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TNWC Real Brides: Fern's plans for an afternoon tea reception with homemade scones and cake

Real bride Fern shares her plans for an afternoon tea reception

Fern’s post today is full of lovely recipes (lemon and blueberry drizzle cake anyone?) and some great vintage finds, including an old seed tray her dad has upcycled into a drinks tray for their wedding. Go get inspired!

>> View Fern and Dominic’s woodland bird and country flower inspired wedding here <<

Over to Fern…

Collecting for our afternoon reception

We really wanted to have an afternoon reception rather than an evening one for our guests who will not be attending the whole event to celebrate with everyone straight away. The National Trust have allowed us exclusive use of the Old Stable Courtyard at Montacute House for us to serve refreshments for our guests and park our wedding car, but guest will be free to access the grounds as they wish.

Montacute House

We are planning to serve baked refreshments following our ceremony for our guests while we have photos taken. I have been really inspired by Charlie’s afternoon tea in the garden (and part 2 here) and have spent a lot of time reading and then re-reading the posts about it to absorb every ounce of inspiration. Although Dominic and I are not going for a full English tea party, I really want some colourful vintage china to liven up the rustic picnic and trestle tables we will be using.

Montacute House

I am searching regularly through our local charity shops for vintage china, baskets and cut glass. My ultimate bargain is the green china set which I found for £9 for the lot. I love the beautiful cut glass bird, another charity shop find, who will hopefully find a nice little home for the day.

The other items are a collection of charity and vintage shop finds, were my own already, or I am borrowing from friends and family.

Vintage picnic baskets and crockery

For months, we have also collected jam jars, coffee jars and wine bottles to display our flowers and candles on the day, now filling 2 suitcases. My amazing dad has cleaned up and varnished a seed tray he had for us to hold our glasses for sparkling drinks, I’m blown away with how great it looks, and my parents have also kindly lent us some parasols to keep the sun off on the day.

Upcycled vintage seed tray for wedding drinks tray

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TNWC Real Brides: Em's sharing details of the floral theme that's emerging for her summer wedding at Norton Priory

Firstly a huge apologies from me as I am so behind on this year’s Real Brides posts. The lovely Em, Fern and Vicky have been diligently sending me their posts and I haven’t been posting regularly – so apologies both to them and to my readers who have been following along. 

Over to Em…

Floral theme for summer wedding

In terms of planning, on my first blog post I thought time was going quickly; now it is positively racing past. After deciding on a venue which was dear to our hearts at Norton Priory Gardens, and sending out the ‘save the dates’ in midwinter tones, I guess I began to sit back a bit as life carried on around the wedding organisation.

The twist in our tale has been that within months of sending out the ‘save the dates’ to close friends and family, I have landed a new job and we have sold our house – effectively meaning that we are literally upping sticks to make a new life together this year. Within a couple of months, we are hoping to move, get married and start new roles; so 2015 is becoming a big year for us all!

With that in mind, I am so glad that we made key decisions early on about a relaxed quite bohemian vintage feel to the wedding and had arranged the venue and location for the ceremony early on, as this has made it much easier to style what we wanted without becoming distracted by magazines, bridal fairs and the plethora of wedding related paraphernalia!

Norton Priory Gardens

Walled garden wedding venue

As we are based at Norton Priory in the walled gardens, we were both keen to have a floral theme to the wedding that brought ‘the outside in’, and this has precluded having any real colour scheme running throughout the whole day.

There will be a palette which nods to the wedding vibe, and deciding this linked to a vintage fun look has enabled us to tone everything else around key features for our day. While we made the ‘save the dates’ ourselves, with big – and fun! – life changes afoot, we had to think practically about our choices while retaining some creative control and quirkiness.

I didn’t want to sacrifice the individuality which was important to us, and we have trawled through lots of examples of designs to find images and styles which we feel suit our personalities.

I have to say books have been invaluable – I particularly like these three which I bought second hand and therefore saved a packet, plus it’s nice to think someone is passing them on after their own wedding/crafty projects! All of these books have given me ideas about print and colour which have informed my choices for the wedding.

Book inspiration for wedding

Books – Cath Kidston’s ‘in print’, Emma Arendoski’s ‘The Handcrafted Wedding’ and Lucy Morris’ ‘The Complete Vintage Wedding Guide’ all sourced from Amazon second hand.

Bright butterfly and floral wedding invitations

The invites we are particularly happy with, and these have been sourced from Not On the High Street, from a seller called Skinny Malink in Edinburgh who has a range of beautiful designs. The colours on the day invite really ‘pop’ and reminded me of Andy Warhol designs, which seemed perfect for the beginning of summer when the gardens will be a riot of colour.

Butterfly and flower wedding invitations

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Vicky’s back today to tell us all about the fab vintage railway poster inspired wedding stationery she’s had designed – I love this idea!

>> View Vicky and Steve’s DIY village fete wedding here <<

Over to Vicky…

Vintage railway post inspired invitations

It is now starting to dawn on me that our wedding is a lot closer than I want it to be and there seems to be an awful lot to do!

Much to Steve’s never ending dismay I am the sort of person who buys Christmas presents in October and arrives at the airport at least 6 hours before I should, just to be safe!  Organising a wedding where lots of it can’t be done until much closer to the time is killing me!  And driving him mad – so much so he’s gone off to Scotland on a motorbike holiday for 2 weeks!

However there was one major thing I was able to tick off of my ever-increasing list last month – getting the invitations sent out.

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Who to invite to our wedding

The actual process of deciding whom to invite has probably been the hardest part of the planning process for us so far. It seems that trying not to upset anyone while keeping the numbers manageable is a tricky balance.

One of the major issues was whether we should invite children or not. If we invited everyone’s children our numbers rose by about 20 meaning we had less space to invite other close friends. In the end we decided that we couldn’t invite children and luckily all of our friends seem quite relieved by this. They all say they are looking forward to being able to relax and enjoy themselves without worrying if their children are getting bored or restless. One of my bridesmaids is so excited at the prospect of being childfree that she’s booked the grandparents for babysitting duties from the Thursday until the Sunday!

A friend to design our invitations

When we announced our engagement one of my old friends, James, immediately offered to design the invitations for us. As he’s an amazing artist there was no way we were going to say no. I’ve always loved his work and have had a particular hankering for his vintage railway style posters for a long time. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to get him to do one for us.

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TNWC Real Brides: Fern's 'how to' guide for the pretty envelopes she made for her bird and wildflower inspired wedding stationery // The Natural Wedding Company

I have just the loveliest post today from TNWC Real Bride Fern, who has not only made the most heavenly bird and wildflower inspired wedding stationery (and with my favourite brown craft card featuring!), but she has put together an easy-to-follow ‘how to’ guide for how she made the pretty envelopes. Plus she’s also shared details of how she created her different wedding stationery items. 

I just know you are going to love this wedding stationery and it’s beautiful little details. If you are on the hunt for eco-friendly materials to make items for your wedding, do check out our DIY Resources section of the directory for a great selection of businesses that we love.

>> View Fern and Dominic’s woodland bird and country flower inspired wedding here <<

How to guide for pretty envelopes

Brown craft card bird and wildflower inspired wedding stationery // The Natural Wedding Company

It is always lovely to receive special parcels and post by mail, and wedding invitations can tell you so much about a wedding. Most of the weddings we have been to, couples have handmade their invitations and I never considered doing my invites any other way, but I really wanted my wedding invitations to have a wow factor as soon as they land through the letter box. So it was clear very quickly that I was going to make my envelopes as well.

I have included a ‘how to’ guide for making envelopes below, but I will tell you about my other stationary first.

DIY Floral Envelopes

DIY guide to making your own floral envelopes // The Natural Wedding Company
Full ‘how to’ guide below!

Invitations, save the dates and RSVPs

I designed all the stationary myself in Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Word, inspired by my finds on Pinterest. As I had decided that my envelopes would hold lots of colour it meant that I could keep my invitations more simple.

The fonts were Segeo Script used for our names on the save the dates and the rest of stationary we only used Traditional Arabic but varied use in all capitals or italics. The save the dates I made in Publisher by using the layout guides to divide the page into 8. I did for the RSVPs in Word; it is do-able but a lot fiddlier. I printed them on A4 and then cut them up with a guillotine.

Fern's bird and wildflower inspired wedding stationery // The Natural Wedding Company

The card for the invitations I found in a local shop with 10 brown kraft and 10 white sheets in. The design of my invites was dictated by this and its size. These were designed in Microsoft Word by customising the page size, even the map on the details.

We decided to trim all the corners to tie in with the envelopes, hole punch and tie together with ribbon. I then also made an afternoon invitation in the same way by customising the page size to A5 and then putting amended details inside. I printed everything at home on my own printer. It has cost around £35 for everything, not including postage, but I still have things left over for other projects.

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TNWC Real Brides: introducing Em and Nick's intimate homemade wedding in a beautiful walled garden

Introducing our third lovely TNWC Real Bride of 2015 – the lovely Em, who is also getting married in a location very special to her and Mr-to-be Nick. I love that this year’s brides-to-be have all chosen really intimate spots for their wedding, not intimate in the sense of small, but places that they know really intimately.

Over to Em to tell you more…

Intimate homemade wedding in a beautiful walled garden

Hello, my name is Em, and Nick and I are getting married on 1st August 2015…which is perhaps a little ambitious as we got engaged just before Christmas and have a LOT to do. Add to this that we are also moving house in literally weeks and it has seemed like the perfect if chaotic storm. Although we made a few decisions relatively fast, we have a lot to work out before August and the months are beginning to glide by at an alarming rate.

Our ‘ideal wedding’

Describing the wedding we would like in 5 words, I would have to go for intimate, homemade, welcoming, warm and vintage. We will be getting married at Norton Priory Gardens, which is a beautiful walled garden in Runcorn where I grew up.

Nick and I have been there a few times with my son and Nick’s step son James (who is 2), and I have been going since I was a child, so it is somewhere which we hold very dear and if anything is our theme it is associating our wedding with memories and special people.

As we are booked in August, we are – fingers crossed! – going to have a lovely late summer afternoon (!) surrounded by the flowers and bees in a site which has been occupied since the middle ages. The reception venue will then be a local village hall in Manley, as we wanted to have a country family celebration air to the proceedings, with Amy Swann my amazingly creative friend making the cake  (she initially recommended that I look on The Natural Wedding Company site!).

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TNWC Real Brides: introducing Vicky and Steve's DIY Devon country village wedding

Plans for a DIY Devon country village wedding

It’s really lovely to be back again to introduce you to our second TNWC Real Bride of 2015 – Vicky – who is getting hitched this summer to her Mr-to-be Steve. I really love how hands-on Vicky and Steve seem to be with creating their wedding (helpful when your Mr is a builder!) and that they have chosen their home village as the spot to hold their celebrations.

>> View Vicky and Steve’s DIY village fete wedding here <<

Over to Vicky to tell you more…

A proposal in Greece

Hi my name is Vicky and I will be marrying my fiancé, Steve, this summer.  Steve and I have been together for over 6 years now and much to the relief of our friends and family we are finally getting married this July.

Steve proposed last year in Skopelos, outside the church from Mamma Mia, with a beautiful ring he’d bought in secret. It totally floored me. I’m not sure what actually amazed me more, the proposal (I’d have staked a lot of money on that never happening after 6 years!), the fact he had managed to get the ring to Greece without losing it or that he’d been confident enough to tell practically everyone we knew what he was planning – even announcing it in the village pub before he left!

Typically he waited until the very last day of the holiday before asking me, leaving our families at home convinced he’d changed his mind at the last moment! Once I’d got over the shock I finally remembered to say yes and started crying – which pretty much carried on all day! As you can see from the photo!

TNWC Real Brides: introducing Vicky and Steve's DIY Devon country village wedding

Planning a Devon village wedding

Since then it’s been full steam ahead with the wedding planning. I can’t honestly say I had any real idea of what our wedding would be like when we started planning it, we probably had more idea of what we definitely didn’t want. Steve didn’t want it to be in a hotel where we had to fit in around them and I didn’t want it to be too prescriptive with a set colour scheme and matching outfits etc.

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TNWC Real Brides: introducing Fern and Dominic's natural woodland bird and wildflower inspired wedding in Somerset

Plans for a natural woodland bird and wildflower inspired wedding

I am pretty excited today to be introducing you to the first of our TNWC Real Brides for 2015! It’s that fun time of the year when emails start to drop into my inbox sharing all kinds of wonderful plans and handmade details from these brides-to-be in the run up to their weddings.

Our first TNWC Real Bride to introduce you to is Fern, who is getting married to her Mr-to-be Dominic this August in Somerset. Both of them have a love of the countryside, and Dominic works as a forester, so they are weaving elements of woodland birds and wildflowers throughout their wedding. I can’t wait to hear more!

>> View Fern and Dominic’s woodland bird and country flower inspired wedding here <<

But for now, over to Fern to give you a little introduction to how they met and their initial wedding ideas…

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How we met

Dominic and I have been together for over eight years. We met in our first week of university in one of our first lectures, introduced by a new mutual friend, Jon. After one day saving a space for Jon between us in the lecture hall for four hours without him coming, we decided that maybe we would sit next to each other from now on.

We both studied Geography and had most lectures together and got to know each other better. Over a year later, and after some shaky first dates, meaning we now affectionately hold Airplane as the first film we saw together, we finally became a couple and two years afterwards had our first flat together.

A village home in Montacute

After a few jobs, more courses and house moves later we eventually found our way to our little house in the village of Montacute, which has truly been a real home for us. We live right in the centre of this beautiful village in a secret courtyard where we know all our neighbours and are just a stones throw away from breathtaking countryside.

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