This is such a gorgeous way to celebrate your marriage – Araminta & Martyn held an intimate candlelit dinner for their closest friends and family following their church ceremony and it just looks so sophisticated, but full of warmth and love at the same time. The table was brimming with red blooms, metallic votives and ivory candles, which truly came into their own as dusk fell, creating such a magical place in which to dine.
We’re also swooning over Araminta’s Catherine Deane gown – the tulle!! It’s heavenly! And that bespoke polka dot veil too – such a lovely Bridal look. And wait until you see the floral arch that decorates the church…there are so many gorgeous things in this wedding, let’s take a look…
Well this morning’s beautiful couple are one stylish pair. Bride Natasha wears the stunning Eden Jenny Packham gown and looks absolutely incredible in it and Groom Matthew looks equally dapper in his mixed tweed Ted Baker suit & bow tie.
Cleverly fusing their love for their urban city life and their country roots they stumbled across a beautiful rustic barn in an industrial location. And I have to say it’s the most fabulous venue and couldn’t be more perfect for them. Scrolling through the pictures you’ll see perfect portraits captured with picturesque rural backdrops and raw industrial beauty. It’s kinda of like getting two weddings for the price of one!
I haven’t even mentioned how absolutely amazing all the array of high street pastel Bridesmaid dresses are yet and the hand picked meadow bouquets are just beaut!
We’re heading up North this morning for a sleek and stylish city wedding. Frances and James married at striking Gateshead building the Sage. With incredible riverside views, lots of glass and polished metal – it makes a great backdrop for a modern wedding.
Frances’ unusual Phase Eight gown is beautiful too, the textured circular design is so pretty and is perfect for a city wedding. But I love that she’s snuck in a little boho detail with the floral crown.
The lovely pair inadvertently created a navy and yellow colour scheme which actually works really well in the lofty, airy, mirrored building.
Look out for the adorable flower girls too – still cute even when having a tantrum.
If I had to describe Fiona and Kweku’s big day in a single word then the adjective of my choosing would be joyful. In fact you’ve probably already guessed this from the title of this post…
But you see it really is joyful, from Kweku’s beaming smile to the bright maids’ dresses, all the way through to Fiona’s colour pop bouquet and the life-affirming singing that you can see the guests partaking in during the pair’s wedding ceremony.
Fiona and Kweku’s glorious ‘I Do’ makes me smile from head to toe and really folks, that’s what it’s all about. Congratulations you two!
Back garden weddings are my favourite. They always look so cosy, warm and welcoming. This one is especially fabulous as there’s a Tipi and the family dog gets to join in the festivities.
Katie’s parents house was always her dream wedding venue and she has been best friends with Groom Andy since they were at nursery! Their familiarity and together-ness shines through in all of the images.
Their families and friends look like a really lovely, happy group of people and I bet that some of them knew very early on that Katie and Andy would one day end up Man and Wife.
Home Sweet Home
Katie The Bride: Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to have my wedding in my parent’s garden. My dad converted the barn into our home around 20 years ago and it’s been the central point of our family ever since. So when Andy proposed to me on a skiing holiday I knew instantly we had the venue sorted!
I found the tipi tents online before we even got engaged (as you do!) and absolutely loved how different they are to any other marquees. Andy wasn’t so keen to start with until we went to an open day with Tipis4hire and he was sold too! The team at Tipis4hire were brilliant and really competitively priced.
A Colourful Lip
I knew I wanted to wear my hair in an up-do so I wouldn’t have to worry about it on the day. I bought my hair comb at the Save the Date wedding fair. My hair isn’t very long and it’s quite fine so my auntie Sue (who is a hairdresser) recommended a Balmain hair piece. This was amazing and I still use it now when creating my own up-dos.
I wanted my hair loose with a messy look and Leah from Head Candy in Market Harborough totally nailed it. She’s so lovely to work with and also did all the bridesmaids hair and my mum’s! I tend to go for a bright lip colour and keep my eyes neutral when doing my own makeup so thought I’d stick to what I like. Mandy Adams is fab and did an awesome job of all our makeup. It lasted well into the night despite lots of hugging, kissing and a little crying!
Exactly As Imagined
I knew I wanted some lace in my dress and I was completely adamant I didn’t want strapless. I have to say I never had an ‘it’s the one’ moment but when I decided on my gorgeous Benjamin Roberts gown it’s exactly the dress I imagined wearing on my w-day. I wasn’t so keen on the neckline of the dress so I had the sleeves pinched in to expose more of my shoulders. I added an embellished sash that I bought on Etsy.
Sparkly Princess Gorgeousness
My something old was my Mum’s veil that she wore when marrying my Dad and this was really special to me as I’m so close to both my parents. Top tip: After 30 years in the loft the veil was rather yellow, so my Mum hand washed it in Glo white net curtain whitener, and TA-DA, it was as good as new!
Ooh the shoes…I wanted some I could wear again to remind me of our special day so I went for the ultimate in sparkly princess gorgeousness… Jimmy Choos! I kept my jewellery simple with some small vintage chandelier earrings from the Save the Date wedding fair and a sapphire ring my Grandma Sheila gave to me for my 21st birthday, this was also my ‘something blue’.
Andy bought me a beautiful delicate Astley Clarke bracelet as a wedding gift and I surprised him with the Tag Heuer watch he’s dreamed about for as long as I can remember.
Well Dressed Wedding Party
I had seven bridesmaids in total – my sisters, Andy’s sisters and our three cousins. I stumbled across the older girls dresses in Topshop, they’re from the boutique range Coco’s Fortune and knew they’d look amazing on all my girls.
My little girls were really hard to dress as they were 12 and 11 at the time, too young for ladies dresses but too big for flower girl dresses. In the end we went for a dress from Monsoon teamed with glittery gold pumps.
Andy had two best men and they all wore the same three piece navy suit from Jeff Banks. Andy loves his shoes so went for some lovely tan brogues from Grenson. Their spotty ties were from Reiss.
Six Foot K & A
We wanted an outdoorsy, rustic and fun feel to our day. The tipis needed to be bursting with pretty decorations so we used lots of fairy lights, bunting, paper pom poms, wicker hearts, paper lanterns and tons of gorgeous flowers and foliage. I had seen on RMW some fantastic giant light up letters so my Dad decided he could make these and 2 days later, voila – we had a 6 ft K & A in the garage!
Colour And Texture
The beautiful flowers were exactly as I’d imagined and arranged by the wonderful Carolann at CK Flowers. I wanted lots of colour and texture so for the bouquets she used pink peonies, herbs such as rosemary and lavender, orange roses and blue thistles.
We also had two large arrangements in milk churns and two smaller arrangements for the top table. Then my lovely Grandma organised our table arrangements in wooden heart lanterns. We then raided my parent’s garden for tons of ivy and foliage that we used all over – throughout the tipis, around pillars and to make an arch at the altar of the church.
Marrying My Best Friend
Andy and I have been friends since we were at nursery so it was really special for us to get married at our local parish church where we were both christened. My sister Charlotte read a poem by Louise Cuddon called ‘I’ll be there for you’. She kept this as a surprise until the day, it was so personal to us both and she read it so beautifully. I was worried I would cry throughout the ceremony but I was just so excited to marry my best friend all my nerves melted away.
You Belong With Me
Andy’s sister Kate is a phenomenal singer and asked to sing at our wedding breakfast. She chose Ed Sheeran ‘Kiss Me’ and it was absolutely amazing. It was really important to us that we had a live band that would get everyone dancing. We came across TI Funk in Nottingham and knew they’d be perfect! They’re a great blend of soul, funk and RnB with two incredible lead singers. We chose our first dance so long ago nothing else could compete… We had Ho Hey by The Lumineers and it will forever be one of our favourite songs.
My parent’s friends and exceptional caterers, Nick and Mandy Healy from Nick’s at Home, produced our delicious menu. We had canapés then a selection of homemade breads, oils, hummus and smoked salmon for starter, succulent supreme of chicken for main and a trio of desserts to finish. For the evening we had pork cobs with all the trimmings and lots of homemade cakes loving made by friends and family. For our favours my mum was amazing and made plum jam, raspberry vodka and sloe gin for the ladies. Then for the gents we bought hipflasks and filled then with whisky.
Talented Friends And Family
When it came to stationery we were extremely lucky to have such a talented bunch of friends and family. Our lovely friend Ian of Twin Tipped Designs offered to design all our wedding stationery. He is fab and all the invitations, menus etc looked brilliant. My Grandad is a great artist and sketched the church for the front of our order of service and our family friend Paul Duval printed everything for us.
A Wedding In A Field
If you are planning to organise a wedding in a field or garden then you need tons of support! We were so lucky to have amazing parents, family and friends to help us out because there is so much more to think about and arrange; the list is endless!
Andy and I tried to make sure we had some time together as the whole day is a whirlwind of kisses, thank yous, laughs, tears and much more! I know every bride says this but it’s over in a flash so savour EVERY moment!
Emma Case and her husband Pete are simply the best! They are such lovely, genuine and wonderful people and their photography is breathtaking, everything we could have wished for!
We also enlisted Carmen of Carmen Weddings as our wedding organiser and I truly don’t know what we would have done without her! She worked her socks off and ensured that on the day we could relax without worrying about lighting candles, moving tables and the thousand other things that needed doing.
It was Lolly’s wedding on RMW that made me realise we HAD to have a videographer and we decided on Minty Slippers who captured our day beautifully. I can honestly say all our suppliers were absolutely awesome and amazing to work with.
As I sit here writing this post for you gorgeous lot I realise I have run away with myself.
You see this post was meant to be more of a discussion piece; instead it seems to have turned into a shopping list for the millions of bags that I’m currently coveting.
But I’ve taken the liberty of assuming that you won’t really mind feasting your eyes on the profusion of pretty that I’ve laid out for you below. Plus looking at a host of scrummy pictures might help to get your debating juices going – it’s a thought anyway.
And so to business.
Jewel-encrusted clutches, big-day purses, oversized pocketbooks and glittery miniature totes. You name it, I probably want it. Whilst shoes, for many of you, are your downfall, bags are my kryptonite.
They make me go weak at the knees and I break out into a little pony-stamping dance if I see a piece of leathery goodness and I can’t have it. I am such a drama queen.
But….somewhat surprisingly, I went bag-less on my actual wedding day. I just couldn’t be doing with holding the bouquet and then a bag on top. Instead I left my essential valuables in my room and gave my lipgloss to my bridesmaids to hold.
This wasn’t my best move…but that’s another story.
So I want to hear what you think.
Have you purchased a wedding day clutch or will you relying on an old favourite? Perhaps, like me you’re choosing to opt out of the big day bag scenario because the thought of it is too much to bear.
Either way I’d love to hear your arguments – both for and against.
And whilst we’re discussing the finer points, here’s some delectable clutches to have a look at.
I know. I know. I’m a broken record.
You’d have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the fact that I love all things golden so I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to mix my bag lust with my favourite colour palette.
In my defense there’s something about glittery, sparkly hues that scream PARTY!
Be it an oversized clutch, a sequin encrusted pouch or a miniature boxed case complete with jewels there’s pretty much something for everyone here.
For those of who will be appropriating a bag on your big day…how big do you go? How big is too big? How small can you go before it all seems a bit pointless because you can’t actually fit anything in apart from your lippy?
FYI my favourite golden clutch here is the Bottega Veneta although I’d probably have to remortgage my house to buy it.
Admittedly you’d have to be a brave bride to opt for a huge bag in bright orange like this girlie at the top here. That said, I love a bride that makes a bold fashion statement on her big day.
I confess that this concoction of images is inspired by my current obsession with viburnum berries which take on an amazing metallically, petrol blue colour – hence the feathered teal clutch at the bottom. And then I just generally felt berry inspired (sorry I couldn’t resist!).
In all seriousness though there are so many evening bags in this colour spectrum that are available to purchase right now. I’m not sure whether it’s this time of year but it seems that all of my regular haunts are stocking clutches in reds, corals, oranges, yellows and pinks.
The world is your oyster my friends.
Don’t you just love the book inspired bag with the ‘once upon a time…’ inscription on the front. Perfect for the start of your new chapter together.
Feathers And Frills
….and studs and appliqué and mother of pearl and fur and tassels and pearls.
You name it, this board has it!
But when does so much become too much?
I’m in awe of the spiky number at the top here but I wouldn’t quite know how to hold it. For example, popping it under your arm is a definite no-no unless you want to spear yourself in the process.
I do love the frilly number in the middle too – perfect for a bride with a ruffled frock, it just oozes romance and could very easily be reused after the big day for other nights out.
Perhaps my favourite however is the circular tasseled bag and the feathered clutch which would suit girls wearing a 1920’s inspired frock on their big day. You can just imagine a fringed bride shimmying her way around the dancefloor to The Charleston whilst grasping one of these numbers.
This last moodboard is not so much concerned with the bag itself but rather your perfect recipe for its contents.
What would you pack?
Having learnt from experience I strongly recommend that any bride keep a pack of tissues as close to her person as possible. If you’re anything like me then you’ll blubber your way down the aisle all the way to the speeches and then some more if you’re lucky.
Take it from me it’s best to keep some tissues on hand.
If you want to stay ahead in the style stakes then investing in some pretty paper for this purpose is the way to go. I wished that I’d come across these equestrian inspired tissues for my own big day; aren’t they gorgeous?
Any girl worth her salt knows that a perfectly applied lip is the keystone to a glamorous look. It makes sense then to not only include your favourite lippy and blusher but also a cutesy pocket mirror too – I’m in love with this mirror from Depeapa.
Hairgrips are handy too if you’re planning to go all out on the dancefloor. Make them glittery and fun or kitschy cute to ensure you look your very best.
And lastly, a girl can never have enough pocket mints – you want to make sure that you’re minty fresh for your new spouse don’t you?!
Wes and Laura married in April at Farbridge barn, Chichester. The wedding was simply IMMENSE.
If I had been told that this was an inspiration shoot then I would have been one fooled wedding blogger. I am not going to say anymore. Just sit back, drink in these gorgeous details captured exquisitely by navy blur and indulge in Laura’s big day write up.
It Was Right
My dress was from a shop in Horsham called crystal brides. I had seen a dress I loved in a magazine by designer mon cheri. After trying on lots of different dresses in the shop, I just knew that the dress in the magazine was the one! The shop ordered It in for me and I knew it was right straight away.
I brought a plain veil online for £10 and sewed tiny seed beads all the way round it edge. Id seen a similar veil for £180 in the shops! I made my halo beaded head piece myself, saving tons of money again!
My shoes were cute little ballet style shoes from Topshop.
I saw some awesome metal heart bracelets in Primark and Wes stuck the hearts into my shoes!
I had my hair done at bouffant salon in Worthing, I went for loose curls and the sides pinned up to showcase my halo headband. The gorgeous makeup artist lia boccia came to my house on the wedding day and did all of our make up.
I went for a natural look, but with false eyelashes. I brought a gorgeous MAC lipstick for the day in a pretty pink. (which I preceded to loose on the dance floor. Lol!)
The fab florist Bo-k did our flowers. I spent a lot of time with Becky deciding on a vintage mis-matched theme, teacups, jam jars and teapots with flowers in.
Becky really understood my vision and seeing all the flowers set up on the day was amazing. We decided to add a pop of quirkiness by adding yellow billy ball flowers. Which I love, they are so fun.
The groomsmens suits were from HM and Next. I brought the green bow ties for the men on eBay for £1.99 each! Bargain! The bridesmaids dress’s were from Coast In a gorgeous sage green colour that matched the bow ties.
Colour Pop Socks
My gorgeous Wes wore a grey suit from Next With the matching green bow tie like the other men. I brought him a pocket watch as a gift for the day, which went really well with his suit. All the men got gifts of cuff links with their initials on.
Wes wore some smart brown shoes from Next. All the men wore brightly coloured socks, which looked great in the photos!
The Stuff Of Dreams
Our amazing photographers, christine and xander from navy blur, made our wedding photo dreams come true! We fell in love with them when we had our engagement shoot in 2011 and love their fun style.
We also had the navy blur photo booth on the wedding day which went down a storm. We have been looking at the wedding photos everyday since the wedding, and I think I could look at them over and over forever!
Gary osborne, owner of film house, videoed on the day and edited it beautifully into a 5 minute extravaganza! It is better then we ever dreamed of and We are so pleased we had it done, it’s such a brilliant reminder of the day.
Cup And Cake
My mum Jayne, a cake decorator made our cake. We designed it together, and it turned out perfect. Bo-k helped make the cake complete with flowers In a tea cup on the top tier and around the base.
I put the cake on a vintage tea trolly that I brought at a car boot sale for £2! We made sure that we took the wheels off so it didn’t roll away.
Our Favourite Songs
Disco fever provided our evening music. Their website was great, it allowed us to hand pick all our music, and guests could request too. A night full of all our favourite songs? Yes please! The dance floor was packed and we had the night of our life!
Can’t Take My Eyes On You
Our first dance had to be a song from our favourite band of all time, muse, can’t take my eyes off you. It starts off as a slow and the chorus builds into a rocky song. Half way through the song we invited everyone to join us on the dance floor and the party began!
Pick And Mix
I knew from the start that I wanted to create my dream pick and mix sweet buffet which would serve as a favour for our guests. We had great fun picking out all jars from ikea and choosing all our fav sweets from a food wholesales.
I hand stamped little striped sweet bags with our wedding date and guests helped the selfs to sweets to take home.
Bunting, Suitcases, Jars And Hearts
I had a very clear vision of what I wanted the barn to look like. Farbridge Barn is a beautiful place and I added bunting, vintage suitcases, candles in jam jars and fabric hearts as decorations. We had soooo many decorations!
A Personal Day
We really wanted our wedding to scream ‘us’! It contained all the things we loved and really was a dream come true. It was very personal, with all the DIY elements that I made with my friends and family’s help.
Do A To Do List
I would tell brides to be that it is never too early to do things. Once it’s done, you can tick it off your list! I did a lot of the work way in advance, so the months before the wedding were not stressful at all.
All the hard work had been done a year ago! I got a notebook and made it a month by month to do list, each month up until the wedding. So each month I knew what tasks I was had to do.
Breaking it down month by month meant I never got over whelmed with too much to do at once and it worked out perfectly. Nothing better than ticking off something on your to do list!
The music started and in walked the bridesmaids. Not how I had imagined them to walk in but at that point it was fine!
Then it was my turn. I felt a bit sick, but I had my Dad. I looked around at all the faces and caught sight of Portia already in tears; I took a deep breath and held the tears back. I saw Darren and could instantly tell he was super nervous, but playing it cool while he waited for me (he didn’t know that I’d nipped to the ladies!). The ceremony was lovely, my twelve year old brother did two readings, I was so impressed by his confidence he read them so well and as he’s dyslexic it was even more impressive. Darren’s groomsman Nick also did a lovely reading which he selected and edited himself from the movie Stardust. He was really nervous too but did us both proud.
Do You Take…
Then it was time for the legal bits, do you take…. At this point I was asked if I Amanda Georgia Champness took Ross… err no she didn’t!… The poor register had asked if I would like to take Darren’s best man! She looked SO embarrassed but it was funny and at least I said Darren! So we gave each other our beautifully hand crafted completely unique rings a wedding present from my friend Alison who had made my engagement ring, so they matched.
I Read Through the Tears
And finally our own vows, Darren in his nerves had tried to read them about four times already, and we had to keep telling him ‘not yet’. He read his beautifully. I had to take a deep breath before mine, I only just managed to read them through the tears and you can hear my voice shaking in the video. They read:
I cannot give you that which is already yours, my heart
But I can promise to let you keep it, whilst I take good care of yours
I promise to let you be my strength and my weakness
I promise to let you grow
To take care of your dreams and help them come true
To encourage your creativity and independence
Whilst staying true to you and you only
I promise to stay through times of strife
And to make the most of everyday with you
Most of all I promise to love you until the end of time, forever and for always yours.
Husband And Wife
So we signed the register and that was it we were husband and wife.
Once we’d got outside the theatre into the foyer, an unplanned receiving line occurred, which was lovely as we were both able to hug and kiss everyone that had just witnessed our wedding.
Up On The Roof
Up to the roof top we went, for group photos and bubbles. I thought at this point there were still ages to go. In fact the bus was waiting and we had 20mins. So a lot of the group photos we had planned were missed out, which is a shame as I have no individual bridesmaid shots, something I hadn’t really considered.
A Private Shoot
Once everyone had got on the bus, we stayed behind with Dan, Leah and Rosie and had our own little photo shoot. This was SO much fun! And the photos ARE AMAZING! Dan had borrowed a tilt-shift lens especially for our wedding which is why some of the photos have such an amazing look to them. We pranced around all over the shop and I LOVE the fact that I have wedding photos of us in an art installation, as I’m an installation artist.
These are some of my favourite wedding pictures, although it would have been amazing to have seen the guests’ faces when they walked into the reception. It was reported back to me that there was many a gasp and ‘Wow’s’. They were greeted with a jam jar of G‘n’T by my lovely ex-student Daisy.
A D.I.Y Dream
When it comes to the reception venue, with all our DIY creations I was really happy with how it all looked. However not wanting to be negative in my wedding report I shall stick to a ‘NO COMMENT’ on service and food.
Once dinner was over, evening guests quickly started to arrive and we unveiled the secret use for the Moustache Station! We had Anna and Charlotte some more ex-students (sometimes its handy being a teacher!) apply temporary tattoo’s of moustaches to people’s fingers! Fingertashes! You can get them in Anthropologie (Or from me! Yes I’ll reveal that at the end!) Once people started seeing them they were everywhere, some kids even had them actually applied to their faces as moustaches!
Short But Sweet
Once most people had arrived we started with the speeches. We wanted to save them for the evening so that everyone could enjoy them, plus I wanted a bigger audience for mine. My Dad started and did a short but sweet speech; it was lovely that he thanked my Mum and step-dad for doing a good job with me. But he did a great job too!
Then untraditionally Darren’s Dad had asked to give a speech and what a marvellous job he did! He was so well prepared and had props and everything! He said some really lovely things and my favourite line from his speech was, ‘as there hands met reaching for the craft glue’. Then it was my go, now as a teacher, an ex pub quiz reader and general lover of attention I love a bit of public speaking, strange I know! But I really wanted to thank certain people and I think it’s actually quite a powerful way of doing so.
I thanked SO many people but I really wanted to thank my Mum, she’s done so much for me and never really listens when I tell how great she is. Well I got her good this time. She cried some big tears and so did a few other people I hear.
At the start of Darren’s speech he even got heckled by my step-dad saying that he’s got a tough act to follow. But this is why I picked Darren. He follows this mouthy lady with no concerns. He did a wonderful speech that had everybody laughing.
At last it was the best mans turn, Ross did an amazing speech at his own wedding just the year before, so I knew it would be great. It was so well planned; he had prepared cards to read it from with the pictures of Darren and I, from our invitations. And had even themed his speech around our wedding theme of ‘Some Things Just Belong Together’, I was so impressed. He was actually a god send on the day and was the bestest best man ever!
The Magnetic Zero’s
Ross finished his speech to a loud round of applause and introduced our first dance: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s: Home. I love dancing with Darren; we had considered planning a dance but never really got around to it. But we have some moves of our own, so much so that a lot of people had thought we had choreographed it.
Once we finished dancing to Home, our magnificent band Lady M and the Mr Men got straight down to some AMAZING music! THIS BAND IS WORTH EVERY PENNY. They were SO kind and so warm and generous and they even danced in their break! They were truly awesome! Ok do you get it? I loved them!!!! In fact everyone did, we still get comments every time the wedding is brought up, about how great they were!
In Full Swing
By this time the photo booth and moustache station was in full swing, the cookies were being munched on and most people were dancing. I danced ALL night in fact I think I only left the dance floor for two reasons: 1. to pull other people on to the dance floor 2. To use the bathroom!
During the bands break, Darren came on and sang a song for me accompanied on guitar by his friend Phill. It was a variation on a song by The Devine Comedy that he had rewritten and practiced only a few times in the week before. You can see it at the end of our video, if you dare! You can see the video at the end of my report, it’s great don’t you know!
It truly was a wonderful day and night.
So Some Advice:
think about what you wear whilst you’re getting ready. NO-ONE told me that my vest was see-through. Hence no below the bust shots of me getting glammed up.
be pedantic with your suppliers – don’t be afraid to be precise, I took it for granted that some of our supplier’s would know exactly what I wanted and a lot of the good ones did. However I wished I’d been more precise with the fine detail.
think about the photos you really want and make a precise list, start NOW. Dan did an amazing job and asked throughout the day if there was anything else I wanted photos off and every time I said no. However I had no individual shots of my bridesmaids and a few DIY’s where missed of the photos, luckily a photographer friend captured most of them.
think about who you ask to be in your bridal party. What friends can and will do is very different from what you might like them to do.
make your mind up as soon as possible. I could decide on a design for Order of Service, so we didn’t have one and I wish we had. Also if I’d picked our theme a lot sooner it would have been easy to choose items.
give people things to do on the day or get a Rachie like Shirley did. This way I might not have forgotten to: to give our parents their thank-you cards (still in a box in the house) to give the bridesmaids there amazing bags from Alphabet Bags which I won in a competition on Before the Big Day, along with an individual owl cushion, which I’d made. To cut the cake. To get photos of the bridesmaids individually. To get a picture of me and my brother and sisters. To throw my bouquet. Etc etc
Oh and put a sign on your evening favours, we had magnets of our invitation, illustrations and now one took them!
So What’s Next?
Well I’ve created Doris Loves which is a hire business from which I shall be hiring lots of the goodies that I made for the wedding including the chair covers and moustache station. The range will increase as things develop and as well as offering a custom service too, so let me know if you have any crazy ideas that we can make for you!
We’d also love to have a baby ASAP, so watch this space! Apart from that we’ll continue to enjoy each other, and our growing collection of pets, we’re on three chickens and two cats at the moment!
Apart from that I’d like to take this final space to thank the other real brides who have been so supportive to me, answering questions within minutes and a generally been a god send. So, thank you ladies! And thanks for reading this epic post! It’s taken quite a while but I hope it was worth the wait!
So there we have it ladies and gentleman. Amanda and Darren are two of the nicest people you are ever likely to meet. They truly deserve each other and all the hapiness in the world. Team RMW wish you both the best of luck with all of your future plans (they sound mighty exciting).
It seams like they have started off on the right foot. The reception party looks immense – a complete hoot. Those tilt shift images of the church are super cool – I love how they make everything look like little minature models.
Right, Im going to pop over to Doris Loves for a few packets of moustaches!
Oh, and as promised – here is the video of Amanda and Darrens D.I.Y Dream Day. Prepare to smile.
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.