A rustic, outdoor, eco-chic, DIY garden wedding // Photo: Mark Tattersall Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

In 2011 when we got married I did a lot of soul searching about what those wedding vows – what the act of getting married – really meant to me. When I stood at the altar, in front of Nick, and spoke my vows to him, what was I really saying? (It’s easy to get swept up in the pretty bits of wedding planning, especially when you run a wedding blog, and forget about the meaning).

Finally the phrase that kept rooting itself for me was “I promise that I will always work through things with you, no matter how tough it gets.” It was pretty scary realising that this was going to be my commitment to him, more so than the prescribed wedding vows, perhaps because I had settled on it myself. I felt like this promise came from somewhere deep inside of me and was bound to me in an inextricable way, and what it meant in real life terms was scary as hell.

This month we are celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary (back in Italy, the country where we got engaged). Twelve years together, five years married, and nearly three years now as parents. I think the last two and bit years as parents have tested my marriage commitment the most. They have been the most challenging years of our lives so far, both as individuals, parents, and as husband and wife. I have had times where I cursed myself for making – what seemed at those times – an insane commitment. I have had times where I’ve shouted and yelled and wished it undone, and I’m sure, in fact I know, they weren’t the last times I will behave like that.

A rustic, outdoor, eco-chic, DIY garden wedding // Photo: Mark Tattersall Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

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The Natural Wedding Company South West Roadtrip

The Natural Wedding Company – that’s me (Charlie) and my baby bump – are going on a roadtrip!  Starting on Sunday 9th June I will be driving from my home in Cheshire, all the way down the country and into Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, finishing up in a little bit of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire about 10 days later.

Along my way I’m going to be stopping off at a number of the fantastic businesses that you can find listed on The Natural Wedding Company directory.  There are many more fab wedding suppliers down in the South West than I am possibly able to see in 10 days, but I am doing my best to see as many as I can and report back to you, my lovely readers, about what I find.

Follow My South West Roadtrip

The whole aim of this roadtrip is not only for me to get to meet some of these businesses in person, but also to share pictures and details with you.  I’m going to be taking my camera, my phone and my laptop, and each and every place I visit I’ll be capturing in pictures, words, and maybe even video (if I can figure that out!).

Each day I’ll be retreating to a B&B to write up my day’s visits, which you’ll then be able to read the following day on the blog.

As well as documenting my South West Roadtrip on the blog, I’ll be sharing photos on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  I’ll be tagging all my images on Instagram and Twitter with #TNWCRoadtrip so I hope you’ll follow along and join me on this epic roadtrip virtually.

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Shepherd shoot inspiration

I wanted to give you a little heads up about a very exciting Saturday I have ahead of me – I am going to be working with the lovely Jennie Hill on my very first style wedding photoshoot – eek!  We have been plotting together ever since we met up at the Eco Wedding Fair in Bristol and dreaming up a mid-winter shoot that features a number of small British businesses.

As well as being a wedding photographer, Jennie also works on a farm with her very cute sidekick Pip the sheepdog (here’s a video of him in action!), and as such she wanted to create a styled shoot based around sheep and shepherding.  We have been inspired by the bleak English countryside in January (although it looks like it might snow on Saturday!) and all things wool related.

I am super excited for Saturday, not only for getting to put together something magical, but also to be able to work with and feature a number of TNWC businesses – even the venue we are using for the location is a brand new TNWC wedding venue.  Above are some of the things we’ve been inspired by – woollen blankets, smoky wood fires, tweed suits, rustic pies, and twiggy bouquets.

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The Natural Wedding Company stall at the Eco Wedding Fair

On Saturday I shared Jennie Hill’s lovely photos from the Eco Wedding Fair (you can see it all here), and today I’ve got my pictures of my stall and a few more details about how I decorated it. Perhaps you’ll find some inspiration for your wedding or just an autumn or winter celebration you might be planning.

We arrived at Riverstation in Bristol at about 9am and first we had to: unpack a number of boxes of what at first glance probably looked like a pile of junk, carry two heavy buckets of sand up a flight of stairs, and manoeuvre a bundle of 7ft long bamboo canes.  I was so pleased that the other exhibitors had equally quirky bootfuls for their stalls!

Rustic wedding decorations

My mom and I had two hours to set up before visitors started arriving, so here’s what I did with the mottley collection of items.  I used a pair of curtains to cover my table – they are a rather fun botanical print style curtain with what looks like horse chestnut leaves on them, and they ended up working in perfectly with that autumn feel I was going for.

Autumn leaf curtain tablecloth

The two metal buckets of sand went either side of the table and they held some of my bamboo canes – apologies this is the best picture I have which shows the bamboo canes and bunting

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The Natural Wedding Company 'bride' badges

If you’re reading this on Saturday 3rd November 2012 then I am busying myself on my stall at the Eco Wedding Fair in Bristol.  I’ve been pretty excited about this day, not only because I love getting out and about in the world of weddings, but because this is the first ‘eco’ or ‘green’ wedding fair in quite a few years.

Just some of the post that’s been arriving from TNWC businesses…

I’m really hopeful that I’ll get to meet a couple of TNWC readers (so if you’re going please do come and say hi) and some new brides-to-be who haven’t yet been to the website.  With regards to what my stall looks like, as I write this I’m still not sure!  I’m pretty certain that other wedding fair exhibitors have planned theirs out weeks in advance…me on the other hand, well, my stall is currently a jumble of of ideas in my head and a car that looks like I’m going to a carboot sale not a wedding fair.

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Event in a Tent

On Saturday I headed south, further into Cheshire to Delamere Forest where the team from Event in a Tent were holding their open weekend.  I get to work with some lovely businesses, but all too often I can get stuck behind the laptop, so I’m always delighted when an opportunity comes along to go and meet and see what the TNWC businesses get up to.

Jug of autumn foliage and berries

Event in a Tent hire out those stunning giant tipis that are becoming increasingly popular as alternative wedding venue spaces.  Having been inside the giant tipis once before, it was a treat to go back, and I was disappointed.  These structures are truly spectacular.  As I walked inside there was a log fire going and the tents give off this soft, warm golden colour.

Fire pit in a giant tipi

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Peloponnese, Greece

I don’t often add too many personal posts on here, but I wanted to share a quick update on what I’ve been up to over the past 10 days.  Mr Rigg and I have been away on the most lovely holiday to a part of Greece called the Peloponnese, it’s been blissfully warm (about 25°C most days) and we’ve been spoilt with excellent food.

Peloponnese, Greece

Most of all we’ve had a chance to unwind from our respective jobs and spend some quality time together – don’t you find yourself realising on holiday how much you’ve not had that time together? Not really at any rate, you might eat dinner together every night, cuddle up on the sofa, even chatter in bed with each other.  But more than ever this holiday I’ve realised those times aren’t quite the same as having 10 days completely to yourselves.

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