ARE WEDDINGS OUT OF CONTROL?

Weddings have been big news recently. It seems that a day doesn’t go by without another feature about wedding budgets and how couples choose to celebrate their marriages. Why are weddings such big news at the moment and what’s the real truth behind those screaming headlines? We spoke to wedding industry expert Tamryn Lawrence for her thoughts…

The Great Wedding Budget Debate

I’ll be honest; features like this don’t even make me cross anymore. I expect them on an almost annual basis so just tend to roll my eyes but they still irritate me, mostly because they couldn’t be more out of touch if they tried. Not only do the features seem to write off the talents and brilliance of the fantastic suppliers you’ll find in the wedding industry but all the ‘advice’ that they contain is just so wide of the mark.

Now I’m pretty sure that the video that’s doing the rounds about wedding fairs that basically encourages you to visit them not for inspiration or to connect with suppliers but to get as many freebies as you can was supposed to be funny. Well I hope it was because otherwise, it’s even more dire than I first thought. If you want to know how to choose suppliers, get some practical budgetary advice or anything useful, don’t bother watching but do check it out if you want such tops tips as giving fake email addresses and binging on cake.

Country Life also joined in the wedding bashing and this feature was everywhere from the BBC to all the main newspapers and, of course, it wasn’t pretty. Country Life seems to think that weddings are out of control, have turned into an ‘arms race’ and are a ‘nightmare’ for guests. Yes, Country Life was telling us all that something is over the top. There’s an irony there so deep, I can’t even talk about it.

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So, what’s the truth?

Well, the truth is actually pretty simple. At the root of all of this is a deep misunderstanding about modern day weddings and to find out what’s really driving couples you need to look way beyond the budgetary bottom line.

Firstly, lavish weddings really are nothing new. Flick through the pages of any social history book from the early Twentieth Century and you’ll find plenty of huge weddings that, in real terms, cost way more than weddings today. Before the war, even families whose weddings would never make the society pages still spent big chunks of income on family weddings. Nowadays it’s true that some couples pay for their weddings with credit cards but years ago, weddings were paid for by visits to the pawnbroker so really, nothing’s changed.

Secondly, weddings are so often seen as an easy target. We’ve all heard stories of Bridezillas, we’ve all laughed at films and TV where people have obsessed about weddings and we might even know someone who went a little mad planning their own wedding. For lots of publications, this time of year just calls for a little wedding bashing. It’s easy to print the ‘average’ cost of a wedding in bold, it’s not easy to tell the stories behind weddings.

Couples today want different things. They want to be themselves, they want to celebrate with their family and friends and most of all, they want to have their day in whatever shape or form that might take. Weddings of just a few decades ago were in no way representative of the couple getting married. They followed a formula. Nothing was different, nothing was really personal, and nothing was new or unexpected. You could almost have swapped in one couple for another and no one would have been any the wiser.

Fast-forward to now and things are different. People travel more, live and work in different places to where they were born and we’re all encouraged to be ourselves more. We place value on hobbies and passions – we describe ourselves as ‘foodies’, ‘sports fan’, ‘animal lovers’ and ‘feminists’ in ways that wouldn’t have been possible a while ago. We’ve seen more, done more and experienced more than previous generations so we’re bringing A WHOLE LOT MORE to our wedding plans.

And weddings, until very recently, have been very traditional. In fact, when you look at the rate of change of society as a whole, weddings have got a lot of catching up to do. People live together before they’re married now, have kids before they wed and women can have careers, vote, go to university and even, shock horror, keep working when they’re married, but despite all that advancement, someone will still say ‘it’s not right’ if a woman wants to make a speech or be accompanied up the aisle by someone other than her father. It’s astounding really and not in a good way.

So, you’re left with the question, are all these articles really prompted by budgets and money or are they just an easy opportunity for a dig at the choices that others have made? I think I’ll just leave that one with you.

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Let me tell you a love story…

But, what all of these features always fail to look at, and I’m guessing it’s because they’re harder to write than costs and numbers, are the love stories. The love stories that sit behind weddings don’t get a look in.

Weddings now are more about love than they’ve ever been. Women don’t have to get married anymore to avoid poverty and ridicule. Same sex couples have fought for the right to say their love matters too and people who’ve been divorced are prepared to do it all again with someone who’s repaired their heart. All that takes a special kind of bravery that, in my eyes, earns you the right to have whatever kind of wedding you please.

So, if you’re planning a wedding, read the features that are helpful, join the Facebook groups that are supportive, make the choices that suit you, be glad that you live in an age where you can decide how, when and where to get married and most of all, give the one you love a hug and tell them that you can’t wait to get wed. Because as long as love wins, nothing else matters one bit.

 

Credits:

Image 1: Les Loups on 100 Layer Cake | Dan O’Day on Green Wedding Shoes

Image 2: White Ash Photography on Gwendolynne | via The Perfect Wedding

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY – WORKING WITH NATURE

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We know that our woodland wedding venues do make the best backdrops for wedding photographs. They’re naturally beautiful, don’t require any additional decoration and they’re also super romantic. In this feature, we’re looking at how to work with nature for the best ever wedding photographs.

If you’ve been planning your wedding for a while, chances are you’ll have Pinterest boards full of amazing, dreamy images and we have to say that woodland wedding photos really are the best. We’ve spoken to wedding photographer Jess Yarwood (who loves GreenAcres Rainford!) and she’s got some great info to share…

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Just relax…

Firstly, go with the flow. It’s all too easy to get caught up with the thought of ‘perfection’ on your wedding day but sometimes, trying too hard to make everything brilliant can stop you enjoying yourself.

“Embrace your surroundings and ignore whatever the weather might throw at you,” says Jess. “Trust your photographer and don’t worry because your dress can always be cleaned!”

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Very true – you’ll regret not going for that once in a lifetime shot more than a few spots of mud on your gown!

“If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, think about footwear, especially for bridesmaids as heels and grass or woodland floors don’t always mix that well.”

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Perfect wedding photographs…

When you’re planning your woodland wedding, it’s also great to think about those little extras that can really make photographs special. The confetti shot really is an iconic wedding image so we always advise having enough confetti for two takes and remind guests to throw their confetti up so it rains down on you slowly rather than just firing it straight at you!

“When it comes to confetti, real dried flowers are the best,” says Jess. “Not only are they good for the environment, they also look amazing in photographs. Also, think about outdoor lighting for the evening. Festoon lights or sparklers make a great shot!”

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Keeping guests happy and comfortable is also another thing to think about. People relaxing and having fun are always photogenic and capturing the fun of the wedding day in photographs will make you smile for many years to come.

“Have a look for some fun garden games or other kinds of entertainment to fill the lull in between the ceremony and meal,” advises Jess. “Also, if you’re using hay bales for seating at any point, maybe add some blankets so make them super comfortable for guests and to stop delicate fabrics snagging on the hay.”

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Go for golden hour…

Lastly, for those heavenly wedding photos that are full of the softest, warmest light, you absolutely have to make some time in your wedding schedule for a few ‘golden hour’ photos. Golden hour is the hour before the sun sets and it provides light that photographers just adore. It’s flattering, gentle and downright adorable so Jess’s last piece of advice is, in our opinion, unmissable:

“Always check what time golden hour will be on your wedding day and plan accordingly so that you can get some truly beautiful wedding portraits. Sometimes this precious hour can clash with the wedding breakfast but, with a little forethought, you can easily step outside for 15 minutes. I promise that you won’t regret it!”

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If you’d like to visit our woodlands to take a look at the beautiful backdrop that nature has provided for your wedding day, do get in touch. We’ll be very happy to welcome you. Don’t forget that our Pinterest boards are also full of woodland inspiration and photos to make you smile so hop over and get pinning!

 

Credits:

All images by Jess Yarwood Photography

WEATHERPROOF YOUR WEDDING

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Ah, the British weather, it’s something we love to hate. However, when you’re planning your wedding, the weather forecast becomes all the more important. Whether it’s warm, wet or surprisingly windy on your big day, here’s our GreenAcres guide to weatherproofing your wedding

When the weather is warm…

Now the thought of a warm (or even hot) day for your wedding would make most couples smile. Lovely photos, happy guests enjoying a drink and a chat as the sun shines down and a long, warm evening to make the most of your day sounds fabulous. Or does it? Don’t be fooled because sometimes, you need a warm weather contingency plan too.

When the weather is hot, remember that guests are likely to drink more. If the temperature is soaring, speak to your caterers to make sure they bring extra drinks (especially non-alcoholic options) and lots of ice. If you’ve planned to hold your drinks reception outdoors, you’ll need to provide lots of shade, especially for older guests or families with young children.

Marquees can get super hot in warm weather so ask about ventilation. Some designs include roll-back or removable sides to make the most of any breeze. Finally, add some sunscreen, insect repellant and sting relief cream to guest packs and don’t forget to apply sunscreen yourself, especially if you’re wearing a strapless, backless or sleeveless dress!

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When the weather is wet…

Rain is probably on the list of things you definitely don’t want on your wedding day but really, with a little planning, it’s not so bad. Speak to your venue and your photographer in advance so you’ve got a contingency plan all ready – where could you take photos inside? If it’s raining, where will you serve drinks and nibbles? Deciding in advance what will happen will make any rain on your day much less of an issue.

Other practical tips include asking groomsmen to bring umbrellas so that they can escort guests from their cars and keep them dry and you might also want to ask your hair and makeup artist to apply products that will protect your look.

Don’t worry too much about the rain – it’s very unusual for it to be raining all day long so keep your schedule as flexible as possible and you’ll be able to nip outside if there’s a break in the showers for photos. A white sheet can be great to stand on to keep your dress as clean as possible!

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When the weather is cold…

The thought of snuggling up and getting cosy with you partner is probably one that makes you smile. But, if it’s cold on your wedding day, what do you do? Well, firstly, do what you can to stay warm. A chunky cardigan or jumper can look great in photos or a huge scarf or wrap is also a good idea.

Speak to your caterers and see if they can serve hot drinks rather than chilled fizz after the ceremony. Hot chocolates, teas and coffees with a shot of liqueur are brilliant (and warming!) options.

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When the weather is windy…

Blustery days can cause a few problems too but again, they’re easy to deal with if you think ahead. If you’ve planned any outside decorations, they might need to be weighted down or bought inside and candles will either need to be put in enclosed lanterns or swapped for LED versions. Similarly, drinks tables planned for outside might need to move to a more sheltered spot – no one wants glasses toppling over at the wrong moment.

Wedding photos can look amazing in the wind but we know that you won’t want your veil flying everywhere in every single shot! A simple clothes peg can attach your veil to the back of your dress and hold it in place perfectly. On a windy day, your hair stylist might need to apply additional product to keep your hair in place or add more grips and pins but again, it’s not a problem.

The team at GreenAcres Woodland Weddings are well used to thinking on their feet and whatever the weather, they’ll be able to come up with a plan to make sure your wedding day is absolutely perfect. In fact, we’ll make sure that every cloud has a silver lining…

 

Credits:

Image1: Top Left via Inspired Bride | Top Right via Elle | Bottom Left via Oh Best Day Ever | Bottom Right SMS Photography on Pop Sugar

Image 2: Left via Pinterest | Top Right The Image is Found on One Fab Day | Bottom Right via Inked Weddings

Image 3: Left Aly Carroll on Green Weddings Shoes | Top Right Cat Mayer Studio on Stonewood Vintage | Bottom Right Urban Fig Photography on Something Turquoise