I’m sure that by now some of you will have realised that almost two months have passed since I last posted on the blog. I’m pretty sure this is the longest ever stretch that the blog has gone without a feature, which makes me heart a little sad. I do hope that you’ve not all lost hope in me and continue to find inspiration among the blog archive and directory pages.
Without going into a huge long account, it felt right to share a little of where I’ve been this past few months, if not this past year, since my little girl was born. Jumping right back into regular blog posts without some note would have felt a little strange.
A month ago my sweet Ottilie turned one – I can’t quite work out if the past year has gone in the blink of an eye or seemed like forever (a feeling shared by many first-time parents I imagine). What I do know, is that it’s been bloody hard! It’s been the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced, one that will undoubtedly continue for the rest of my life now that I’m a mama.
Whilst Ottilie is my first ‘real’ baby, my business – The Natural Wedding Company – was my first baby of another kind. As I’m discovering with many things in parenting, I thought I had an idea of how I would make things work once my baby burst into my physical world…well it turns out you can’t really plan or imagine any version of how your life will be with a baby.
I have found becoming a mother really challenging in so many ways and I have at various times cried buckets of tears at the ‘loss’ of my former life, most especially in relation to the 24/7 freedom I had to run The Natural Wedding Company. For numerous reasons I won’t bore you all with, about 6 months in I realised that I was (and had been from the start) suffering from post natal depression.
I have felt so overwhelmed and so frustrated and so sad and so in love and so awed and so (positively) changed by this small person and the last year of my life. Having to concede that my business had to come second (in light of all of the above) has been excruciatingly difficult, and my familiar friend doubt has been ever on my shoulder.
And so here I am, for what feels like the first time in an age, writing a blog post and reaching out to reconnect with long-time readers and TNWC businesses, to connect with new readers and businesses (hello!), and to start building back up the wonderful relationships that I had worked so hard to build over the past years.
I hope you haven’t all disappeared or lost faith in me, I have missed you all so much.
Love Charlie x
For our 2014 TNWC Real Brides we have just Kerry and Nick left to get married in August – I can barely believe it, this year has gone so fast! Kerry is sharing the details of what became a hen-a-thon with four hen parties (including a hen and stag do at Glastonbury Festival).
Over to Kerry to tell you more…
Nick and I originally said we weren’t going to have hen and stag do’s. The very idea of such an event is to “celebrate” your last night of freedom prior to becoming man and wife; however we’ve been together for 15 years and didn’t see the need, so we opted for Glastonbury Festival instead.
However, my bestmate and bridesmaid Raz had other ideas. She convinced me I needed something a bit more hen-like. So I gave her a date and a list of names and off she went, organising a surprise extravaganza! I was instructed to make my way to Covent Garden for lunch at Dishoom a fantastic Bombay café, which was followed by a Michael Jackson dance lesson at Pineapple Dance Studio.
The lovely Miriam and John are getting married this coming Saturday! So excited for them both and fingers-crossed this incredible British weather hangs around for them.
So over to Miriam for her last pre-wedding blog post…
DIY weddings stitch by stitch
One of my favourite things about The Natural Wedding Company blog is that there are so many beautiful homemade creations from other brides for your wedding and beyond. With our wedding looming very close I am starting to realise how much I will miss all the planning, researching and creating that has occupied most of my brain-space for the last 18 months. Having this creative outlet in my otherwise very science-oriented life has been wonderful, and I will surely miss it – but luckily I will have John and our new married home to carry on the next creative adventure!
Like many brides, physically creating aspects of our Big Day and researching novel ideas has hugely spurred on the crescendo of excitement towards the day, so I thought it would be good to share some of the homemade or personally designed aspects that are not too difficult to incorporate into a wedding to ensure that intimate feel for your guests.
Personal by design
There are some fantastic suppliers out there who will go the extra mile to create something handmade and personal for your wedding, without stretching yourself too far trying to do absolutely everything by yourself (as I am prone to attempting!). I was very lucky to find Noolibird via The Natural Wedding Company, who crafted this beautiful personalised stamp that we used to make our save-the-date cards, and might use somewhere in our home post-honeymoon decorating.
One of last year’s TNWC Real Brides, Nik, made these brilliant hot chocolate wedding favours for her wedding. She customised mugs and had these beautiful vintage teaspoons stamped with a message for each of her guests.
On the evening of their wedding guests were able to fill their mugs with hot milk and stir in a wooden spoon coated in chocolate. What a neat idea and a great way to have wedding favours that really get used as opposed to just taken home and forgotten about.
For an autumn or winter wedding in particular (but lets face it, hot chocolate is great at any time of the year!) I think the idea of hot chocolate wedding favours couldn’t be any more perfect. Here you have two options – hot chocolate spoons or jam jars of hot cocoa mix.
When I came across this beautiful cake I fell in love and knew that it was one to share on the blog. I love the frothy delicate flowers and the way the icing glaze, drizzled over the sides, has a carefree pattern and I would imagine the taste to be very light and refreshing.
Create a cake table
Whenever I see pictures of bundt cakes, the fluted sides remind me of jelly moulds, and I can envisage a cake table at a wedding with this as the centre piece and mini bundt cakes dotted about amongst upturned glass and metal jelly moulds. You could even use the elderflower foliage to create a natural runner for long trestle tables and serve homemade cordial or sorbet as part of your menu.
Elderflower is delicious and decorative. In the UK, it grows wild in the hedgerows during early summer but the season is short-lived – in fact just a few weeks long, usually from the end of May to mid- June. If you love this style of cake but your wedding falls during a different month, you could easily dream up other flavours by choosing another seasonal edible such as lavender or forest fruits for example.
Today the lovely Emma from TNWC business Freckle Photography shares her wisdom on engagement shoots. Personally I think they’re the perfect opportunity to embrace the things you love to do together and take a moment out from the craziness of wedding planning.
I’m sure these beautiful images featuring beekeepers, vintage railway lovers and camping couples will inspire you to plan something beautiful, fun and memorable to capture the essence of you as a couple.
Over to Emma…
Whilst planning my own wedding last year, I suddenly realised that the thought of being photographed all day terrified me! Not just because I spent my life behind the lens, but because I’m a normal girl with all the usual insecurities about my wobbly bits and the way my face scrunches up a bit too much when I’m really happy.
As for the boys, the idea of being obviously affectionate in ‘public’ and then being photographed can be equally as alarming.
What is an engagement shoot and why have one?
I’m sure this is a fairly normal reaction when planning a wedding, which is why I offer a photo shoot prior to the wedding. Sometimes called an ‘engagement shoot’ or a ‘pre-wedding shoot’, the aim is for you and your photographer to get to know one another, dispel any myths about having your photo taken and get some awesome and fun images in the process.
Despite it being a bit daunting at first, I can tell you within minutes you will be enjoying yourselves. It’s a great excuse to have a bit of time out together, kiss more than you have all week and generally lark about!
It’s been a little quiet on the blog the past couple of weeks as I’ve been away on holiday with my little family to France.
We’re getting stuck back in with a lovely bee related blog post from TNWC Real Bride Miriam – it’s so great to hear how Miriam and John are incorporating meaningful elements into their that have such importance to the both of them.
Over to Miriam to tell you more…
Bee Happy – Love is Sweet
The natural world is very important to both John and I, and we hope to capture the magic of the great outdoors for our wedding guests. This concept fits in perfectly with our wish for an eco wedding and a 1920s style, when overflowing bouquets of locally grown flowers were abundant, as discussed in my last blog post.
We have tried our best to sneak beautiful British nature into every aspect of our Big Day, with heady scents and dazzling colour enveloping our guests and transporting them to our own idea of paradise.
Our first exciting wedding job was to create our “Save the date” cards, inspired by Charlie’s now infamous design that inspired the tie-the-knot version. In the place of brown card we used beautiful seeded paper by Wildflower Favours. This not only looks and feels beautiful with a gorgeous weighty quality, but planted in some damp soil allows our guests to grow some of their very own beautiful wild flowers.