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Ethical wedding jewellery made with soul from Shakti Ellenwood // The Natural Wedding Company

Today we have the next instalment in our Meet the Maker series – getting to know more about the face behind Shakti Ellenwood the creator of ethical wedding jewellery made with soul.

Shakti is one of the incredible ethical wedding jewellery designers from our directory. She specialises in exquisite fair trade wedding and engagement rings with proper heart and soul. Based in her studio in Somerset, all of her jewellery is handcrafted and receives a special ‘blessing’. She is truly passionate about her craft and her route to designing jewellery is truly a fascinating one.

Intrigued now? Well we asked her some questions for you so you can find out more…

Ethical wedding jewellery rich in ritual and romance

Ethical wedding jewellery made with soul from Shakti Ellenwood // The Natural Wedding Company

Hi Shakti, welcome to the Meet the Maker series thank you for taking part. We’d love to know the back story behind your business, how did it start out?

Well, it all began back in India in 1994. I was living between Japan, Thailand and India and during a visit to Pune I became very sick with a high fever. I was living in the infamous ‘White House’ guest house and a concerned fellow traveller and resident, Asi, took me in and kept watch over me. He was a jeweller and sat at a small work bench, on the floor, hammering, soldering and sawing.

I became captivated by the intricacy of the work and the beauty of the high karat gold and gemstones he worked with. When I had recovered, he presented me with the most beautiful gold and turquoise ring…I was hooked! I knew with all certainty that this was what I was meant to be doing.

From there I followed a boyfriend to San Francisco and by an act of serendipity I got a job at The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, where I trained in the Graduate Jeweller program over the next five years. Later training with 5th Generation Armenian Master Goldsmith, Hratch Nargizian, a man of extraordinary skill and talent, who remains my mentor to this day.

Ethical wedding jewellery made with soul from Shakti Ellenwood // The Natural Wedding Company

Such a wonderful fascinating story! The story isn’t the only thing fascinating about your business, you describe your rings as being “rich in ritual and romance”, could you tell us more about this and what that means to you?

I sat with the Huni Quin tribe, who live in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. They instilled in me the importance of ritual in all that you do. How all things must be created with a conscious awareness and with respect to the materials you are using, where they have come from and where they are going. To the Huni Quin all of life is prayer whether they are hunting, cooking or singing. I have described in more depth the details of how this is incorporated into my work in the question on ‘little gold prayers’.

Every ring is rich in romance from the inside out, a symbol of love a commitment. This romance is created by the ancient love songs I sing as I work, by the artisanal aspect of how they are made, the prayers bestowed upon them and ultimately to the dignity given to the miners who pull this precious metal out of the earth. Visually, this romance can be see through the delicacy of the work, the ‘secret’ hearts which are carved into the back of the engagement rings, the star settings and the milligrain edging often seen in my jewellery.

Ethical wedding jewellery made with soul from Shakti Ellenwood // The Natural Wedding Company

Ethical wedding jewellery made with soul from Shakti Ellenwood // The Natural Wedding Company

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Floristry on the Wild side Workshop with The Real Cut Flower Garden // Liz Baker Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

I think it’s always wonderful to go ‘behind the scenes’ and find out more about the brilliant independent wedding businesses from our directory. Today we get the opportunity to get to know the ever so talented Charlie Ryrie of  The Real Cut Flower Garden.

Charlie, in our eyes, is one of the original champions of British grown flowers for weddings, and we have always admired the magic she creates with her seasonal country garden grown flowers. As well as creating wedding flowers, Charlie runs creative floral workshops to share her expertise. Hosted in a wonderful old barn at New House Farm and artisan studios in Broadoak near Bridport in West Dorset. Today’s ‘Day in the Life’ feature showcases her`Floristry on the Wild side’ workshop.

The workshop was beautifully captured by Liz Baker photography, who specialises in luxury wedding photography, brand editorials, and feminine portraiture. To provide the accompanying words with the lovely images we will hand you over to Charlie herself to tell you a bit more about the workshops and the story behind her business…

Floristry on the Wild side Workshop with The Real Cut Flower Garden // Liz Baker Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Floristry on the Wild side Workshop with The Real Cut Flower Garden // Liz Baker Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Floristry on the Wild side Workshop with The Real Cut Flower Garden // Liz Baker Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Floristry on the Wild side Workshop with The Real Cut Flower Garden // Liz Baker Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

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Goats milk and chamomile facial bar // Botanical wedding favours // The Natural Wedding Company

We’re back with our Meet the Maker series interviewing small business Oakwood Soaperie who create beautiful botanical wedding favours. When planning your wedding it’s easy to get caught up in check lists of what you need to buy, but we think it’s important to take a moment to get to know the people behind the businesses.

Today we are joined by Ceri from Oakwood Soaperie, a Northumberland based small business creating a beautiful range of botanical wedding favours. From luxurious soaps to bath salt shots, Ceri is dreaming up and creating some delightful sounding natural botanical wedding favours.

We wanted to find out more about what inspires her, how she got started, and the process of creating her range.

Beautiful botanical wedding favours for a natural wedding

Rose bath salt shots // Botanical wedding favours // The Natural Wedding Company

Hi Ceri, welcome to our Meet the Maker series. Tell us how you first dreamt up Oakwood Soaperie?

I have a background in art and design and after many years of non-creative jobs, I was hankering to get back to designing and making once more. I officially began Oakwood Soaperie in October 2010 after many, many months of researching, reading and formulating recipes while experimenting with natural ingredients and making some basic products.

I was working full time and fitting in building up to launch my business in my spare time. I began at my dining room table which I soon outgrew, and now have a beautiful, rural studio within a National Trust property near my home town where I can make everything and work on my business full time.

Homegrown flowers  // Botanical wedding favours // The Natural Wedding Company

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The new Minna wedding dress collection 2017 - ethical and affordable boho style wedding dresses for the natural bride

The 2017 wedding dress collection from Minna is full of modern dresses with hints of vintage and bohemian glamour. There is exquisite attention to detail, and lots of lace – but in an understated way. 2017 and 2018 brides will be truly spoilt by how much choice there is in this new collection, but it’s the stunning back detailing that really caught our attention. Almost every dress in this new collection has a unique and often surprising back to it.

Minna wedding dress collection 2017

As always, Minna has created a collection that is not only beautiful and with excellent ethics, but also affordable. The wedding dresses in the 2017 collection range in price from £800 to £1500. On top of this during March 2017 Minna is offering 10% off to all our brides-to-be, click the link for full details and to get your offer code.

Onto the wedding dresses, here are some of our favourites…

Boho wedding dress with lace panelling

The Estelle wedding dress has a real hipster boho vibe with modern lace panelling on the back and skirt. There’s one of those beautiful wedding dress backs that you don’t expect, but really add to the overall look and feel of the dress.

The new Minna wedding dress collection 2017 - ethical and affordable boho style wedding dresses for the natural bride

The new Minna wedding dress collection 2017 - ethical and affordable boho style wedding dresses for the natural bride

Edwardian-esque wedding dress with ribbon waist

For me the star beauty of the Charley wedding dress is it’s back and the detail that’s gone into it. This dress whilst modern in feel, sweeps me right back to days gone by with all that beautiful vintage-esque lace.

The new Minna wedding dress collection 2017 - ethical and affordable boho style wedding dresses for the natural bride

The new Minna wedding dress collection 2017 - ethical and affordable boho style wedding dresses for the natural bride

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Win your wedding photography with Bohemian Weddings // Bohemian Weddings // The Natural Wedding Company

We have a wonderful competition for you to win your wedding photography with our photographer friends Bohemian Weddings. This month – March 2017 – we are celebrating our 10th birthday, and are blown away to be able to offer this truly remarkable gift to one lucky couple.

Having spent a weekend with Michael and Andrea of Bohemian Weddings last spring, I can hand on heart tell you that they are some of the best people you’ll ever meet.

Take a look at their website and the weddings they’ve captured, read about them, and see if you feel a connection. If you feel that connection, you’re getting married in this year (2017) and you haven’t found your soulmate photographers yet, read on for how to enter.

Win your wedding photography with Bohemian Weddings // Bohemian Weddings // The Natural Wedding Company

Win your wedding photography

I shall hand you over to Michael and Andrea to introduce this truly special competition that they are offering to The Natural Wedding Company couples…

We are all about making meaningful connections full of love and life. We love capturing memories through our creativity but we are also suckers for a good story. You can often find us blubbing behind our cameras at a good speech.

The Natural Wedding Company has connected us with so many great couples it would be our pleasure to give something back. As part of The Natural Wedding Company’s 10th Birthday Celebrations we are offering free wedding photography for one lucky couple getting married in 2017.

Win your wedding photography with Bohemian Weddings // Bohemian Weddings // The Natural Wedding Company

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Exclusive wedding offers to celebrate The Natural Wedding Company's 10th Birthday

I truly can’t believe this time has come – March 2017, the month that I get to celebrate The Natural Wedding Company’s 10th Birthday with you all. And what a way I get to celebrate, with a month jam-packed with exclusive wedding offers from our fabulous suppliers just for you.

It doesn’t feel that long ago that I was just dreaming up the idea for the directory. I had little idea then that it would turn into a business that would become my ‘full time’ job. Just five years ago I was celebrating with a lovely group of girls in a spring party at my house. I’m even still really good friends with three of those girls – how amazing is that.

Here I am another five years on, and I’m delighted to share another month full of offers and goodies for you all.

Exclusive wedding offers

We’ve put together all these exclusive offers in this one handy blog post. I suggest you grab a cup of something warm and set aside some time to digest the wonderful offers we have. There are offers covering all areas of your wedding, from wedding photography to wedding venues, wedding flowers to wedding rings. And more!

You’ll also find all these offers on our main Offers webpage, just look out for the ‘special offer’ badge marking them out. These offers are time-limited and only available to claim during March 2017.

Exclusive wedding offers to celebrate The Natural Wedding Company's 10th Birthday

Win your wedding photography

For your diary – tomorrow morning we’ll be launching a very special birthday competition to win your wedding photography. This is such a wonderful offer coming from fabulous photography duo Bohemian Weddings. Full details will be on the blog tomorrow, and again, the end of March will be the closing date for entries.

Giveaway to win a box of personalised biscuits

If you fancy winning a scrumptious box of personalised biscuits for a friend or loved one, keep an eye out on our Instagram account. We’ll be hosting a giveaway with our friend The Kitsch Hen to win a box of 12 biscuits for someone you love.

Onto the offers…

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Our Top 10 Eco Valentine's Day Gift Guide featuring ethical British businesses // The Natural Wedding Company

Our 2017 Eco Valentine’s Day Gift Guide 

Samantha and I are sharing our favourite finds for a possible Eco Valentine’s Day gift for your loved one – women, men, and even a gift from your little ones. We’ve stuck to all UK based businesses and artisans, most of them small independent businesses. You’ll also find we’ve tried to include ideas across a span of costs, with only one true ‘blow the budget’ gift.

In putting together this guide we discovered that neither of us celebrate Valentine’s Day in a big way. I’m sure lots of people choose to celebrate their love and gratitude towards each other on a daily basis. But for those who are looking to give something special or just a token of their love, here are some ideas.

Personalised Valentine’s Biscuits

Personalised Valentine's Day biscuits // The Kitsch Hen // The Natural Wedding Company

The Kitsch Hen is run by a former TNWC Real Bride, Caroline (part one + part two of her wedding is not to be missed). Her iced biscuits are homemade from locally sourced ingredients, and all handstamped. We love this option because it can be personalised to a meaningful message – lyrics from ‘your’ song, a love quote from your favourite novel, or just a simple ‘I Love You’. A scrumptious Eco Valentine’s Day gift.

£12 for 6 personalised biscuits – Buy them here

You Are My Favourite Valentine’s Day Card

You Are My Favourite Valentine's Day card // Lucy Says I Do // The Natural Wedding Company

Our friend Lucy Says I Do always has a fab offering of Valentine’s Day cards, and we love this design. Short and sweet, perfect for anyone not wanting to give an overly mushy card full of text. Printed onto FSC approved card and with a brown kraft envelope it’s a great card for the eco-chic.

£3.25 – Buy it here

Fairtrade Gold Heart Ruby Ring

Fairtrade gold heart ruby ring // Shakti Ellenwood // The Natural Wedding Company

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