How to achieve the perfect Woodland Wedding – top tips and ideas I’ve learnt along the way
Today, we have a lovely post for you all to read from guest blogger, Sam Hathway. If you love all things rustic, outdoors and woodland wedding themed then you are in for such a treat. Sam has very kindly sent us over her tips for bringing this theme to life, gleaned from her very own experience. As always, do let us know what you think in the comments section below. Are you planning a woodland wedding? What are your tips? We would love to know!
In the meantime, I’ll pass it over to Sam…
When my best friend Emily announced she’d like a Woodland wedding, my thoughts immediately leapt to A Midsummer’s Night Dream, with visions of Titania and Oberon in a fairie-themed setting, full of twinkling lights, under a beautiful, dreamy canopy of trees. My own wedding 7 years ago was very traditional, in comparison, having taken place in a historic country house, with the obligatory harpist serenading me down the aisle, a wedding breakfast for 80 guests and a disco for the children, crazy aunts and uncles.
I loved planning my special day, but the thought of having a ceremony outdoors would have sent me into a panic, with the unpredictable English weather (as it turns out, the temperatures soared to 27 degrees centigrade…and my wedding took place at the end of October!) But a whimsical ceremony, set in a secluded glen, protected by a canopy of trees really appealed to Emily and her fiancée Josh, both of whom are ‘free spirits’ who love the great outdoors. So we set about making her dream a reality, started our research and created our Pinterest boards. The journey’s been fantastic and inspirational and I’d like to share some gems of information we gleaned along the way…
Finding The Right Venue
There are so many options for brides that this can be overwhelming. One of the most important things to consider is the time of year, not only for weather conditions on the day but also the best time for the trees themselves. Some wood canopies will be at their best in May/June, but may not have flowers such as bluebells, so by picking an earlier time of year you may have less leaf cover, but have a better chance of being surrounded by beautiful flowers on the day. Do you need options for accommodation? If so, are you looking for luxury, or going more bohemian with glamping/camping options for your guests? Also, look out for photo opportunities around the site – is there a stream or lake nearby? Or even – given the setting – a wooden swing?
We all know that the one thing likely to let down an outdoor wedding in the UK is the Great British Weather, so you may want to have an indoor option for the ceremony or reception, just in case Mother Nature lets you down. A number of venues provide marquees but if you’ve fallen in love with a site that doesn’t, don’t panic, you can hire a beautiful marquee from companies such as Complete Marquees. One venue that provides an excellent boho option is Cornish Tipi Weddings, with multiple options for outdoor weddings with an ‘indoor feel’, including a wood, willow and canvas pavilion and tipi tents, as well as glamping facilities. One important point – you may have fallen in love with the setting but don’t forget basic amenities such as toilets! Rather than the old ‘portaloo’, a number of outdoor venues do provide ‘plush loos’ which will definitely help your guests feel more comfortable on the day!
Selecting The Perfect Dress
As every bride knows, the dress you choose isn’t always the one you planned on wearing. When looking for a dress for a woodland wedding, boho chic is the order of the day. Embroidered flowers, layered fabrics and lots of lace are popular choices for this setting, giving brides a dreamy, ethereal look. Emily liked Riki Dalal’s sexy, bohemian collection, in particular this delicate, lacey dress from the latest Florence collection.
Whether brides choose a train is a matter of personal choice – in general you’re not going to want to be dragging a 6 foot train along the ground behind you, sweeping up the leaves, but a small train gives a bride a beautiful silhouette, walking up the aisle along the forest floor. Finally, think carefully about your footwear, flats are probably the order of the day, no one wants to trip up on uneven ground! Finally, consider a wrap or cover up, as the temperatures will drop in the evening.
Flowers to complete and complement the setting
The foliage, greenery and forest flora mean that brides don’t need to spend a fortune on flowers. In keeping with the ‘back to nature’ feel of the day, hand-tied, unstructured bouquets work well, giving the effect of having been hand-picked. Boho brides can also add an extra dimension to their bouquets, using feathers and even antlers! In terms of colours, these can be tailored to bridal preference but it’s a nice idea to tie in a ‘seasonal’ feel. Lavender is also a popular choice and can be used for table decorations, with gypsophelia, to give a simple, rustic feel. We liked the idea of including a lot of foliage, including eucalyptus which looks so pretty and adds fullness to all floral decorations. An aisle strewn with rose petals and leaf confetti are also fantastic floral accompaniments. Also, while the trees themselves form the perfect backdrop, small details such as tying flowers – or even photos on string – around the trunks is nice detailing and can provide a more personal touch to the day.
Beautiful, Flowing Hairstyles
Loose, unstructured hairstyles with soft waves are perfect for a woodland wedding. Many brides will choose a flower crown, in the colour theme of the wedding, but a beautiful flower-themed tiara works just as well for brides looking for a more glamorous feel.
Quirky Accessories and Decor
There are so many quirky ideas to personalise your big day – from wooden signs to pine cone place settings.
As the evening draws in, fairy lights and paper lanterns create an amazing magical atmosphere that doesn’t require much further adornment. When it comes to table decorations, keep it simple with vases filled with fairy lights, candle-lit lanterns, wooden rounds and tables strewn with flowers, moss and pine cones.
In terms of wedding favours, jam jars filled with honey for adults – and sweets for children – are a more traditional choice. Funkier options include mini terrariums, herb pots, beeswax candles and packets of flower seeds, all of which can be personalised with simple card or wooden nameplates. We looked at many wedding cakes, but liked the look of ‘naked’ wedding cakes from The Organic Wedding Cake Company, that are not only in keeping with the rustic feel of an outdoorsy wedding, but also provide a gluten-free option for guests. Cakes made of cheese rounds, decorated with flowers, are also a great choice for people who would rather not eat cake after the meal…I’m with them, but sadly Emily’s not!
If you’re interested in a woodland wedding, I hope this article helps. Good luck with the planning, stay true to your dreams and don’t forget…use Pinterest!
About the author…
Sam Hathway is a blogger based in the south of England. A Mum, Wife, Daughter, Sister and Best Friend, Sam loves all things lifestyle – from weddings, fashion and the Holy Grails of beauty to travel and party planning. She is the first port of call for many friends planning their weddings, a task she’s more than happy to help with!
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