There’s a LOT involved when it comes to planning and pulling off the perfect wedding reception. Choosing the right venue is just the beginning. What about the menu? The bar? The ceremony? The music? The centerpieces? And then there are the invitations… and dozens of other details.

La Navona is here to help! (Be sure to check out our all-inclusive wedding packages… which include:

  • Food
  • Bar
  • Linens
  • DJ
  • Champagne Toast
  • And SO much more

We really do make planning your dream wedding easy and fun.

Pinterest can be such a blessing — and such a bleeping four-letter curse word too. There are some amazing ideas out there, but we’ve also seen some pretty spectacular DIY fails. And when it comes to planning your once-in-a-lifetime wedding celebration, no one wants to have their DIY elegant canopy décor fall off the rafters and wrap Grandma up on the dance floor in one fell swoop.

Plus… the more you DIY, the less time you’ll have for everything else in your life.

With all of that in mind, we offer this helpful list of seven scenarios when it’s totally worth it to DIY… and when you’ll probably be better off saving your time (and your sanity) by hiring a pro.

1. Music

We know it might be tempting to try to save some money by either a) letting your brother’s friend’s little cousin use your wedding reception as his worldwide debut as a DJ, or b) making a killer playlist or a well-honed Spotify station and just plugging in an iPod for your reception music. But here’s the problem with that plan: Your DJ is also your emcee for the evening.

And having no emcee (or, equally as disastrous, having a bad emcee) will truly make or break your reception. So although iPods may work perfectly for road trips or dinner parties, an iPod can’t introduce your wedding party, coordinate the toasts, announce your first dance, tell your guests when it’s time to cut the cake, and so on.

Perhaps, one day, Alexa might be able to do all of this… but, until then, go with a pro.


Hire a pro. Hire a pro, hire a pro, hire a pro. We cannot stress this enough.


The DJ is included (yep, totally included!) at no additional charge with all of La Navona’s wedding packages.

centerpieces2. Centerpieces

Empty wine bottles full of fairy lights. Stacks of vintage books with votives and tealights galore. Floating candles alongside wooden containers full of succulents. Matte-painted vases, tin cans, or mason jars with sprigs of baby’s breath.

We love all of these ideas, and they’re all relatively easy to execute yourself.

But there are some gorgeous floral centerpieces out there too… and our partner vendor, Botanica Flowers, has beautiful options at every price point. So, really, this one is completely up to you! Just make sure you don’t overextend yourself… because creating your own centerpieces can end up being quite time-consuming. (It’s also the perfect opportunity to enlist a little help from your bridesmaids.)


It’s a tie.


If you opt to DIY, La Navona will handle all the set-up and all the tear-down. It’s included in our wedding package at no additional charge!

3. Invitations

These days, wedding invitations can run the gamut from super traditional and formal to more whimsical and casual. Whatever your personal style, you’ll want to make sure your invitations reflect it. But, fair warning: No matter how casual you fall on the etiquette spectrum, we do not recommend DIY-ing your invitations — unless, of course, you’re a graphic designer, a practiced calligrapher, or a letter-press operator.

That said, if your BFF happens to be any of those things, by all means, ask for help! Your wedding is the perfect time to call in those kinds of favors… or, if they’re unable to offer their talents for free, you might still be able to score a decent discount.


Hire a pro.


There are about a million online retailers who can help you create and print your invitations. Personally, though, when it comes to invites, we prefer to keep it local. Check out Igloo Letterpress in Worthington or On Paper in the Short North.

wedding cake4. Wedding Cake

Just about everyone can follow a recipe and bake a cake, right? Well, not just anyone can create a wedding cake. Wedding cakes are works of art. And it takes a very special someone to do them right.

So unless you’re not planning to have your cake on display, we strongly suggest hiring a professional… or someone who used to be a professional… or someone who has some kind of experience working in a professional bakery.

However, we are fans of the cookie table. Or dessert buffets. Or cupcakes. Or cookies. Or non-traditional cakes. Or donuts. Or cookies. (Did we mention cookies?)


Hire a pro.


Check out our partner vendor, Sauer Cakes, whose cake creations are both gorgeous AND delicious.

5. Wedding Planners

There are some incredibly talented wedding planners in Central Ohio. We especially love MStyle and Events Held Dear. The good news: Most planners offer various levels of service, letting you have either a) a full all-inclusive planning and design package, or b) building your own a la carte package with just the services that make the most sense for your needs.

The bad news: Most wedding planners (the good ones, anyway) tend to be a tad bit expensive. And, much like wedding photographers, the more talented they are, the most expensive they tend to be too. The adage is true: You usually do get what you pay for.

So if you feel like you have no idea where to begin and can’t imagine plan your wedding without the help of a wedding planner, then it’s totally worth the money… especially if you’re just renting an empty event space that doesn’t include anything else — like tables, chairs, linens, décor, food, bar, etc. etc. etc.

But if a wedding planner simply isn’t in the budget, that’s OK too.


It’s a tie.


When you book your wedding at a venue like La Navona (where everything’s already included), our professional wedding coordinators are included too — at no additional charge!

place cards6. Place Cards, Signage & Personal Touches

The perfect place to strut your DIY style is with all of the little day-of details. How about a framed sign at the bar with the quote, “Trust me, you can dance. – Alcohol” or, if you’re craft-inclined, gifts for your bridesmaids that include some kind of handmade memento.

Handwritten place cards are a nice touch and writing a handwritten note to your soon-to-be-spouse on a vintage postcard is incredibly romantic.




Unless you’re doing an individually plated meal (and need to indicate to the serving staff which guest pre-ordered which meal), place cards aren’t necessarily required. Instead, you can create a poster or a chalkboard or some kind of art piece — we love this antique-window idea! — that lists everyone’s names in alphabetical order, with their assigned table number next to their names.


Our coordinators are constantly asked, “Is it necessary for me to do a seating chart?”

And the answer is a resounding YES. Please. Yes.

Here’s why: You’ll end up having, let’s say, a family of 4 who shows up a few minutes late… and, by the time they arrive, there are only 4 seats left: but one’s at one table, one’s at another table, and two more are at yet another table. And that family of 4 isn’t going to want to split up, so they’re starting to get upset — because they’re brought you a very nice gift but they have nowhere to sit.

So your servers are scrambling at the last minute to squeeze in two extra seats (and find extra plates and extra napkins and extra water glasses and extra favors and extra silverware…) at a table that, really, wasn’t meant to seat more than the 10 people who are already seated there!

It’s a hot mess. Trust us.

So please… take the time to do one! You don’t have to assign specific seats, but please assign each guest a table.

7. Wedding Favors

Wedding favors have started to fall by the wayside. And, really, how many of your guests are ever actually going to use a “Kelly + Mike 4-Ever” keychain? But we still think favors are a nice touch, and a great way to incorporate your personality into the reception.

So why not get creative!

Love gardening? Give each guest a pack of wildflower seeds, or a grow-your-own basil kit, or a starter succulent in a tiny clay pot.

Love to bake? Why not custom cookie cutters, or ingredients layered in a mason jar, or your favorite recipe printed on a vintage recipe card! The possibilities are endless.


D-I-Y! (Unless, of course, you’d like someone else to actually DO the DIY-ing, there are some adorable ideas on Etsy.)


Your “favor” doesn’t have to be a favor per se. Photo booths (with a photo strip that guests can take with them AS their favor) work out beautifully…. and we’re huge proponents of personalized wedding hashtags!

For more advice on how to plan the perfect wedding (and when it’s worth hiring a pro instead of going full-on DIY), contact La Navona today and speak to our professional wedding coordinators! We can even help with hashtag ideas.