RMW Real Bride Amanda is our D.I.Y budget queen! She has astounded us all along her w-day journey with her super modest budget, her D.I.Y skills and the super special construction skills of her groom Darren.
And so today we present the first part of the final chapter. And with it comes perhaps the most budget friendly dress we have ever seen on RMW. I won’t spoil the surprise but I don’t think we will ever see a less expensive dress on these polka dotted pages. That said, Amanda looks amazing. Darren ain’t half bad either in his stripy Jack Wills blazer.
Official photography today is by Absolute Photography with Amanda’s ‘getting ready’ shots and the bus montage by Rosie Clayton.
Time For A Happy Ending
Right, well where do I start – at the beginning? Well you already know that. The middle? – well there you were right beside me on that little journey! So it’s time for the happy ending then isn’t it…
Well I’m happy to report that there were no story line twists in this tail. I met my prince, got engaged and now I’m married, so I’m living happily ever after.
The week’s before the wedding are a bit of a blur, not because I broke my self imposed sobriety (I’m a rubbish drunk!) for a few drinks on my hen do, which was most fun! It was because we took our DIY/Budget title to the max: Darren was sawing, nailing, and fixing right to the very end, whilst I was gluing, sticking, creating, cutting, decorating and by the end of it delegating. Yes I finally admitted on the week of the wedding that I needed some help and there were our friends and family, ready and waiting!
Lots of projects were changed, edited or just scrapped that week, and it really didn’t matter one jot. Some things are just NOT possible. BUT everything that was, was SOOOO much fun!
On the Thursday before (two days and counting), my Mum came round to arrange all the flowers with me. It was just delightful and I think my Mum had more fun than I did! She loved the freedom of my plan – which was to do whatever we fancied! The flowers came from Nursery Fresh and North Atlantic Flowers and were stunning so it didn’t really take much to make them look lovely. We also created three button holes for the Dad’s and six bouquets for the bridesmaids.
The Icing On The Cake
That night at 2am Darren and I iced the cakes, which I had baked that morning plus the one my Mum had made us, which turned into quite the romantic and hilarious activity – delirious from lack of sleep and cola.
However one the big day, we completely forgot to cut the cake and ended up taking them home at the end of the night untouched. Mum made us cut them the next morning before we headed off on honeymoon.
Friday morning, 24hrs to go, Darren’s best man Ross came round early to help load the items in the van for the De La Warr Pavilion (DLWP) ceremony set-up. We headed off in the van via Tesco’s, where we stopped off to collect the 500 cookies that we had ordered (as an evening buffet alternative, went down very well!). Boy-Oh-Boy was that fun! We filled the entire conveyer belt with them!
While we were gone, my Mum came over with my lovely uncle from Canada and his lovely girlfriend, and they cracked on with all the last minute jobs (Including tiding our bedroom and making our bed!).
At the DLWP we met up with Lucy and Sean, who are just the loveliest people you could ever want looking after your big day. I would highly recommend their services; they were SO supportive of our crazy ideas and just a pleasure to be around.
We set the DLWP up very quickly and surprised everyone including ourselves with that. I’d had how it would look in my head for such a long time, that it was easy to set it straight up. Everything just seemed to slot into place. It was just so calming for us both to see it for real, finished and ready to go.
Once we got home it was time to wait for even more reinforcements to arrive and whilst we were waiting, my friend Portia arrived with her boyfriend Adam. Portia and I grew up together and despite the distance and not seeing her for years she remains one of my most special friends. As soon as I saw her, I hugged her to within an inch of her life and sobbed the first of many tears. I am so grateful that she was able to make my big day! (She’s the glamorous blond in the lovely camel trouser/blazer combo!)
When the other’s arrived we filled their cars and vans with all the crazy DIY we’d created and plenty of booze and headed off to the chapel. I arrived slightly late, so the tables and chairs had already been set up and it was just time to dress them. What surprised me the most was that I didn’t have a plan for this! It all seemed to go really well though, everyone just got on with it. I just seemed to answer questions and point to where I wanted things! Within a couple of hours it was all done, thanks to all the extra hands we had helping!
Time For The Pub
The tables, photo booth and moustache station, bar, G+T station, cookie station, comments table, kid’s areas were set. So it was time for the pub. Luckily I have been working at the pub around the corner from the venue for a couple of years now and it’s been my Friday and Sunday nights there that have paid for most of our contribution to the wedding. So off to The Ship Inn for dinner we went, which was nice to have some yummy food with everyone that had helped.
Once we’d eaten it was of to the hotel with my little sister, while Darren went to stay at his best mans flat. Sleep and TV were in order for me, BUT I still hadn’t written my speech so as I’d predicted I didn’t really have an early night. But I’ve always been a bit of a night owl anyway.
In the morning, time seemed to slow down. The rest of the bridesmaids arrived, alongside my Mum and the extremely lovely Emma Fry: our friend, make-up artist and hair stylist extraordinaire. Emma is such a lovely lady, calm collected and totally professional and open to all my creative input. If you live in East Sussex then you’d be mad not to hire Emma for your big day!
The most common comment in the morning was how calm I was. Now this is NOT a natural or regular demeanour for me, I am energetic, loud, bossy, chatty, but not normally calm.
In the bathroom I had a moment with Mum:
Me – ‘I really am not nervous, is that normal’
Mum – ‘That’s because you’re doing the right thing’
Colour Pop Maids
I continued with my calmness and watched my lovely maids get dressed up. Emma did all the hair and most of their make-up; they had a plait of their choosing and what ever make-up they fancied. They wore New Look dresses (which were a bargain at only £28 each) and a coloured bow/sash made by my amazing Granddad’s wife. Each were asked to get a coloured cardie and coloured shoes, which they picked and they accessorised the outfits themselves, apart from my maid of honour for whom I got a star necklace from Orelia.
Whilst we’re on the subject; some of you may remember that earlier in the planning this year, I’d had a bit of drama with my sister Holly’s bridesmaid dress which lead to us purchasing her a different dress to the others. Well in my wisdom and slight hope, I kept the original dress as well as the new one and without saying anything had brought it to the hotel with me. Guess what – on the day and with no conversation, Holly tried on the original dress and asked if it would be ok to wear it! I hope you’ll all agree that she looks ruddy lovely in it!
Here Comes The Bride
Now you might like to know about my little ensemble, I wore a dress which I’d ordered online from a very big American online shop that gets their dresses made in China. It was nothing like any of the dresses I had previously tried on. There was no lace, something I was sure I wanted; it was a completely different shape. But it was only £160 odd pounds and my Mum and sister decided it was an opportunity I wasn’t to miss. So on my way out the door to an important meeting I gave them permission to buy it, under the premise that we could sell it on ebay if it wasn’t what I wanted.
So we waited and waited and finally the day came when I was expecting an email to announce it had been shipped and was on its way. But no email came, so I emailed. The reply was that there was a delay and it was not even made yet, but I could have 30% off if I waited, as it was months and months until the wedding I happily accepted the discount. So another delivery day went by and still no dress. So another email and another reply stating that there was yet more delays and would be another couple of weeks. But I could now have a further 70% refund. Yes that’s right if I waited a few more weeks they’d send me a free dress!
Well I said yes of course. I didn’t hold out, it can’t be a great dress if they can send it for free. BUT it was THE dress that arrived a few months late! Apart from delivery and import tax it was FREE!!!
So with my free dress, I wore some Topshop shoes from eBay, the amazing frilly knickers I made on my hen do with the amazingly supportive strapless wonderbra that’s a must for us busty ladies and some Monsoon earrings that were a fiver and bought only weeks before the wedding.
I decided not to wear a necklace, I had a few options but it just seemed a bit too much. One of the options was a beautiful heart locket given to me by my mother in-law, so I quickly got some lovely pink ribbon and tied it on to the beautiful bouquet by Glenister’s Florists in Polegate. I had a lovely big pink sash/bow and a massive hair flower which I made a few weeks before the wedding, from a customised Martha Stewart pattern. Last but not least my bridesmaid Naomi’s ring was the perfect turquoise to match my earrings and a true something borrowed as it was unplanned, just placed from her finger to mine.
In the mists of all the glamorisation, the ruddy lovely Rosie Clayton (a delightful ex-student (well she wasn’t always a delightful student what with poor attendance, but I always knew she had it in her, and she’s now studying Three Dimensional Design at Manchester Uni!) turned up with her camera and the gorgeously quirky American Leah Romaniello arrived with her video camera!
So all the photos of us getting ready and our guests on the bus are by the delightful Miss Clayton, I’m you’ll agree she has done a stellar job! But the photos from then on are by the extremely talented Dan Burman from Absolute Photography who was a pleasure to have around all day and it turns out he went to Uni with my besty/bridesmaid! What a small world. He has outdone my expectations with his photographs and he actually has photos of me smiling and looking like a normal person without pulling a funny face! So that alone was an amazing surprise!|
A Box Of Treats
So whilst us ladies were getting ready, the boys were at Ross’ house, doing the same! We had made each of them a little box of treats to wear. This included a very bright pair of socks from M&S, an amazing (if we do say so!) individually screen printed custom tie from the amazingly helpful Cyberoptix, and the even more impressive custom buttonholes made by my increasingly famous friend Miss Abigail MaryRose Clark of Stay Gold Mary Rose (Fern Cotton yes THE Fern Cotton sent her a dress (she’s always embarrassed by this tale so I tell it at every opportunity!). Then they all wore there own blue suits and what ever shoes they fancied.
Darren tried on lots of suits, but he felt like he was going to work in everyone, even though he did look dashingly handsome in a number of them. So whilst shopping we popped into Jack Wills just for a look around really. As soon as he put his Blazer on he loved it! He felt special so then we just had to find trousers that matched. This was initially a struggle but we eventually found some for the (not) MAZZIVE price of £30, from GAP. Then a pair of shoes from Jones and he was done.
So we’re all dressed and ready what next?
Time For A Breakdown
Well all the guest’s pile on to the Double Decker bus that we’d hired. As did the bridesmaids, Darren went early in his Triumph Spitfire and I was last in a beautiful Austin A40 Jensen. A car owned by a friend of Darren’s family, he very kindly drove me and my pa to the DLWP and then drove Darren’s parents back to the reception after. As Darren and I had some alone time on the journey back in his Triumph, which we really appreciated and enjoyed.
On arrival at the DLWP I sent my Dad out to check that no one was were they shouldn’t be, so my grand entrance was not disturbed. But the guests were not there! The bus had broken down en-route, but by the time I heard about it, they were already on the way in two replacement coaches. So off Dad and I went to the end of Bexhill Seafront to stop and admire the view. 15 minutes later it was time to head back.
I went in and had a chat with the registrars, to be honest I can’t actually remember their names but they were LOVELY, I was worried that they wouldn’t approve of our unusual set up but they were all for it. But the nerves had really started to set in. It was time to go in, Darren had been given the nod and the music started and in he went. However I was unaware. ALL I could think was I needed the loo! So off me and my sister went to the tiniest of toilets, she facing me holding my dress, both bending down together, I wondered at this point, with my sisters face quite so close to mine, if I was going to be able to pee. But this soon passed. It really was time to get on with it now.
Make-up – Emma Fry
Shoes – Topshop
Earrings – Monsoon
Videography – Leah Romaniello
Photography – Rosie Clayton (getting ready and bus shots) and Absolute Photography
Maids – New Look
…And that is where we leave it for now
It’s a great story so far and we will be back with Amanda and Darren soon for part 2.