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TNWC Real Brides: introducing Ellie and Jon’s relaxed and rustic wedding in the Hampshire countryside

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TNWC Real Brides: introducing Ellie and Jon’s relaxed and rustic wedding in the Hampshire countryside

This week I have a few more posts from TNWC Real Brides and a great piece all about a new wedding festival package from one of our TNWC businesses – so stayed tuned!

But first up this week I get to welcome you to our fifth and final TNWC Real Bride for 2014 – her name is Ellie and she’ll be marrying her Mr-to-be Jon in a rustic wedding in Hampshire next May. I hope you enjoy hearing all about her ideas and following her plans with me.

Over to Ellie…

Jon and I met seven and a half years ago, on our first day at Uni. In fact, it would more accurate to say that we met in our first minute of Uni because, as the fates would have it (or maybe it was all thanks to traffic on the M3) he and I pulled up outside our halls of residence within about 10 seconds of each other, got chatting – and, well, the rest is history!

TNWC Real Brides: introducing Ellie and Jon’s relaxed and rustic wedding in the Hampshire countryside

Much of what we have always had in common revolves around the countryside. Both of us are grandchildren of farmers (his grandparents were beef farmers in South Devon, mine sheep farmers on Anglesey) and, for that reason, we’ve spent much of our time together walking, camping, sailing, cutting logs, building chicken houses and generally looking for any excuse to be outside, ideally in foul weather (you can take the girl out of Wales, but you can’t take Wales out of the girl)!

A Proposal in a Thunderstorm

It’s then unsurprising that Jon, in a story that splits audiences down the middle along the lines of a) how mad they are and b) how well they know us, chose to propose after a 12 mile hike, on the top of a hill in the Peak District and in the middle of a thunder storm (the picture below was taken a few hours later)! It was magical and, although few believe me, I will swear until my dying day that the storm cleared and a rainbow came out within minutes of me saying ‘yes’!

TNWC Real Brides: introducing Ellie and Jon’s relaxed and rustic wedding in the Hampshire countryside

And so – to our wedding plans. True to form, we are planning something relaxed and rustic, in the beautiful Hampshire countryside where I grew up. The date we’ve provisionally gone for is 30th May 2015 and, although we’re yet to find the perfect venue, we’re looking at working farms, barns and fields. The plan is to put up an old-fashioned, pole style marquee and fill it up with wild flowers, simple but delicious food – and, of course, the many people that we love.

Food & Flowers

We’re also determined that food, drink and décor should be reflective of who we are, and what we love. Food-wise, that means pie for Jon and cake for me and, in terms of drink, cider and Earl Grey Tea!

We also want to involve our friends and family in our day and have a series of mad-cap schemes that range from asking our nearest and dearest to make a layer each of our wedding cake (will it ever stand up? Probably not!) to roping cousins, parents and anyone else with so much as a window box in to grow wild flowers for us.

Cow parsley for a country church wedding - photography http://www.mark-tattersall.co.uk/

In fact, flowers are my area of ship. Although I may ask somebody else to do posies and button holes, I’d love to do as many of the other flowers as I can myself. No small part of our decision on dates came down to when cow parsley was most likely to be in blossom, as we loved Charlie’s idea of filling the Church with milk bottles, churns and jugs overflowing with the stuff. I’m also planning to do lots of little arrangements, some in jam jars wrapped in string for the tables, others in glass bottles which I plan to hang inside the marquee. In short – a flower extravaganza!

Jon’s planning to spend much of his making time on infusing various alcohols with various delicious fruits and berries (think Sloe Gin, Rhubarb Vodka and Blackberry Whisky). We’re hoping to do these as our wedding favours – but are also attempting to create his and hers cocktails from them, ideally served from a Landrover Defender converted into a cocktail bar, which we spotted on Pinterest.

For the Love of Books

The final major part of the jigsaw puzzle which I’m yet to mention is my love of books. As an English graduate and ex-English teacher, the single most challenging aspect of wedding planning for me anyway is choosing our readings.

My shortlist currently has about 200 poems and excerpts on it, which is not brilliantly practical (!), and I’m trying desperately to think of ways to include the ones that don’t make the cut (a quotation tree? Quotations on the table? On the order of service? – Any ideas gratefully received).

Our engagement party invitations were designed very much with that in mind and are modelled on the classic Penguin book cover, and we’re planning to ask any guests who’d like to bring gifts to give us a copy of their favourite book, rather than the more traditional wedding list.

Penguin book cover inspired wedding invitations

So there we have it – a fat little seed of a wedding idea which we hope will grow into something rustic and personal, homemade and relaxed and, most importantly of all – good fun!

I’ve always loved The Natural Wedding Company blog and think it’s a fabulous source of ideas and inspiration. I love the idea of sharing our plans with other brides and grooms, and hopefully sparking ideas for them in the same way that past TNWC Real Brides have for me.

I also love the idea of having a record of this incredibly precious time in mine and Jon’s lives. As a little girl, I used to love poring over my Granny’s wedding album (and in fact have a photo of her and my Granddad on their wedding day in my flat as I type) – and I love the idea that, in time, our own children and grandchildren might revisit this blog, and marvel at how completely bonkers their grandparents were.

To me, it’s a bit of a message in a bottle – and one that I know my future self will be delighted to rediscover!

If you like Ellie’s ideas why not check out her Pinterest boards.

Images: (1 – 3) Brides own pictures; (4) Mark Tattersall Photography; (5) Brides own picture

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