What Amanda (And Darren) Did… The Final Chapter.

Oh where oh where to start…… the last six weeks have somewhat been a hive of activity. And I seriously CAN NOT believe this is my last un-married post!

So, what have I been up to? Well, my normal approach is to tell you lovely lot in a chronological manor, but to be honest I can’t actually remember what order I’ve actually done things in so here goes nothing!

Getting A Hand With Things…

Now, as you can imagine I look at wedding blogs a lot and every time I’ve read about DIY weddings they always say how great it was to share out the DIY between friends and family. I also LOVED reading Robyn and Robin’s DIY reports as they seemed to have a whole production team helping. However, I’ve not really taken this option. This isn’t because I haven’t had offers of help, it’s because I’ve actually really enjoyed spending hours making stuff and because I have Darren who can literally make ANYTHING I ask of him (See below!) I am constantly amazed with his skills and am so excited to spend the rest of my life with someone this creativity gifted! But if I’m honest, I’m also a control freak, that’s hard to admit, even if it is a little obvious! But this isn’t to say that I haven’t asked for help when it’s been needed!

1st of all though I owe MADDIE JOYCE a massive apology! Now in my last post I showed you lovely lot our beautiful invitations (does that sound a bit big-headed? Oops! Sorry!) and what made them quite so lovely was the stunning illustrations that the delightful Maddie Joyce produced for us! Maddie is one of my ex A level students, who is just SOOO talented. So when I needed some drawings for my invites I knew exactly who to ask. However Maddie has skedaddled off to America to continue her studies! So she very kindly sent me these beauty’s all the way from the states. SO THANK YOU MADDIE!

So, here’s some other thank you’s! My lovely Granddads’ wife Margaret is an absolute star, when I went to university Granddad and Margaret let me live with them in their lovely/beautiful/amazing town house in Birmingham (Charlotte and Adam it was in Edgbaston on the Bearwood borders! And yes when I visit I get a rather good Brummy accent going! Oh and I LOVED living in B’ham!) and basically looked after me! Even doing all my washing! Now they live down south and are just round the corner. Margaret’s a wiz on the sewing machine; she made about 50 of the most amazing cushions for my sister’s August garden wedding. So when I needed some sashs/belts for the maids and myself, I turned to Margaret. She has out done herself. BUT keeps asking if they are ok! YES THEY RUDDY ARE! THEY’RE AMAZING! But you lovely lot will have to wait for the wedding report to see them!

Dress drama has been the department of my AMAZING Mother-in-law to-be: Mary! My dress needed to be shortened and adjusted in a few areas so I turned to Mary who fixes clothes for a living. (I know, jammy right!) Mary suggested we took it to her friend who has fixed many a wedding dress and prom dress before. As Mary has not worked with boning etc.. before. So this was fine, but unfortunately Mary’s friend has let her down. She took a lot longer than she said and then went on holiday last week for two weeks without letting us know, or finishing the dress! So Mary got to action – located her son and went around with the key and rescued the dress and finished it herself and she has done a fabulous job! She also amazingly made THE CUTEST flower girl dress out of a spare adult dress! And it looks AMAZING! And whilst I’m on the subject of Mary I would just like to state for the record what a truly FABULOUS mother-in-law to-be she is! I seriously couldn’t have asked for anyone better. She has made NO demands on our big day and has helped us out SO much. I am SO grateful that I have her and Chris (father-in-law to-be) in my life. They are SO special to me and I truly LOVE them!

I have also had a group DIY evening! Which went really well, but actually takes a lot of organising and prep! We were decorating the letters for our table names:

I bought that giant length of polystyrene for B&Q for £8. Yes we got 91 letters for £8. Not bad me thinks. Although I did buy about £10 worth of tissue paper, glue and paint brushes.

So, that weird 70’s looking machine is a hot wire cutter thingy. It was Darren’s Dad’s and is now ours. As you might expect it heats up and then just glides through the polystyrene, it takes a while to get used to and you have to just go for it, or you end up with big holes. Once I’d cut them out the girls got on to the surprisingly hard task of covering them in different coloured tissue paper. This was WAY fiddlier than imagined and therefore we didn’t finish them all.

Darren is now faced with that task, as I HATE doing it! I’ve figured out that I don’t enjoy dirty DIY. I like clean tasks like cutting, sewing, designing, printing BUT NOT gluing tissue paper!

Darren has made these AMAZEBALLS stands for them out of some stair spindles he got off his building site at work!


last post… Entertaining the guests at the tables. I have designed and made activity books for them. Taking advice from you lovely lot by looking online and creating a word-search to include!

So What Next…

Well, my hen party is next weekend. 9 lovely ladies and myself shall be heading to Bristol, we shall be meeting up with Julie Roberts to make some knickers! Hopefully just as lovely as this pair she prepared earlier.

We will then be heading off to the Rock ‘n’ Bowl Hostel where we will all be sharing a dorm room! Which I think will be great fun! We shall get glammed up, with a theme of black and sparkles! And head downstairs to The Lanes an American style bowling alley/pizzeria/cheesy disco! They also do alcoholic Milkshakes! Plus we get 20% of the food because we’re staying in the Rock ‘n’ Bowl! Can you tell I am excited by this – and I don’t even drink!

Right, now I’m going to pass over to the boy so he can tell you about boy stuff:


Darren: D-I-WHY?! Because I gotta! (oh I really really gotta)

We’re just under two weeks to the big day and here I am, Mr. DIY Bridegroom gleefully ticking off the job list.

The room I’m sat in (much like the rest of my house) looks like the contents of wedding shop run jointly by Fred Dibnah and Kirstie Allsop. Bits of a staircase are repurposed as part of table names and wobbling stacks of naked polystyrene letters wait for their papier-mâché on the coffee table. My classic car, which only recently got settled in its garage, has been relegated to the drive under a cover while the garage has turned into joinery shop.

Machines that I last saw at secondary school (a scroll saw with the bit that puffs the dust away) are lined up next to other machines that I never thought I’d need (or find an excuse to get my mitts on).

Since getting engaged, my business branched out and we started a building firm – so my business partner builds the things I design. As well as having a genuine excuse to get a Screw Fix account, most of our power tools had to be upgraded so I’ve become the keeper of some awesome kit, just as well with imaginations like ours I guess.

Shame one of them wasn’t an industrial sewing machine (see Amanda’s last post!)

These windows came out of a building we’re working on. The legs etc are just 2×2 timbers with a nice routed edge, put together by business partner/brother-from-another-mother Phill. The seating plans are the same timber etc. both are painted in simple white undercoat, which is matt finish and dead cheap. We’re keeping the windows themselves rough, as found – although they will get a clean.

This is our Tash-Station, upon which the big tash goes. Phill built the frame and Amanda fitted the cloth which was a £3.49 charity shop duvet cover. The sides are made to fold in and the top flaps down, all held closed by two dowels that also hold it open – they have the chrome washers on top – so that it’s all easy to transport. The Tash and signs also have LEDs round the edge to add some PAZAZ.

This is our photo booth in production, I couldn’t get it together to get a decent picture outside but I expect you’ll see it soon enough in the venue. The ply sheets cost about £15 and the hardware (hinges, nuts & bolts, aluminium angle etc around £30. It’s all covered in pages from some charity shop books that totalled about £3 and they are cut up and pasted on with PVA. The books were just trashy old biographies and one called ‘Medical Mishaps’, the latter offering some interesting reading to people using the booth!

The picture frames again came from charity shops (about £10 for the lot) and we removed the pictures before painting them (primer and top coat sprays £20). Three will be fixed over the openings for guests to pose in, while the others will get their pictures replaced and will be hung on the rest of it.

I thought it would be great to try and pass on some sage advice as well. If you’d like any info or advice on the DIY side though, feel free to get in touch. I’ve posted a video compilation of all the time-lapse videos at the end for fun, so here goes wisdom…

Safety

Man alive, it’s very easy to pick up nics and bruises and you’d look pretty daft missing your ring finger! If you’re doing lumpy stuff like us, a good pair of goggles is a must. Good comfortable ones aren’t THAT expensive and contrary to popular belief your normal spectacles won’t do much to a flying nail – true story, chop saw Vs. hidden nail in one of those bits of staircase.

Ear defenders and snug safety gloves have been part of my wardrobe too.

Simplify

Time can be tight, but you can still do something audacious if you work it out cleverly. We cut our own ‘vintage’ style paper out of foolscap files from Staples (pennies!) and the ‘Save the date’ cards were index cards’ again from staples.

Measure Twice, Cut/Paint/Stick Once

We made extras of all the invites so that we could ruin a few and not be in trouble. We allowed 10 extra spares for every 50 guests. When making the big stuff I spent a long time measuring and working out how things would go together and it was tempting to rush but the result was well worth it.

Planning

We’ve both got lots of notebooks and we keep them in coat pockets, handbags and briefcases. I really believe that making notes and planning your activities will set you free to enjoy it all.

You’ve got to make a plan and stick to it though, so you know when a job has been jobbed and you move onto the next – don’t get stuck on one thing!

Time

Where’s it all gone? Nothing in your wedding is so important that you can’t make time for each other. We’ve tried to have nights off as often as possible, but also do lots of the craft stuff together.

Having said all this, we didn’t do all of it all the time and it is really hard to balance up life and work. What’s my best advice?… Underneath all the seating plan politics, late night envelope stuffing and über stress are two people telling a room full of friends and family showing how much they love each other.

And you CAN do that without complimentary pastille shades.

So it’s goodbye from me until after the big day. If you want to see some more of my makings, have a butchers here at my blog Kentatron

Amanda: I’m back:

And finally here is a list of DIY I didn’t have the space or time to tell you about or we haven’t quite finished yet…

  • A standard lamp made from stair spindles
  • A customised folder for comments cards
  • Decorated jam jars
  • Present wrapping
  • Gin & Tonic 1st drink jam jars
  • Photobooth props
  • Pie/Cookie presentation table
  • Tree trunk cake stands with bell jar lids!
  • A MASSIVE flower thingy for my hair
  • Signs with lights!
  • Comments cards instead of guest book

So lovely RMW readers and RMW team lastly a MASSIVE THANK YOU to you all!!!! It has really added that extra gloss to the wedding debarkle being able to share it all with you! It has also been really really helpful to have a set of deadlines to get stuff done by! I think I would be way behind by now if I didn’t have to share what I’d been up to every six weeks!

BIG see – you – on – other – side – of – marriage LOVE

Amanda

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

15 thoughts on “What Amanda (And Darren) Did… The Final Chapter.

  1. Amanda I would really like to borrow you to DIY my wedding please!!!! An amazing amount of work has gone into this, can’t wait to see it all on the day X

  2. Can I just say that the giant moustache is genius.

    If I was going to your wedding Amanda I would be tempted to make a dash for it and nick it off the top of the ‘tache booth and try and wear it.

    This is why I don’t get invited to many weddings.

  3. Oh-em-actual-gee! The DIY King & Queen – looks like such a lot of work but lots of fun and it all looks incredible! The giant ‘tache is probably one of my favourite thing ever – I’d be with Adam trying to wear it though!
    Can’t wait to see the wedding, wishing you both all the very best for an amazing day!
    xx

  4. This is totally one of the most DIY-ed weddings I have ever seen! Hats off to you both for doing so much yourselves!

    I must admit.. I might be borrowing the idea of the polystyrene letters – I love the papermache ones I’ve seen in Hobbycraft etc, but this seems like a much more cost effective solution!

    All the best for an amazing wedding day, I can’t wait to see the write up!!

    x

  5. Champness & Kent, you legends! You need to set up another company guys, making amazing things for amazing weddings!

    MrA would like a ‘tache booth for the next time he does Movember with the chaps from school – absolutely awesome!

    I cannot WAIT to see the pictures of your big day, although I’m sad that this is your last pre-wedding post 🙁 I will miss your time-lapse videos!

    So much luck for the next 14 days. And, of course, heaps of love for W-day and beyond.

    Jo xx

  6. Lol I love reading your blogs. They put such a smile on my face. Also have a massive DIY list, so the tips areucj appreciated. Keeps the info coming. Have a fan hen do x

  7. AMAZING!! words can’t describe how envious I am of your wedding workshop garage! What wonderful things you have made!! Very excited to see the wedding photos xx

  8. Amazing!!! Reminds me of my hubby’s fantastic DIY skills that became evident during wedding prep! Good luck for the big day – have fun, can’t wait to see the pics!

  9. Woah Champness, this stuff is A (in capital letters) MAZING! I will miss your inspiring posts I must say. 16 DAYS, that is gonna fly by.

    I so wish I was a guest at this wedding, already it looks heartfelt and personal and it aint even started!

    I love your video lapses, I just wish Darren would forget it was there and you could capture him picking his nose or something haha!

    Big big love and luck to you both. 2 weeks Saturday! xxxxx

  10. Big high 5! all your hard work looks like it will most definitely pay off on your big day. I have done alot of DIY for our wedding day……3 months to go…eeek! better get back to taking the labels of the jam jars! can’t wait to see photo’s of the big day!

  11. Why thank you very much ladies and gents!!!

    @Claire I can’t wait either, and yes I will most probably be hiring most of these things out after the big day, so you may well be able to ‘borrow me!’

    @Adam when Darren said he wanted to make it into a giant tash I was a little concerned! But it does look rather good now! And just wait until you see it all lit up!!! Oh and then there’s what we’ll be serving up from it!!!! By the sounds of it… you’d be loving it!!!

    @Ruthie_Ruth Darren is loving being called the DIY King!!! Glad you like the tash SO much!

    @Julia go for it on the polystyrene front! Darren’s sitting next to me as we speak tissue papering some more of them! It defiantly is WAY more cost effective!

    @Charlotte, yeap your right 16 days!!! And still A LOT more DIY to do!

    @Jo maybe we could sort something out for MrA! I’m a bit sad too! But I think Darren will be keeping the time-lapses up!

    @LisaB and Sarah I’d defiantly hire it to you!!!

    @Karissa Thanks! I’d glad you enjoy them! I will indeed have a fab hen do!

    @Samantha that garage has defiantly been a MASSIVE help! Darren’s enjoyed it SO much that he’s decided that the cars not going back in there!

    @MrsE-finally it’s good having a handy hubby isn’t it!!!

    @Kelly thank you lady! Darren thinks your idea is very funny! But I’m pretty sure in my previous post you can see him pinching my bum in one of the shots!

    @Lynsey R High five right back at ya! Keep going with those jam jars, it’s all worth it in the end!

    Oh and @Charlotte, Jo, yes I’m thinking a business just might be a viable idea?!?!?! I certainly can’t deney that it’s crossed my mind! Darren and I have been talking legalistic’s of that this evening. To be honest I’ve always known that at some point I’d like to set up my own business and this would certainly be something I’d think of doing!

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