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Rachel and Lee’s autumn lake house wedding with outdoor ceremony and sunflower bouquets for this boat loving couple // Davey and Krista Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

The first Real Wedding of 2017 is a little different because this time we travel across the pond to the beautiful East Coast of America. Rachel and Lee’s early autumn lake house wedding is a feast for tired January eyes. They held their wedding at Rachel’s family’s Lake House in Maryland under the hazy September sun.

Before we catch up with bride Rachel to learn more about this rowing boat-filled, sunflower-adorned day, a few words from to TNWC’s Charlie…

This wedding feels close to my heart, which might sound strange when I’ve never met Rachel or Lee, but I have got to know Rachel a little over the past year. Firstly she shared with me her nautical wedding invitations inspired by my own save the dates. I especially loved that the “tying the knot” element (inspired by this version of mine) had such relevance to their love of sailing.

Since their wedding, Rachel and Lee have been on the most incredible 12 month adventure sailing around America in their yacht. I have followed their adventures on Instagram and have kept in touch following their return to dry land, where Rachel has set up her own business Rachel Kendall Events. I am so thrilled that we get to share their wedding with you.

Rustic eco-chic nautical ‘tying the knot’ save the dates and invitations with hessian, lace and twine // Davey and Krista Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Rachel and Lee’s autumn lake house wedding with outdoor ceremony and sunflower bouquets for this boat loving couple // Davey and Krista Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Outdoor lake side wedding ceremony // Davey and Krista Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Succulent buttonholes // Davey and Krista Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Purple bridesmaids dresses and sunflower bouquets // Davey and Krista Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

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Fun alternative wedding guestbook-cum-table number for guests to write you messages for your wedding anniversary // The Natural Wedding Company

Fun alternative wedding guestbook that doubles as a table number

This idea is just. so. clever. And fun! I love a good Pinterest find that really stops me like this one did – combining your table number and guestbook, but with the added fun of asking your guests to write you a message that you will read on your 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc. wedding anniversary (depending on the table number).

How much fun would it be to read all those sweet and silly messages that your family and friends would leave you, over your future wedding anniversaries? And even if you didn’t want to have them as messages for your wedding anniversaries, the idea would still be excellent to use just for doubling up your table numbers with a guestbook. With one to each table it might mean that more of your guests get a chance to leave you a message, than the usual one roaming guestbook.

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Holly and Laurie's English picnic wedding

English picnic wedding

I have got some truly lovely exclusive real weddings coming up for you on the blog, so I do hope you’ll check back over the coming weeks to soak up all the wonderful inspiration these brides and grooms have to share.

Today’s real wedding is beautiful.  I feel like I’ve got to know bride Holly over the past year or so as she emailed me a couple of times in the lead up to her wedding – not only was she inspired by my own wedding stationery, but she also won her wedding photography via a competition that I’d promoted on the blog!

Holly and Laurie got married in Shropshire on the 15th of September 2012 with a wedding ceremony held at Ludlow Castle, and followed up by a picnic wedding reception at Henley Farmhouse on the Acton Scott Estate.

Over to Holly to tell us all about their wonderful day…

Seasonal September country wedding flowers

Rustic place names

Picnic wedding wrapped with greaseproof paper and twine

“We both just wanted a really relaxed wedding where all our guests could just have fun.  We wanted a day that was personal to us – we didn’t have a huge budget so we knew from the start that we would probably be doing lots of the work ourselves – with the help of our friends and family.”

“We actually found searching for a venue one of the most stressful parts of planning, we were looking for a blank canvas without lists of suppliers we had to use and we didn’t have lots of money to spend so we struggled to find somewhere.  I grew up in Shropshire and loved the idea of a Shropshire country wedding.”

Photo frame table plan

Country garden flowers

Blackboards

Wedding picnic and menu

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Metta Eggs

The Natural Wedding Company directory is full of fantastic businesses offering brides- and grooms-to-be products and services to make their wedding day more unique with an eco-conscious twist.  Today I’m going to share my personal experience of the beautiful gift service of one of the newest businesses to join our handpicked suppliers – there’s also a special offer for TNWC readers so scroll to the bottom for full details.

Metta Eggs offers a very unique and special gift experience that was “born out of the desire to provide loving, individual and positive testimonies to people at every key stage of their lives, and to give those who love them an engaged and participating role.”  These pretty handmade clay eggs have messages from your family and friends hidden inside of them, with each tiny egg rolled in glitter or meadow flowers seeds and then nestled in a fair trade box.

These ones we received are covered with the meadow flower seeds…
Meadow flower seed covered Metta Eggs

Metta Eggs can be used in a variety of ways for weddings – a friend or family member can commission Metta Eggs in the lead up to your wedding day, you can include it on your gift list, it could make a great alternative to a wedding guestbook, or you can even have a Metta Egg stag or hen party where you create the eggs yourself.

The lovely Libby who runs Metta Eggs invited myself and Mr Rigg to receive a box of Metta Eggs to celebrate our first wedding anniversary in May.  As Metta Eggs are usually gifted to someone, we nominated my mother-in-law to help us tell our family and friends so as to keep the messages a surprise for us.

Glittery silver Metta Eggs

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wedding guestbook anniversary box

There are some fun alternatives to the wedding guestbook, I’ve featured a number such as prayer flags and paintings, but I particularly like this idea that I came across recently.  It’s a box to be filled with messages from your guests that you won’t open until your 1st wedding anniversary.

As someone approaching their 1st wedding anniversary, I think this is a lovely way to remember your wedding day.  Just imagine opening up the box filled with all those messages from your family and friends, written on that ever-so happy day.  I’ve got an exciting new business joining the directory soon offering something similar to this that I can’t wait to tell you about.

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paint a garden wedding guestbook

This is a fun alternative to the traditional wedding guestbook where people leave you a message – instead, set up a large canvas with a selection of paints and brushes, and ask your guests to create a piece of artwork for you.

At this wedding the guests were ask to ‘grow the bride and groom a garden’, but you could pick any kind of scene that meant something to you.  Perhaps if you are particularly fond of hiking you could get everyone to paint you a mountain vista, or if you love the ocean, an underwater scene. It’s pretty much endless, and at the end of the evening you have a very personal piece of artwork to hang in your home.

artwork wedding guestbook

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wedding fingerprint guestbook with balloons

I really love the idea of a wedding guestbook where everyone leaves a thumbprint to create leaves on a tree, I even featured one this week at Holly and Dean’s village fete wedding – but it’s always nice to see something fresh and new that you haven’t seen before.

This uses the same idea as the fingerprint tree, but instead the fingerprints create a mass of colourful balloons.  What I think is most wonderful if that it shows that you can come up with a different version of the fingerprint tree if you put your thinking caps on – perhaps one which is more personal to you as a couple, or just plain fun, like the balloons.

I thought about having a fingerprint tree at our wedding – Is anyone else considering making one?  Or perhaps you did have one at your wedding – how did you guests react to it?  Was everyone happy to get an ink stained finger, even your granny?

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