November 16, 2011

The Natural Wedding Company blog has moved

As of today – Wednesday 16th November 2011 – The Natural Wedding Company blog has moved to a new home.  This blog will stay here for you to search for inspiration, but all of it has moved to the new blog, and from now on you’ll need to go here if you’d like the most recent updates:

 I hope you like it!

November 8, 2011

Our new website will be launched before the week is up

Yes, I’m keeping the date of re-launch particularly vague, mainly because I just don’t know how many hours it’s going to take me to finish getting all the details onto it.  But it will happen before the end of this week.  And I can’t wait to share it with you all.

If you are new to reading the blog or just plain wondering what website I’m talking about – The Natural Wedding Company website is an online directory for all you brides and grooms who want a wedding that is ‘natural’ – for me that might be eco-friendly, seasonal, vintage , or handmade.  From the website the blog developed and it is time for the website to get a fresh new look.

The current (soon to be ‘old’) website I completely designed myself, learning to use an old version of Dreamweaver mostly through trial-and-error, or using a book (yes, a book).  It has been through two ‘incarnations’ since its launch in 2007 – the first was quite colourful but now very cringeworthy in its clunky appearance…a bit like me in my pre-teen years of the 1990’s and dancing to ‘Ooh, baby I love your way’ and ‘Saturday night’….

Yes, each page was a different colour and featured stunning (aah!) photos taken by moi…oh dear…

I am a great believe in doing what you can with the resources you have available – I just didn’t have the funds to get ‘proper’ photos taken, or a website designed.

Next came the version as it looks now, lets say a bit like me in my University days, trying hard to come across grown-up and mature, but still a bit quirky and rough around the edges…

But it’s not the 1990’s anymore, or even the early 2000’s, so it was about time the website got an update – and this time a proper one.  By a properly qualified website designer and developer, who could make it beautiful, but also work hard and make my life easier updating it.  I’m hoping you’ll agree come the end of the week that it is all those things. 

Whether this new website reflects me in my mid-20’s I’m not so sure, perhaps its the me I’d like to become over the next 10 years – we’ll just have to wait and see.  So please keep a look out for the launch of my new website – have a look around it, explore, read about some of the wonderful businesses I work with who can provide products or services for your wedding, and recommend it to your newly engaged friends.

Finally, a big, HUGE thank you has to go to We Are Life who I have worked with to produce the new website.  They have been incredibly supportive, creative, and patient (!) whilst we’ve been designing the new site, putting up with my extreme attention to detail and pickiness.  You guys are fab.

November 7, 2011

A simple alternative to bunting

Admittedly, calling this bunting is a bit far-fetched, but not sure what else to describe it as.  Whatever we call it, I think this is a fantastic idea – so simple but so effective and not one I would have ever dreamt up!

For anyone who wants to create a bunting effect without making, buying or hiring metres of bunting, take inspiration from this wedding where they’ve simply tied strips of fabric around the fence.    You could use vintage fabrics, off-cuts (I found granny’s and mom’s are a good source of these), or cut up carboot clothes made from pretty materials.  I’m sure this would also work if you tied them to thick twine to hang like bunting.

You can get more inspiration from this relaxed, garden eco-wedding as featured on Love My Dress.

Image: R&J Photography via Love My Dress

November 6, 2011

Apple treats for a bonfire weekend wedding

Images: Martha Stewart; Sarah Maingot via Ritzy Bee Blog

I am a sucker for all things seasonal, including seasonal events and holidays.  Bonfire night is one of those days I just love, both for the history and the accompanying celebrations.  I wanted to share a bit of inspiration for anyone considering this lovely time of year for a wedding.

No, it might not be warm and sunny, but it provides a whole host of other goodies that can create a beautiful wedding – think cinder toffee, an autumnal colour palette, displays of berries and leaves, and of course, toffee apples.  Taking inspiration for the toffee apple, here are some ideas for a bonfire weekend wedding.

Natural twiggy toffee apples – not only totally cool but would make a fun addition to a dessert table or as wedding favours

Image: Allyson Baker Design

Warming cinnamon spiced apple juice – mulled apple juice (or cider) was one of my favourite things to make last winter, it’s just so easy to do, tastes great and is lovely for parties.  If I was having a wintery wedding I would be giving this to my guests to keep them warm.   There are loads of wonderful artisan producers of apple juice and cider in this country so be sure to buy local – we got the cider for our wedding for Day’s Cottage in Gloucestershire.

Image: via Oh! Party

Apple jelly favours – in tiny jars with a label these would make tasty seasonal wedding favours for an autumn wedding.  Apple jelly is usually the most beautiful amber colour, so would be a pretty addition to any wedding tables.  My granny made apple jelly that was blushed pink for our wedding using apples from her garden – full details on our wedding food coming soon.

Image: Cooking Melangery

Are there any brides-to-be who are incorporating apples into their wedding who have other creative ideas to share?

November 5, 2011

Thank you to you all and Happy Bonfire Night

I have been overwhelmed from the support and kind words I have received following Thursday’s post ‘when imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery.’  Out of something bad, such kindness has come. 

I will make sure to get back to everyone who has left a comment or email me with regards to that post, I’m just a bit snowed under adding all the finishing details to my new website – to be re-launched next week! 

In the meantime, I wanted to make it quite clear that I am 100% happy for all brides-to-be out there who have been inspired or made their own versions of our wedding stationery.  In no way was that post about copying aimed at you, I am utterly delighted that you think my wedding stationery was nice enough to be reinterpreted for your own weddings.  It was only in the context of going on to sell it (and my artwork), as the unnamed business did.

Once again, thank you all so much.  It is heartening to know there are so many lovely people in the world. 

Happy Bonfire Night!

Image: Kirk Mastin via Frolic

November 4, 2011

Cake love: quirky deer cake topper and clambering tendrils

After this week’s goings on I needed something light-hearted and fun for today’s ‘cake love’ feature.  This wonderful cake hit the spot I felt – an elegant white tiered wedding cake topped with the most unusual and quirky cake topper: a pair of white porcelain deer in full wedding regalia! 

As if this cake was not already lovely enough, the tendrils of greenery (any ideas what this is flower people? clematis?) clambering up the tiers and wrapping around the loved-up deer is just genius.  This cake shows how you can combine elegance with simple natural elements and a dash of quirkiness to create something beautiful.

I’ve got a couple of more funky wedding cake toppers to come, and if you haven’t already seen this mint green cockrel and hen topped wedding cake do have a look.  This wedding cake came from this beautiful rustic park wedding.

Image: Kate Osborne via Green Wedding Shoes

November 3, 2011

When imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery

Image: design by The Natural Wedding Company photo by Mark Tattersall

This might possibly be one of the hardest blog posts I’ve had to write.  I’ve spent the past 24 hours going over how to write without just screaming and shouting.  Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook might recall a bit of a meltdown on Tuesday evening – so without waffling around too much, I discovered that another business had taken original designs I’d hand-drawn for our wedding stationery and was selling them as their own ‘unique’ designs.

I unwittingly clicked on a Twitter link and came across this businesses website – as I began to look around at the different designs they were selling I got this sick feeling in my stomach.  Not only did one particularly wedding stationery design look unbelievably similar to what I’d designed and made for our wedding, but I began to realise that some details they were using were actually my hand-drawn images (below).

Designs by The Natural Wedding Company

I was absolutely devastated to think that someone would do that, and have the balls to claim that their work was ‘unique’.  And pretty pissed off.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming these are outstanding pieces of artwork, but they are mine, drawn by me, for something quite personal – my own wedding

And when I say that one whole design was similar, I mean the same fonts, a similar main image and even wording in places, including an almost identical RSVP postcard and all tied up with red and white string and a tiny luggage tag.  Now I’m not trying to claim that I’m the first person to do these things, or that I have rights over tying wedding stationery with red and white string and a luggage tag, but when everything is SO similar and its being sold as ‘unique’ to that business I don’t think that’s on.

I have happily and openly shared all the details on our wedding, including the handmade stationery, I have even shared details on how I made them and where to get the supplies.  I have been delighted that so many other brides-to-be have been inspired by what we made and are taking inspiration and ideas, are even recreating elements. 

There is however a HUGE difference between using ideas and inspiration for personal use, and passing it off as one’s own original, ‘unique’ design and making money from it.

I could witter on for too long about how sad/angry/gutted/mad/devastated/all-of-the-above I have been the past two days, but thankfully one email to this business has resolved it, and the designs mentioned have been removed from their website. 

It seems that more and more people are suffering from this sort of thing – my lovely website designers We Are Life had another client recently whose new website was almost identically copied by someone else for a competitors websiteIt’s just not on. 

Image: design by The Natural Wedding Company photo by Mark Tattersall

What I am most upset by is that I work incredibly hard on both personal projects and in trying to run my little business (and I know I’m not the only one).  It’s damned frustrating that someone else is able to cherrypick what they want from my website and continue their business in the same industry as me claiming to design ‘unique’ eco-friendly products (printing on the same brown recycled card that I shared details of) .


There are two positive outcomes of this whole palaver:

1) I feel driven to pursue creating a few more of my own designs and seeing if anyone is interesting in buying them for their wedding, after all if someone else can recreate my ideas and sell them then perhaps I should too?

And 2) there are some utterly wonderful, kind, supportive people out there who left me messages when I was having my meltdown.  I may not know you in person, but you are lovely friends to have.

What are other people’s experiences of copying, plagiarism, or taking too closely of ideas/designs? 

November 2, 2011

A wedding bicycle made for two…well almost

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you’ll know that the past 24 hours have been challenging – I’m not ready to share any details yet but will do soon.  That combined with a busy morning learning the finer details of my soon-to-be re-launched website and I haven’t had much time to blog well today.

However, I felt that posting a picture that made me smile and feel happy would be a positive way to end the day.  I recently had a bride enquiring about vintage tandems for a wedding get-away, and after much research it seems they are pretty difficult to come by. 

One company that hires out old bikes told me “Many a tandem has caused a divorce”.  Sound advice perhaps?

Anyway, I think that having a bike each to ride away from your wedding is just as lovely an idea – especially if you can get hold of quirky, old or vintage bikes as they come in such lovely styles.  So, not only does the above image bring a smile to my face on an otherwise gloomy 24 hours, but I love this bride and groom’s wedding transport – and the tin cans tied on to the back of the bikes is pure genius!

These beautiful photographs are from this lovely eco-friendly Sydney wedding.  If anyone wants more details on hiring old bikes for weddings I have a few websites I can share.

Image: Lara Hotz via Green Wedding Shoes

November 1, 2011

Edible wedding bouquets bursting with herbs, blackberries, nasturiums and chillis

Inspired by this week’s episode of River Cottage Veg, which featured a beautiful wedding with an edible bouquet, I’ve searched the web for inspiration on how you can make your bouquet both beautiful, fragrant and edible. 

Herbs are the obvious choice to incorporate into your bridal bouquet – not only do they make good foliage fillers, but they smell wonderful and often have pretty flowers.  You could either opt for a full herb bouquet with flowering thyme, chive flowers, and purple and yellow Heartsease, or maybe you’d rather just add in a few herbs like sage amongst your other flowers.

Images: The Herb Companion; via Once Wed

If you are after a relaxed, country garden style feel for your wedding, bouquets of herbs for both the bride and bridesmaids will fit in perfectly.  They have that loose, just-picked look, and can be tied with raffia or garden twine for a rustic look.  A while ago I made a small herb bouquet for a friend – they would make pretty posies for your flowergirls.

Images: The Traditional Flower Company

But herbs don’t have to only by for the homegrown bride, they can also be added to more elegant and structural bouquets, like this one that has cream roses, lavender and rosemary.  If you want something a bit different, this bouquet with red and orange chilli peppers amongst rosemary, bay and sage would look great at an autumnal wedding

Images: unknown; Tregothnan Shop via The Lavender Experiment

As well as herbs, you could always add in edible flowers – like these hot coloured nasturtiums, which are stunning flowers, and along with the leaves have a peppery taste.  This would be perfect for a green-fingered bride as these flowers are often found tumbling over allotment fences.

Image: Small Stump

If, unlike the River Cottage bride you don’t fancy using lettuce in your bouquet, there are more striking vegetables like globe artichokes…

Image: Studio Stems

Fruit and berries also are making more of an appearance, like these red blushed apples that have been wired into this autumn inspired bouquet.

Image: via Weddings at Work

And blackberries – whether they are dotted amongst pure white anemones for a romantic feel – I would just be careful with any berries that are super ripe as you wouldn’t want to get purple blackberry juice on your wedding dress!

Image: via Bouquet Bridal

Or made the centre of attention like this blackberry bouquet (one of my favourites) – I love that they’ve used the green blackberries that are only just starting to go a pinky-purple.

Image: Fotopastele

If you’re looking for English, seasonal or field-grown flowers in the UK there is a full list of suppliers on our directory.

What other ideas do you have for an edible bouquet?

November 1, 2011

Tiny lantern place names

This idea of using tiny lanterns as place names at your wedding is lovely in so many ways.  Firstly, who doesn’t love the idea of lots of twinkly tealights to bring a warm glow to their evening festivities?  Secondly, it would be a fun way of bringing candles to your dinner tables, with everyone collecting their lantern and taking it to their place.  And thirdly, they would double up nicely as favours for your guests to take home with them.

Image: Rebecca Hansen Weddings via Once Wed