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I’m pretty sure the last time I wrote a ‘from the heart’ post I was saying how challenging (and bloody hard!) it is becoming a mummy whilst trying to run your own business too. I’ve had a tricky time of it, and at various points I’ve concluded how hard the first 6 months were…the 1st year was…and now here I am concluding how hard the first 2 years have been. Older wiser mummy’s could have probably told me all that.

But 2016 I feel more positive about, even if I’m sulking a little bit that the new refreshed website hasn’t been launched in time to bid farewell to 2015 (coming real soon though!). What these challenging few years with a baby (and now toddler) have taught me is huge, I have learnt so much about myself and, well, everything! I have overcome my PND, and not just overcome it, but I’ve emerged from the fog more determined and happy than the woman I was before Ottilie was born.

2016 will be good. Good because I want to make it that way. Good because I have a wonderful sweet mama working alongside me (albeit it from the other end of the country), someone to dream dreams with for this little business. Good because I will have a refreshed website that will work harder ‘behind-the-scenes’ for me on all the practical parts of running this directory, and give me back time to work on the the more enjoyable parts.

So I’m going to put away the guilt tonight that I haven’t done a round-up feature (or features!) on the best bits of 2015 from the blog, that I’m not super prepared with blog features for the New Year (although there’s loads of lovely content waiting to be shared), that I’ve been a pretty rubbish mummy (and wife) the past few weeks working on the new website (“no more wuck mummy” I hear all the time), and so much more.

Instead I’m going to be kind to myself, feel excited for 2016 and all the new couples and wedding suppliers I’ll get to meet, and all the wedding loveliness I’m going to share with you, and tonight I’m going to “savour life and all its magic.”

tnwc2016

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

P.S. If there are any other mummy’s reading this who run their own business, or who are thinking about starting their own business, please come join our little Facebook community that I set up to provide support and advice.

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We are absolutely loving Matt and Jo’s laid-back homespun wedding that we are sharing with you today. We know warm summer days currently feel like a distant memory whilst it is so dull and grey outside and Christmas is but days away, but this beautiful outdoor celebration is most definitely going to bring a little sunshine to your day. Married this summer in the forever charming Cornwall this wedding is the ultimate in rustic, relaxed style. For starters the bride went barefoot wearing a vintage dress, the groom sported shorts and the bridemaid’s showed us how to perfectly pull off white.  And that […]

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'Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers' book review by The Natural Wedding Company

A few weeks ago the TNWC team were lucky enough to attend a wonderful afternoon tea to celebrate the launch of Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers by Georgie Newbery, a beautiful, insightful book that does exactly what it says on the tin; cleverly guiding you from start to finish in the whole planning process of growing and styling your own flowers for your big day.

Seasonal winter wedding flowers by Common Farm Flowers // The Natural Wedding Company

Georgie Newbery from Common Farm Flowers // The Natural Wedding Company

Seasonal winter wedding table flowers from Common Farm Flowers // The Natural Wedding Company

The launch took place at the incredible Quince Tree in Clifton Nurseries,  a hidden little gem in the middle of Little Venice, London. Upon entering under an arched canopy, settled among a row of tall white town houses, we were greeted by rows of fairy lit Christmas trees and found ourselves in a secret garden bursting full of flowers and foliage.

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Cornflower and fern flower crown // Flowers by Catkin // The Natural Wedding Company

What a treat we have today, featuring an array of beautiful floral wedding ideas inspired by dreamy pre-Raphaelite paintings and a sprinkle of fairy magic from Cicely Mary Barker’s ever-loved flower fairies.

Shot against the evocative backdrop of Doddington Hall, an Elizabethan manor house in Lincolnshire, the floral designs were created by our friend Rachel at Catkin, using all homegrown blooms from the walled garden she tends to on site.

Peach coloured hydrandgea and fern flower crown // Flowers by Catkin // The Natural Wedding Company

English meadow bouquet // Flowers by Catkin // The Natural Wedding Company

Moss and purple hydrangea flower crown // Flowers by Catkin // The Natural Wedding Company

Wild bridal bouquet of ox-eye daisies and cow parsley // Flowers by Catkin // The Natural Wedding Company

Pre-Raphaelite inspired wedding flowers // Flowers by Catkin // The Natural Wedding Company

Rachel is a long-standing member of the British Flowers community, so putting English grown, seasonal flowers at centre stage was vital.

The flowers she chose – garden roses, scabious, cornflowers, nigella, sweet peas, pinks, astilbe, larkspur, ammi and daisies – all contributed to the ethereal look Rachel was after, imbuing her floral creations with natural movement and texture.

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The Crafted Garden book review by The Natural Wedding Company

{A lovely feature for you today from Samantha}

You know how fond we are of a crafted, hand-made project here at The Natural Wedding Company, and a crafted project made with natural, seasonal materials either foraged or homegrown, well that ticks every box in our eyes! It is wonderful projects such as these that you will find in The Crafted Garden: stylish projects inspired by nature a beautiful book by Louise Curley that we are sharing with you today.

We also have a special reader offer for those who’d like to buy the book – you’ll find all the details at the bottom of the post.

Rustic autumnal table display with pumpkins, dried flowers and leaves // The Natural Wedding Company

I was a excited to receive this book based on the brief synopsis and beautiful cover alone, and although I will admit I was a tiny bit sceptical that it wouldn’t offer anything more than what I could find scouring Pinterest, I will say straight away now that my scepticism was unfounded!

The Crafted Garden winter squash vases // The Natural Wedding Company

The book has been cleverly put together and Louise clearly has a passion for the great outdoors and how you can incorporate it in your home, for a celebration or as a unique gift idea.

I approached the book from a wedding point of view (whilst also already planning how I was going to use each one some how in my home) and excitedly flicked through the pages thinking how each craft could be used or adapted for wedding décor, accessories, gifts and so on and how all the ideas could be adapted through the seasons.

Dried autumn leaf 'Mr & Mrs' wedding garland // The Natural Wedding Company

Although some of the projects may seem simple or obvious, I was surprised at how I hadn’t ever thought of doing them before and it really makes you look around and consider the natural resources you have around you.

The Crafted Garden foraging // The Natural Wedding Company

The book offers 50 crafting projects all inspired by nature and whether you are a crafting amateur or gardening pro it contains a plethora of information beautifully presented to make it easy to read and follow. Broken down into seasons, not only does it provide instructions on craft ideas but really useful tips such as guidelines for foraging ethically, how best to dry flowers (great for after your wedding if you wish to preserve yours) and the best seasonal flowers.

Rustic twig picture frame for an autumn wedding // The Natural Wedding Company

To give you a little insight into a few of the fab craft ideas in the book we tested a few of the autumnal projects out to hopefully offer a bit of seasonal wedding decor inspiration.

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TNWC Real Brides: Fern shares some of her handmade wedding details from napkins to paper garlands

I am terribly behind for various reasons with my lovely Real Bride posts, so here is a post from Fern that she wrote in the run up to her August wedding sharing some of her handmade details like paper garlands, napkins, and table centre making. The photo of her little boy helping to paint the blackboards is just too sweet!

Over to Fern…

It’s all in the details

It’s less than five weeks to go to the wedding and I’ve officially turned into a crazy person. Not in a angry, bite your head off way, (ok only once) but in a running around the garden at 5.00 in the morning looking at pieces of wood and measuring how long my garlands are, and trying to work out which of my plants will be flowering in August kind of way. I have had my first wedding dress fitting and we have all had our hair trial at the salon. So it’s all getting very real now. We are still working on lots of projects for the wedding so here are some sneak peeks, without giving away too many secrets.

Paper heart garland // The Natural Wedding Company

Paper decorations

After making the envelopes for my invitations I was left with lots of strips of paper where I had trimmed the papers down to size. I was determined not to throw them away but find some way to use them to make something for the wedding. Then I found this idea (above) on Pinterest for paper garlands. I borrowed a di cutting machine and got to work changing all my strips of paper into little hearts and I have stitched them together on the sewing machine.

For the larger pieces of paper I have made some paper rosettes which, although beautiful, have required some deep engineering to stay in place.

Handmade paper rosette decorations // The Natural Wedding Company

Handmade napkins

I really don’t want too much of a colour theme at my wedding. There is some pink sneaking in to places where it counts, but I really don’t want it to be too “in your face”. I was really inspired by this find for patterned napkins on “Show Me The Pretty” and decided to make my own for my wedding.

Handmade napkins // The Natural Wedding Company

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TNWC Real Brides: Vicky tells us about her locally sourced wedding meal and 'help yourself' popcorn dessert table

A wedding food topic close to my heart – food! In the past I think wedding food has often been an after-thought, but more and more it’s becoming something that couples really put a lot of thought into. Here are Vicky and Steve’s plans for their wedding feast!

Over to Vicky…

The food and drink we’ll be serving at the wedding is at the forefront of my mind at the moment as we firm up numbers and start to make the final purchases.

We decided from the very start that we wanted to keep it quite simple to help save the budget for other areas and keep the day relaxed. In the end we settled on a cream tea reception followed by a hog roast is the evening.

The hog roast was easy to organise as our best man’s father-in-law does these as a sideline to his farming. A quick chat on the beach, followed by an impromptu dance lesson (only in Devon!) and we had booked a hog and ram roast with a few roast potatoes thrown in the bottom for good measure. Excellent!

We’ve put together a little bag for each guest to pick up before they eat which have a napkin, wooden cutlery and a hand wipe in. They have been decorated with a personalised stamp which we found on Etsy.

Paper bag eco-friendly wedding picnic cutlery

After that came the trickier task of finding a company to do the cream tea for us. Lots of the caterers we approached seemed keen to sell us their idea of what we wanted rather than what we wanted. A simple cream tea became a full-scale afternoon tea. It all sounded amazing but it wasn’t what we wanted.

Thankfully a friend then recommended the lovely Hannah and Sima from The Kitchen Table in Totnes. They have been brilliant, sticking to what we wanted, answering many questions about scone sizes (seriously, how did I turn into someone who worried about the size of a scone?) and even talking us down on quantities.

Even better they are advocates of using local produce, which fits our day perfectly. They will provide the mini pasty canapés, sit down cream tea and all the salads and rolls for the evening do, plus some vegetarian options. Their food looks beautiful and I can’t wait to try it all.

Salad with edible flowers

They also put us in touch with Queen Bee Cakes, who make the most amazing wedding cakes and are a supplier on The Natural Wedding Company. Sadly they were already booked for our weekend leaving us with no choice but to try and re-create something similar ourselves.

So my lovely Mum and Aunt have gamely taken on the challenge of making the cake. From reading about other weddings I know this is quite common but my Mum is not the most expert of cooks, once serving up a dessert of sausage pie and custard – don’t ask!

Her cakes, however, are normally really good and with the amount of practice runs she’s been doing I’m sure it’ll be great, even if we won’t fit into our dresses any more! She will be making two sponges, which will sit on top of a fruit cake which my Aunt is busy soaking with brandy.

I’m planning on adding a liberal scattering of flowers and icing sugar to make it look pretty! Hopefully it will eventually turn out something like the cake below.

Victoria sponge wedding cake tower with roses

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Maureen du Preez Photography

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