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TNWC Real Brides: Nik shares details of her hot chocolate wedding favours and thank you gifts

Charlie

Izzy Burton illustration

Opening up the blog to other real brides-to-be has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.  I hope you are enjoying and benefiting from the experiences, ideas and handmade projects they have been sharing here.  I’m so pleased with the outcome of this new feature that I will be looking for new TNWC Real Brides to start blogging in the autumn – if you’re interested stay tuned as I’ll be posting details on the blog shortly.

We are joined today we have the lovely Nik who is planning a relaxed coastal farm wedding at her home in Wales.  She’s sharing details of the fab hot chocolate wedding favours they’ve been making for their guests, and also some more personal thoughts on how she’s found planning a wedding alone a challenge.  

I hope you enjoy it – over to Nik…

Arranging Favours and Thank You’s – Our Last Big Job!

With six weeks to go until the wedding, we’ve been turning our efforts to the tasks on our ‘to do’ list that are able to be done in advance.  There seems to be so many things that have to wait until the week/night before the wedding, and it kind of felt as though we’d hit a bit of a ‘lull’ in the preparations, until I remembered that we hadn’t really started on one of the most important tasks – favours and gifts for our guests!  Whoops.

Heart-Warming Hot Chocolate Favours

Hand illustrated 'let love grow' wedding mug favours

From the word go, we wanted our favours to be something practical that would be used on the day of the wedding and that could be used again and again afterwards.

After much deliberation, I had a bit of a lightbulb moment and we decided that we would make hot chocolate stirring spoons for each of our guests, complete with a DIY hand-illustrated mug to commemorate the day (inspired by the work of illustrator OhNoRachio!, whose work I covet and purchase often!).

Hand illustrated 'let love grow' wedding mug favours

To add a little nod to the country we now call home, we arranged for Folksy seller Rescue & Revive to handstamp vintage teaspoons with the words ‘Llwy Garu’ –Welsh for lovespoon! Lovespoons are an old Welsh tradition, although they are typically carved out of wood.

Handstamped vintage 'lovespoon' teaspoon wedding favours

A couple of days before the wedding, I’ll melt six squares of dark chocolate, six squares of milk chocolate and a blob of Nutella per guest; pour it into an eggcup (our chosen mould after much deliberation!); insert a lovespoon and leave it to set overnight. In the morning they *should* slide smoothly out of the eggcup, ready to be served up.

DIY hot chocolate wedding favours

On the wedding day, as the night begins to draw in and everyone starts to get a bit tired and chilly, we’ll bring out a large cauldron of milk, warm it over the blazing fire pit, hand everyone a mug and a chocolate stirry lovespoon and drink a cockle-warming hot chocolate nightcap under the stars.

The Issue of Thanks

In addition to our favours, there are tons of people who we want to give a gift or small gesture to, as a thank you for their kindness and support – our bridesmaids, our parents, our landlord at the farm for giving us a free venue, the farm manager Claire, the lady who has lent us straw bales for seating… etc, etc!

Selecting a gift for each person has been one of the toughest things we’ve had to do in the whole planning process, and I’m still pretty clueless on what to get for most people!  If anyone has an amazing idea for a small gift, I’m all ears!

Silver birch trees

For the farm (I can tell you this as I’m 100% sure my landlord won’t read it!), we’ve chosen a silver birch tree sapling, with a commemorative stamped tag.  As there are no other birches on the farm, its snowy white trunk will make it stand out in the crowd and the tag will stay with it even after we have moved on, letting everyone know what took place there on 11th July 2013.

I’ve also been busy making decorative boxes to house the gifts for my bridesmaids.  I got the idea from this pin.  I made the box myself using thin cardboard, but you could also use bought favour boxes.  The bit of sprig came from a conifer tree we felled a few months ago – that foliage lasts forever!

Brown paper and twine gift boxes

A Reality Check

Living five hours away from friends and family when you’re trying to plan a wedding is no picnic.

I’ve got no team of friends nearby to help out, no wedding planner, no venue staff and no-one to bounce ideas off.  Chris is good at helping when he is given a list of jobs to do, but he is hugely busy with work and is, at the end of the day, a bloke, so he doesn’t really want to talk about ribbons on jam jars or whether I should wear a flower in my hair.  It has been a tough six months.

DIY wedding

I’m not complaining; we could have chosen a smaller wedding with fewer DIY elements and less responsibility, but I didn’t want that and that was my choice.  I’m saying this because I’m sure there must be other brides out there in a similar situation who feel like the only bride in the world without an army of interested helpers and friends, and I just wanted to say that I’m in that boat too and I understand.

If anything, it has helped me stay focused on what is important to us about our wedding; doing away with all the silly little details that only serve to generate momentary ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from our guests.  And at the end of it all, I’m sure I’ll feel an immense sense of achievement and pride from knowing that it was my own two hands that created such a truly memorable and magical day.

I love Nik and Chris’ idea for the homemade hot chocolate spoons – not only because I’m a huge hot chocolate fan, but those keepsake spoons are a beautiful idea.  My only other addition would be a bottle of something boozy for the adults to pop a drop in their hot chocolate…

I’m also really pleased that Nik shared some of her feelings about planning a homemade wedding so far from family and friends.  Although weddings are immensely fun to plan (and should be!) they can also be pretty difficult times if you are on your own.  I remember feeling like Nik and what’s most important is, like she said, you’re not alone.

If you’re feeling like this come and share your worries on my blog or my Facebook page, or if you’d rather just drop me an email (charlie@thenaturalweddingcompany.co.uk) I’m always here to listen or share my experiences.  There’s lots of other brides-to-be feeling just like you, so don’t let yourself worry alone.

Images: (1) Illustration by Izzy Burton; (2 – 8) Brides own pictures

Comments

Nicola Y on 30. May, 2013

I feel exactally the same with my DIY wedding. I live three hours from my nearest wedding assistant! Plus I also live 1 1/2 hours from our wedding venue. My friends and family are great and do offer to help, but sometimes its just a quick what do you think that you need. I’ms sure it will all pay off in the end, then its a big pat on the back for all the personal touches.
I love the hot chocolate idea with the mugs and spoons, might have to try that for my hen.
As far as gifts we are also struggling. Think we might be going for the option of activities for people to do, but that way you do loose the keepsake.

N xx

Jennifer on 1. July, 2013

Thank you for sharing your feelings about being far away from the bridal party. I am also struggling with this at the moment. My DIY wedding is at my mum’s home in the U.S., and none of my bridal party are in the UK with me. Apart from the loneliness, this is also a logistical nightmare! I have ended up sending a list of DIY projects out to them & letting them choose what they want to do. In some cases I am sending them supplies, which is really quite nice as it means we are exchanging letters along the way. I have found that it helps me to realise I have other friends who are not in the wedding party, but are still very interested. It’s kind of fun to have honourary bridesmaids. :) Anyway, I hope the loneliness has subsided for you. It’s not long until they arrive to help you put everything together! I know that on the day you will be thrilled with all the work you’ve put in.

I also wanted to say what a lovely idea the silver birch tree is! They’re such elegant trees; I’m sure the owner will love it. Small gifts are very tricky; I tend to opt for edible gifts unless I know the recipient well. This is partially because I love food & partially because I don’t want to give people stuff they’ll feel obliged to keep and that will take up space. But whatever you end up choosing, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it, as they’ll be able to see you’ve put a lot of thought into it.

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