Planning a wedding can feel like a full-time job. You have to keep track of all of the things (wedding vendors, invoices, tastings, fittings, centerpieces, floral arrangements… the list goes on), and you have to start planning waaay ahead of your wedding date. But what if you were tasked with all of that planning with none of the time? Katrina Lau was asked to help plan her best friend’s brother’s wedding, and she had about a week to do it all. That’s pretty much the definition of a DIY mega challenge.

Nevertheless, Katrina put her best face forward and got the job done. It wasn’t easy, but the result was a beautifully rustic wedding that you would have no clue took almost no time. We chatted with her about how she did the seemingly impossible and how the experience helped her learn some dos and don’ts for planning her own upcoming nuptials. For those of you overwhelmed by time crunches or any hiccups in planning your dream day, let Katrina’s tale give you some hope.

charlene-alfred-209 (1)

How did the task of putting this wedding together come to you?

During college, I interned at a wedding and event company in Orange County. This helped me become very familiar with the events industry. One of my best friends asked if I could help day-of coordinate and decorate for her brother’s wedding. I had no plans that weekend, so I thought, why not?

How did it all come together?

This was the ultimate DIY wedding challenge. Being scrappy was the key to success here. For some of the decor, I pulled old doors, shelves and random pieces out of storage sheds. I also freehanded chalk signs and made a photo wall supplemented by clothing pins and string.


What was the hardest part of the experience?

I had no idea what I was really working with until I showed up at the venue the night before the wedding. It was pitch dark! I didn’t have pre-designed mood boards or anything — I had to go off the cuff once the sun came up.


What was the reason behind the time crunch?

I was asked to do this as a favor and was contacted late in the process — about five days before the wedding.

What was the most rewarding aspect of planning the wedding?

Charlene and Alfred were so appreciative of my help. They are such an awesome couple and I’m glad they were able to focus on each other throughout their wedding. I know they will remember that day forever.


How did this experience help you prepare for planning your own wedding?

I will definitely bring in my help and vendors as early as possible so they can help understand how to execute my vision.

What steps are you repeating, or avoiding, with your own wedding planning?

My best friend is a super talented pastry chef in New York. For this wedding, she made homemade granola and I laser cut custom mason jar lids for party favors. I believe that custom details are what makes an event special, and I plan to add these in throughout my wedding. I will be utilizing my letterpress set that my bridesmaids got me as an engagement present!


What tips would you give other couples, whether they have months of planning or they’re doing it last minute, to help them in their planning, given what you’ve learned from your experience?

First and foremost, prioritize your must-haves. Second, get a day-of coordinator (at the least) and provide contact information for all your vendors and important family members. Also, give guests clear directions to your venue. You do not want your phone blowing up with texts and calls on your wedding day! Finally, and most importantly, smile and enjoy the moment (because if you don’t, it will forever show in your photos).

Is there anything you look back on from the experience that you wish you could change?

I wish I brought more ranch-appropriate shoes!

What was your favorite part of the whirlwind experience?

I am used to always planning things in detail ahead of time. This time, I had no control. This experience definitely got my adrenaline going and was a test of my creativity and capabilities. I am so glad everything worked out in the end!


Follow us on Pinterest for more DIY wedding ideas!


(Photos via Nima Salimi)