Honey and lavender birthday cake

It is with great pleasure that I get to share with you the photographs from The Natural Wedding Company’s 5th birthday party that took place recently.  I’m not really sure where to start, so I’m just going to dive in and hope it all makes sense!

Spring lunch party

March saw the website’s 5th anniversary of when I first launched it, so I knew a few celebrations were in order.  As well as lots of exclusive offers and competitions on the blog, most excitingly, a party was dreamt up.

Hand-painted wedding favours

I wanted a party with a group of likeminded girls, some recently married, others still planning their wedding, so I opened up the invites to my wonderful readers.  My guests were chosen, invitations sent out, and on Sunday 15th April, my husband and I welcomed 11 of my lovely readers into my home for, what I hoped would be a fun afternoon of crafts, cake and wedding chatter.

The Natural Wedding Company spring party

It couldn’t have been made possible without a few key people, who I want to say a huge thank you to before I wade into all the pretty details – so a massive thank you to A Alicia Handmade, The Silver Apples, Blossom, Eat My Flowers, and Mark Tattersall .  Without these fabulous businesses, my party wouldn’t have come together and been such a success.

Hawthorn and blackthorn blossom

So onto the party!

My guests started to arrive from about 12pm, a great mixture of brides-to-be, those of us who have recently got married, and Jen who’d got married the Friday before the party!  I couldn’t believe that these 11 girls would be travelling from all around the country to spend the afternoon with me, I was so anxious that the afternoon would live up to their expectations.

Spring party lunch

The Natural Wedding Company party

From the chatter that ensured for the next 5 hours I’m hopeful it’s a sign that everyone enjoyed themselves.  We started with glasses of old fashioned lemonade complete with stripey paper straws that I’d adorned with flags.

Paper straws with handmade flags

I used my trusty roll of brown framers tape (that is gummed on one side), which I cut into strips before folding them round the straws.  I used my mini alphabet stamp set to print the words ‘hip hooray’ on each one before snipping the ends to look like a flag.

Glasses of lemonade with stripey paper straws

My house was full of beautiful blooms that were a gift from my lovely friend and colleague Becky at Blossom in Manchester.  I picked up a bucket full of purple anemones, pink tulips, white stocks, dusty pink ranunculus and some gorgeous sprays of blossom.

Enamel jug of spring flowers

Pink and purple spring flowers

My lovely friend Caroline, who was one of my guests, turned up early on Sunday morning and helped me arrange of the flowers in a random assortment of my earthenware pots and old milk bottles.

Old milk bottle filled with flowers

I also foraged in the local hedgerows the evening before and supplemented the flowers with hawthorn, blackthorn blossom, white dead nettles, and another pretty white flower that I don’t know what it is.

Earthenware vase with hedgerow flowers

A party isn’t really a party without bunting, and I’d had an idea to create a mini paper bunting.  So I stayed up late Saturday night to actually make this idea I had in my head.  I bought two different wrapping papers – one colourful floral paper and the other more subtle with geometric patterns – which I folded into strips and then cut out into rough squares.

handmade paper flag bunting

Using double-sided sticky tape, I folded and stuck the wrapping paper flags around some turquoise yarn, alternating the different papers.  I chose the yarn because I wanted something that would hang nicely even with the very light paper flags and it worked brilliantly.  This we then strung all round the room.

Spring party

The fantastic Sarah and Kate of The Silver Apples created a delicious spread for our lunch and set it up on their beautiful vintage crockery.

Blackboard sign

There were salads and tarts, roasted baby potatoes, cheeses, and bread wrapped in brown paper.  I used some of the brown paper flags left over from our wedding to label them up – I couldn’t have imagined a prettier spread of food.

Lunch from The Silver Apples

We all sat down at long wooden trestle tables with a hessian table runner – another leftover from our wedding.

Wooden trestle table lunch

After we finished lunch, the lovely Anna of A Alicia Handmade, who had travelled all the way up to Manchester from London, ran one of her hen party craft workshops with us.

Charlie TNWC and Anna A Alicia Handmade
That’s me and Anna outside my house

The week before Anna had been busy making clay decorations – hearts and stars – which we then painted in pretty patterns after some guidance from Anna.

Anna of A Alicia Handmade

Hand-painted decorations

We started out testing our painting skills on paper, following some designs supplied by Anna, and there was much giggling when those of us less able with a paint brush went wrong.  Those of us down one end of the table decided that the girls at the other end had all the artistic talent as some of their designs were exquisite!

Hand-painted wedding favour workshop

Painting clay decorations
That’s me!

Painting clay decorations

Whilst we painted there was a lot of nattering about weddings and the stresses that come with them.  It was lovely to share experiences of family dramas, stubborn in-laws, and the hours spent crafting for our weddings.

A Alicia Handmade hen party workshop

A Alicia Handmade hen party workshop

I had always wanted to have a mixture of brides-to-be and wives as I thought it would be lovely to bring likeminded people together and share our experiences.  I would so love to organise another party like this again in the future as the swapping of ideas and experiences seemed to go down so well.

The Natural Wedding Company party

Hand-painted Scandinavian wedding favour workshop

And here’s all of us with some of our finished creations!

The Natural Wedding Company party
Claire, Kirsty, Claire, Karen, Sarah, Hatty, Jen, Caroline, me, Anna, Faye & Lydia

Once we’d finished painting, we enjoyed dainty teacups of hot chocolate topped with cream and marshmallows, made by my lovely (and patient!) husband.  We used my favourite Montezuma’s Dark Hot Chocolate, which if you’ve never had and love hot chocolate you must try.  It’s so delicious!

Hot chocolate in teacups

The party was finished off with an utterly scumptious Honey and Lavender birthday cake baked by The Silver Apples girls.  Sarah and Kate had also decorated the cake for me using the items I’d collected especially for it – it was inspired by this cake.

Spring birthday cake with flags and edible flowers

The cake was adorned with dainty edible flowers that were posted to me as a gift from the fab Sarah of Eat My Flowers – they arrived carefully packaged between layers of soft cotton to protect them, and included violets, primroses and cowslips.  The pale beeswax candles came from Little Cherry, a new business about to join the directory, and the flags I made myself from wooden skewers and ribbon.

Spring birthday cake with edible flowers

Honey and lavender cake with edible flowers and flags

We lit the candles, I said a HUGE thank you to everyone who’d come, and then we munched on cake and chattered some more.  There was only one thing left to do before everyone started their journeys home, which was to take a group shot outside my house as a lovely reminded of the girls I got to celebrate where I’ve got to with my little business.

The Natural Wedding Company birthday party

Everyone headed home with a pretty brown paper parcel of Cinder Toffee Brownies (SO good!) made and gifted by The Silver Apples girls.  It seems a number of us shared them with our lucky husbands – what were we thinking?!

Cinder toffee brownie party favours

I will never, ever forget this day.  It was lovelier than I could have ever dreamt, and I was just so overwhelmed by the support from my businesses and the fab group of girls who travelled by car and train to join me in my celebration.  I hope that they are no longer just my ‘readers’, but instead friends, and I can’t wait to see some of the photos from their lovely up-coming weddings.

The Natural Wedding Company

Hand-painted wedding favour hen party

My kind neighbours must also be briefly mentioned, as they helped us with less glamorous elements of the party, like storing our sofas in their garage to make room for the long trestle tables, and helping us collect 12 chairs to seat everyone.  It’s time’s like this when you realise what lovely people you have around you.

The Natural Wedding Company spring party

A Alicia craft hen party workshop

The final thank you has to go to my long-suffering husband, Mr Rigg.  He was outstanding on the day and in the lead-up with everything we had to do to get our little house ready for the party.  We stayed up late together building cupboards and painting walls, and we had a marital dispute on Sunday morning over whether seriously knotted paper bunting could be rescued.

The Natural Wedding Company birthday party

Brownie favours wrapped in brown paper

Through it all he’s supported me in this dream to create this website, he’s listened to an infinite amount of hours of wedding chatter, and put up with 12 giggly girls on a Sunday afternoon.  Thank you Mr Rigg!

All images taken by Mark Tattersall for The Natural Wedding Company – if you’d like to share them please make sure you credit them properly.

{ Party Details }

Photography: Mark Tattersall
Catering & Cake: 
The Silver Apples
Craft Workshop: 
A Alicia Handmade
Edible Flowers: 
Eat My Flowers
Beeswax Birthday Candles: 
Little Cherry
Cake Flags:
Made by The Natural Wedding Company
Brownie Favours: 
The Silver Apples
Paper Bunting: 
Made by The Natural Wedding Company
Vintage Crockery: 
The Silver Apples 


Claire on 23. April, 2012

Thanks for a lovely day Charlie (and Mr Rigg)! Delicious food, fab company and wedding chit chat- perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon! I think you should put on a party EVERY year 🙂 !! xx

CharlieB on 23. April, 2012

Claire it was SO lovely to have you join us to celebrate and thanks for your lovely message 🙂 Maybe I shall have to consider a party every year – although I might have to consult Mr Rigg first…he might be less enthused! xXx

Jay Archer on 23. April, 2012

OMG!! Tis lookls AMAZING! Really well done on what looks like a fab party and on your 5 year anniversary! Fantastic!! xxx

CharlieB on 23. April, 2012

Thanks Jay 🙂 It was so much fun and I can’t believe I reached 5 and that I got to celebrate in such a lovely way! xXx

Karen .. Darby and Joan on 23. April, 2012

Aaah, it all looks gorgeous. Obvious from the photos that you all had a great time. Happy 5th birthday! You should be really proud of what you have achieved, I love your website and everything you stand for. I hope to make it to my 5th birthday! Karen. Xx

CharlieB on 23. April, 2012

Thanks Karen 🙂 It was a great day and so nice to meet some of the lovely TNWC readers. I’m so lucky to get to work with such fab businesses as well xXx

Annabel - Love My Dress Wedding Blog on 23. April, 2012

Oh this is so lovely! What a lovely think to do! Looks like you had a really super time and as usual Mark has taken some really wonderful photographs xXx

CharlieB on 23. April, 2012

Thanks Annabel, it was a super time and aren’t Mark’s photos so beautiful 🙂

KarenD on 23. April, 2012

Such lovely photos of a really great day. Everything was perfect, lovely company, food, cake and crafting.
So happy I was part of it all. congratulations on your 5th year! K xxx

CharlieB on 23. April, 2012

I was so delighted you could come Karen and I’m really pleased to hear you had a nice day x

Rosie on 23. April, 2012

Looks fabulous! I think you should have another one too, i missed out on this one – because of a wedding!!

CharlieB on 23. April, 2012

I hope the wedding was lovely and I shall definitely think about having another one – there are loads of other TNWC readers I’d love to meet, the whole idea seemed to work really well x

Jenny on 23. April, 2012

It all looks beautiful! I love the earthenware jugs and milk bottles. I’m so glad you all had a lovely time! xx

Sarah Hards on 23. April, 2012

I love this post – a great reminder of a brilliant day! Thanks so much for inviting me to the party, and I think you should definitely do it every year 🙂

Sam on 25. April, 2012

Wow this looks like my perfect sunday, how beautiful did those little tea cups of hot chocolate look, I am drooling at the thought!! Congratulations on 5 years of natural service I am a relative newcomer to the site and wish I had found it 5 years ago, lol. I am really looking forward to following the stories of some of the brides to be and seeing how their big days turn out.

Jenny on 27. April, 2012

This was such a lovely day, I’m honoured I got to be a part of it, it was such a relaxed afternoon, I’m really pleased with my crafts and the lavendar cake was delicious. The photos are fab and really capture the mood of the afternoon. X

Rebecca on 30. April, 2012

Hi Charlie,
Love, love, love your wedding photos – they have proved such an inspiration to me in crafting our own outdoor Cotswold wedding for July this year. Anyway, the pretty white flowers you are unsure of are Greater Stitchwort Stellaria holostea – they are indicators of ancient woodland and hedgerows in some parts of the country – and so pretty!

CharlieB on 30. April, 2012

Lovely to hear from you Rebecca, thanks for letting me know what the white flowers are – my mom who knows that sort of stuff too thought that’s what they were 🙂 So dainty and delicate they were. I am very envious that you are planning your Cotswold wedding for this year, I wish I could do it all again! I’m so pleased to hear our wedding has been an inspiration to you, do stay in touch would love to hear how yours goes xXx

Alexandra on 1. May, 2012

This looks like the sweetest of afternoons! Such an inspiration!
PS: I would even fly to London for this, Charlie! 😉

CharlieB on 2. May, 2012

Hi Alexandra, thanks for your lovely message, I’m so pleased you liked what I did 🙂 Just had a look at your blog – it looks lovely and I think I will definitely be checking back xXx

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