love most is that they offer cultural wedding decor. As a South Asian bride, the decor elements in my wedding are entirely drawn from our culture and Indian heritage. I was surprised at just how many things come up when you search “Indian wedding decor” on Temu. From yellow and orange marigolds for my Haldi & henna event, to lanterns as centerpieces, to colorful drapery, I’m so excited to use these pieces at different points of the wedding week. They’ve even got faux flower petals in bulk which are going to be used in various flower tosses. It really just goes to show how diverse the options are with Temu, and how easy it is to customize the products you’re purchasing for your own needs.

How much money do you estimate you have saved by choosing to DIY certain aspects of your wedding?

It’s definitely in the thousands! Like if I went to a wedding decor, stationary, or favours vendor in the Toronto/GTA area to make me the things I wanted, it would easily add $3000-$5000 on my already over budget-budget. I was so happy to be able to do some of the things myself and save that money, because we all know that’s a lot of money!

What advice would you give to other brides who are considering the DIY route for their weddings?

Before you start shopping, have a clear idea of your wedding theme and color scheme. Draw on inspiration from your own life, and the type of aesthetics you are naturally drawn to. This will help you stay focused and make cohesive choices. It’ll also make sure you don’t change your mind every time you see something new! Give yourself plenty of time to explore the wide range of options available on Temu. Starting early will also allow you to take advantage of any sales or discounts. While Temu offers great value, it’s easy to get carried away. Set a budget for each category (decorations, favors, etc.) and stick to it. And really look up exactly what you want instead of broad search topics, so you’re not overwhelmed with the options.

Have you encountered any unexpected benefits from DIYing your wedding, besides cost savings?

Creating our own decorations and personal touches is making the approaching BIG DAY feel even more special and meaningful. It also brought us closer together as a couple, as we spent time working on projects and making decisions together. It has also been an incredible creative outlet for me especially, to divert my brain from the more stressful aspects of wedding planning. I love to work with my hands, and so engaging in these DIYs has been extremely stress-relieving. And it’s honestly kept me off of my laptop and wedding spreadsheets all the time, I look forward to it to just disengage from the other things.

How have your friends and family reacted to your DIY wedding projects? Have they been involved in the process?

For a South Asian bride, the wedding isn’t just about the two people getting married, but it really is two families coming together. And I know it takes not only a village, but a COMMUNITY for a successful wedding and a marriage.  My entire family and all my friends are helping me make the DIYs which is making everyone feel involved. Everyone keeps asking me how they can help and what they can do, so I literally hand off the DIY kits and projects to the people close to us and they’re so excited to help. I want them to see these unique elements at the wedding and feel like they were a part of it! It’s a great family bonding experience and the moments leading up to the wedding have been so special. I want to look back at the journey of wedding planning and be reminded of these interactions. It’s all about the journey that got you there, not the final product, right?

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently in your DIY journey? Any tips or lessons learned that you’d like to share?

Start early!!!! I would say to focus on 1-2 DIY projects a month and depending on how many you are doing, create a schedule for yourself. I kept thinking I had so much time until the wedding and started the DIYs only a few months before the wedding, and now I wish I had started earlier. Because there’s so much I still want to do and it seems like there isn’t enough time. And, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your friends and family want to help you, and they want to support you. You don’t have to do it all yourself!


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