Blog: Planning
Charlie Charlie

Fairtrade gold mining and the difference you can make by choosing fairtrade gold wedding rings

Charlie

Freshly mined fairtrade gold for fairtrade gold wedding rings // April Doubleday // The Natural Wedding Company

We share a lot of pretty things here on our blog, like most working in the wedding industry. The wedding industry is big business and with that there can come a price, a price that we may not always consider. When we are investing so much money into certain aspects of our wedding day it can be worth taking a minute to open our eyes (and hearts) to the reality behind the items we purchase. Most of us are aware of issues that have arisen from diamond trade but have we ever considered the cost of gold?

In 2013 our friend and jewellery designer April Doubleday visited one of the few fairtrade/eco gold mines in Colombia. She took her son Jon and filmed their adventure, producing this 9 minute long film.

Fairtrade gold wedding rings // April Doubleday // The Natural Wedding Company

Where do your wedding rings come from?

Everyone should watch this short film before before buying your wedding rings. Let’s be open and honest about where these precious and symbolic love tokens come from. That means considering who mined the gold, how it was removed from the land, and the state the environment is left in.

In your next tea break we’d love you to watch April’s film and gaining an insight into the lives of those who mine the gold for our jewellery.

“Fairtrade and its standards offer miners a better choice and a way out of poverty” – April Doubleday.

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Dear bride-to-be, wear a wedding dress you can move in

Charlie

Choosing your wedding dress - wear a wedding dress you can move in // Maureen du Preez // The Natural Wedding Company

Our friend and TNWC recommended photographer Maureen du Preez has a wonderful way with words. She is writing about wedding issues that we think are really important – not just what flowers to choose, or how to do your hair.

When looking for your wedding dress, have you prioritised how easily you can move in it? We’re not talking about just how well you can walk down the aisle, but truly move in it. Can you dance all night in it, be hugged all day, and eat all the good food? Is it a wedding dress you can wander through a forest in or hike across the moors in. Can you even get muddy in it?

If I haven’t already convinced you to think more about this, perhaps Maureen du Preez’s beautifully written words will.

Why You Should Choose A Wedding Dress You Can Move In

Choosing your wedding dress - wear a wedding dress you can move in // Maureen du Preez // The Natural Wedding Company

Dear bride-to-be,

Wear a wedding dress you can move in. You can love in. A gown that makes you feel like a queen who can dance all night until your bones ache, and be held tight by your loved ones all day long.

A dress you can climb hills in, explore forests, to reach that special place you long your love to be captured. Where the magical light spills in, and the trees canopy around.

Choosing your wedding dress - wear a wedding dress you can move in // Maureen du Preez // The Natural Wedding Company

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Why you should ignore everyone’s wedding planning rules (including ours): An alternative guide to planning your wedding

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Why you should ignore everyone's wedding planning rules (including ours): An alternative guide to planning your wedding // The Natural Wedding Company

We felt it was about time that we put together our own alternative wedding planning guide, one that encourages and empowers you to create a wedding that reflects you as a couple. Many couples that stumble across our eco wedding directory and blog tell us they suddenly feel at home amidst the often crazy world of weddings.

“I felt I had an affinity with your blog that inspired me to be confident in creating a wedding day that was meaningful to us as a couple.”

Here are our top 10 tips to create an alternative wedding planning guide. Take what you want and leave the rest. We’re not here to tell you what to do or how to do it, we just want to empower you to make your own choices and create a wedding that reflects you.

1. Pinterest – The Bane Of A Newly Engaged’s Life?

Don’t get us wrong we really do love Pinterest (<< go see if you don’t believe us), we can get lost on it for hours and it really is a great source of inspiration. HOWEVER, please don’t let all the beautiful styled images freak you out and suddenly make you think you need to have things you hadn’t even considered. Use it as a tool for ideas and leave it at that, don’t get wrapped up in recreating every styled image you see. Unless of course DIY is your bag and you have the time to do it stress-free.

Wedding quote // Pinterest - The Bane Of A Newly Engaged's Life? // The Natural Wedding Company

2. Your Wedding Should Not Be Used As An Excuse To Spend Money You Don’t Have

Your wedding in not an excuse to spend more money than you have or are prepared to spend. Lots of couples will have a budget (in 2016 the average UK wedding cost – in our opinion an eye-watering – £25,000), but just because you set your budget at X amount doesn’t mean you need to find things to spend it all on.

Why not try working the opposite way. Start with no budget and by listing out the big things you’d love. Find out how much they cost, then list out your essentials and find out how much they cost. Add it all up. Finally, work out how much more you can, need or want to spend on your wedding. This might help you to focus on what you really want rather than just spending (or blowing) your budget.

It’s also worth accepting early on that (some of) your dreams will likely be dashed by “lack of money” (whether you are spending £2,500 or £25,000). Instead of feeling disheartened, see what you can dream up when you are forced to be creative and think outside the box, you might just get something even more wonderful.

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A guided tour of our eco wedding directory for newly engaged couples

Charlie

A guided tour of our eco wedding directory for newly engaged couples // The Natural Wedding Company

Hello and a massive congratulations to you if you are newly engaged. We know the festive period is a very popular time of year for people to pop the question, so if this is your first time here and you are just about to start your wedding planning journey we are delighted to welcome you to our pages.

We hope that throughout the next months or years we can help assist you with everything wedding planning related and offer great ideas on how to create an eco-chic wedding. This post is designed as a guide tour of all the wonderful things you can find here at The Natural Wedding Company.

Be sure to check back next week for our Alternative Guide to Wedding Planning. We’ll be sharing our honest thoughts and advice on how to really go about planning your wedding – we promise it doesn’t include 18 month check lists or encourage teeth whitening.

Who am I?

My name is Charlie – I’m the founder of TNWC and I’ve been running it for nearly 10 years.

You can find out more about the origins of TNWC and me here.

Welcome to our Guided Tour of our Eco Wedding Directory

You’ve got engaged and are still high on the excitement of committing to your love, and now begins the (sometimes) mammoth task of planning the wedding you want. It can all be a bit overwhelming, the wedding industry often provided a checklist of what you “need” to create a wedding day, but we like to put that aside and do it our own way.

If you’ve found us then it might be because you weren’t feeling any of the other wedding blogs and inspiration. There is so much quality information on our website just waiting to be discovered, so in the spirit of feeling overwhelmed, we’ve put together a sort of guided tour to our pages. Here’s what one bride had to say about us:

“I just wanted to say thank you for your gorgeous website. With the help of your directory we have sourced a great organic caterer and commissioned some beautiful recycled silver wedding rings. I’ve also got loads of great ideas from the site for DIY decorations and flowers, and I’m even planning to have a go at making my own wedding cakes. I’m not sure how I would have managed so far without your directory. More than that, you have made the process of wedding planning (which I was rather dreading) into something meaningful and even enjoyable.” Read more

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How to do a 10 minute facial using natural products from your kitchen

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How to do a 10 minute facial using natural products from your kitchen // Ellie Gill // The Natural Wedding Company

Our make-up artist friend Ellie Gill has put together a 10 minute facial for us using natural ingredients you’d find in your kitchen – now that’s my kind of beauty treatment. Back in the spring she talked to us about the benefits of a pre wedding massage and mentioned that she encourages her bridal clients to do a 10 minute facial in the lead up to their wedding.

I wanted to hear Ellie’s advice for her 10 minute facial, so she’s put together her tips and suggestions. Over to Ellie…

What’s your natural daily skincare routine?

In today’s busy world it’s so lovely to have a daily skincare routine. I find it so relaxing to just take a few moments to pamper myself and I genuinely believe that natural ingredients are the most beneficial.

I’m sure most of you will have experimented with making face mask as a teen. My friend and I used to coat our faces with lumpy bits of banana and egg when we had sleepovers. I always just thought it was a bit of fun and didn’t pay serious attention to my skin but fifteen years later and I’ve returned to the kitchen for some of my favourite beauty staples.

How to do a 10 minute facial using natural products from your kitchen // Ellie Gill // The Natural Wedding Company

A simple routine using natural ingredients

Through years of experimentation with various skincare products and a multitude of brands I’ve finally learnt that money doesn’t buy value and often the most expensive, cleverly branded creams and serums cause my skin to flare up.

Within my job as a makeup artist I see so many different faces. Time and time again clients with problematic skin seem to use lots of synthetic products with tons of suspicious ingredients. My clients with the best skin tend to have a more simple routine using natural ingredients.

So lets take it back to basics.

Top natural beauty products for a 10 minute facial

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Charlie Charlie

Dear bride-to-be, why you should consider an unplugged wedding ceremony

Charlie

Dear bride-to-be, why you should consider an unplugged wedding ceremony // Maureen du Preez Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

The wedding industry can be full of information on what you need for you wedding, “must haves”, “can’t do without’s” and all manner of people telling you that your wedding day just won’t be a wedding if you don’t buy this that and what-have-you. Don’t get me wrong, I like to buy nice things as much as anyone else, but I often find myself feeling rather suffocated in this social media world that can make you feel like you just need to have so much stuff.

When I come across articles like this one, written by TNWC photographer Maureen du Preez, it feels like a big gush of fresh air that reminds me of what I want to share, to champion, to encourage when it comes to weddings.

With kind permission I am sharing this beautifully written piece on Why You Should Have An Unplugged Wedding Ceremony, originally shared on Maureen du Preez’s blog. Included in this article are photographs from beautiful ‘unplugged weddings’.

Why You Should Have An Unplugged Wedding Ceremony

Artistic wedding photography for soulful couples // Maureen du Preez Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

An Open Letter to the Permanently Plugged.

I never really got this modern desire to photograph every single thing happening in front of me, which you may find strange coming from a photographer… I often just get so caught up in the moment that I don’t even think about grabbing my phone/camera from my bag. I prefer to enjoy the moment as it unfolds, without distractions, as it won’t happen again. After attending many weddings over the years I realise I’m in the minority though.

It’s during moments like the ceremony that I’m sometimes astounded at the amount of people all wielding phones, ipads etc, all desperately trying to take the same photo. Some of them stepping out into the aisle, blocking the professional photographer (and more importantly the groom’s!) view of the bride entering. Some of them ruining the pro’s capture by using their DSLR’s pop up flash.. A moment that can not be repeated now lost.

Artistic wedding photography for soulful couples // Maureen du Preez Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

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Dear bride-to-be, please stop hating pictures of yourself

Charlie

Natural beautiful wedding photography from Julie Anne Images // The Natural Wedding Company

I came across the most heartfelt post from a wedding photographer to her brides-to-be, which sends such an important message that I think many women need to hear ahead of their wedding day. Written by Julie Anne Images, one of our TNWC Recommended Suppliers, this letter of sorts is entitled “Dear Bride-to-be, please stop hating photos of yourself.”

As I share this, I am acutely aware that I am still one of those women who like to check photos on the camera when my husband has taken them, or cringe and want to untag myself from Facebook photos shared by friends. I am still learning, dear friends, to relinquish this urge, not only for myself but now because I have a daughter of my own. I don’t want her to grow up with these insecurities, and so I think must first be kind to ourselves (easier said than done I know).

Wedding day appearance anxieties

I must say, the one day where I really felt free of any of those feelings was my own wedding day. Both my husband and I do not like being the centre of attention and I was filled with horror at the idea of having cameras pointed at us all day. But when it came to the day itself, I didn’t think about it one bit, I let the pure happiness of the day wash over me and I never once thought about how my hair looked or whether someone was capturing ‘bad’ pictures of me. I hope if you too have anxieties about being photographed on your wedding day, that you can feel as free as I did.

With kind permission we are sharing Julie Anne’s message with you all. Over to Julie…

Natural beautiful wedding photography from Julie Anne Images // The Natural Wedding Company

Dear Bride-to-be, please stop hating pictures of yourself

…I’m the same, and I think I’ve worked it out. So often, we don’t enjoy looking at photos of ourselves because we’re used to getting ready in front of a mirror. Here’s the science bit: Our faces aren’t symmetrical and when we see them flipped as a mirror-image in a photograph, it takes us by surprise. Not to mention the fact that we each have either a left or right dominant eye for vision – add this into the mix with an asymmetrical face seen the other-way-round from the view we’re used to in the mirror, and it’s no wonder we often take a dislike to our appearance in a photograph.

And so we find ways to curate what we look like. We take selfies slightly from above so our eyes look bigger and our chins disappear – and how any mirror selfies do you see, posted publicly because as a reflected image those are the features, the view, the wielder of the phone-camera is used to? We’re not familiar with the full-length or side-on perspective. We criticise the aspects of our looks that in themselves are the very family resemblances that the gene pool passed on from those we love (I have my dad’s earlobes, my mum’s freckles and build, and I never got my teeth fixed…).

Natural beautiful wedding photography from Julie Anne Images // The Natural Wedding Company

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TNWC Real Bride: Vicky shares all the details from the crazy week leading up to their wedding

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real_bride_2015_vicky

This is the final instalment of Vicky’s pre-wedding posts, next up we hope to share you details and photos from her actual wedding – so excited to see how all her plans turned out. Vicky and Steve have definitely been one of our most crafty couples in our TNWC Real Brides series, turning their hand to creating so many items for their wedding. If this sounds like you, then make sure you check out all her posts for some great ideas and how to’s.

But for now, over to Vicky…

The week before the wedding

The week before our wedding was one of the most enjoyable weeks I’ve ever had and definitely the most tiring. I’m sure all the other TNWC Brides would agree the downside of a truly personal wedding is all the work you have to do in that final week. You 100% need a band of willing helpers ready to muck in, as at some point you do have to go off and just be the bride, like finding time to collect your dress – amazingly I nearly forgot that one in all my list making.

Steve had taken the week off work before the wedding to help get things done and my family and aunt were also down in Devon for the week, while the best man stopped work and joined in the chaos on the Thursday.

real_bride_2015_vicky33

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Charlie Charlie

What impact will the unusual weather have on your seasonal wedding flowers?

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Seasonal spring arrangement with helebores and ranunculus // The Real Cut Flower Garden // The Natural Wedding Company

If you are a bride-to-be visiting our blog, it is highly likely that you adore seasonal, British grown flowers, just like us. Every year the weather fluctuates, but I still feel slightly anxious by the variations in the seasons and the impact that will have on locally grown blooms.

Perhaps as a bride-to-be this is something you have concerns about, especially after this long and unseasonably warm winter, followed by the recent cold snap with hail and snow across various parts of the country. And yet as I write this, today we have eaten lunch in the garden and have hats and flip flops on it’s so warm!

“I always worry about the weather…well I’m obsessed by it, but sure enough, the flowers defy nature and arrive at just the right time” – Helen, Bouquets and Butterflies.

Bucket of British grown narcissi // Organic Blooms // The Natural Wedding Company

Dreaming of a church filled with cow parsley

Every year as we enter spring, my mother likes to reflect on the weather in relation to the cow parsley and whether it would have been out for our wedding date of 21st May (I chose May because I love the cow parsley lined lanes of my childhood home in the Cotswolds). Now let me explain, despite getting married 5 years ago, my mum still contemplates this detail every year – I can quite imagine it continuing for many years to come!

I dreamed of a cow parsley filled church in which to get married, and this is what we got (phew). However, in the run up to our wedding there were lots of nervous moments – was the cow parsley going to be out or was it going to be over? So ever since, even as early at March, my mum starts to comment on the weather and it’s impact on the cow parsley’s development in their part of the country. Luckily I don’t have to worry about the status of the cow parsley, but I know there are many of you who will have similar anxieties.

“I think that Mother Nature throws us curveballs now and again, and that it’s how we [florists] deal with what we have that sets us apart” – Sarah, Floribunda Rose.

April spring flowers // Forage For // The Natural Wedding Company

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Charlie Charlie

The benefits of a pre wedding massage to relax and clear your mind to focus on the true meaning of marriage

Charlie

The benefits of a pre wedding massage to relax and clear your mind to focus on the true meaning of marriage // The Beauty Aisle // The Natural Wedding Company

Today I have a wonderful guest post all around taking care of yourself in the lead-up to your wedding by investing in wedding massage to help your de-stress and relax. I think we can too often focus on ourselves in terms of having a beautiful dress, hair and make-up for our wedding, but not actually in nurturing our inner self. Marriage is listed as one of the top stressful life events, we can end up so focused on putting together a wonderful day for all our family and friends, that we actually forget to give ourselves space to process what our wedding day is really about.

My experience of massage and other alternative therapies is that they are not only deeply relaxing but they also give you an incredible opportunity to clear and quieten your mind of all those racing thoughts and endless to-do lists. As a mother I now value those moments as incredibly precious, but I also recognised the importance of this in the lead-up to my own wedding. There are many ways to take this time for yourself, but massage is one of my favourites, and so I’m delighted that Ellie from The Beauty Aisle is going to share her advice on making the most of this wonderful therapy.

Ellie is one of our recommended make-up artists and offers a 10% discount to all our brides-to-be who book her for their wedding make-up, you can find full details of the offer here.

Over to Ellie…

The benefits of a pre wedding massage to relax and clear your mind to focus on the true meaning of marriage // The Beauty Aisle // The Natural Wedding Company

Why get a massage in the lead up to your wedding day?

So your wedding day is coming up. You’ve thought about the dress, flowers, invitations and venue but what about… yourself?

Planning a wedding is great fun but it can be stressful too. During this busy time it’s important to sit back and take time to relax too otherwise you risk suffering from burn out.

There are tons of ways to help you stay calm and collected in the lead up to the big day but I’m going to talk about massage as I know how it has benefited so many of my clients in the long term.

Massage is absolutely fantastic for reducing stress. Small amounts of stress are useful when we need to get things done but too much stress can be extremely damaging to our health. It can affect us in all sorts of ways from tension headaches and skin problems to interrupted sleeping patterns.

During massage your heart rate is lowered and ‘happy hormones’ are released. Many people think of massage as a real luxury but it should be thought of as part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It helps to relaxes muscles, improves circulation and it’s also detoxifying resulting in better immunity.

The benefits of a pre wedding massage to relax and clear your mind to focus on the true meaning of marriage // The Beauty Aisle // The Natural Wedding Company

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