This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
Living in the modern world means always being on the move. As our wise friend Austen once said “Life is but a quick succession of busy nothings” and though we embrace the wonders of technology and love the chaos of family life, there are times when we’d all like to press pause and get lost in the moment.
Happy Valley, a wilderness retreat in Norfolk promotes the health benefits of a woodland wedding and helps transform those “busy nothings” into one special something – a once-in-a-lifetime memory.
Yes, the backdrop is beautiful, and the pictures will be stunning, but we believe it goes deeper than that and there is now scientific evidence to suggest that spending time in nature leads to a happier, healthier you.
At Happy Valley, guests are encouraged to swap a soak in the bath for a bathe in the forest. Taken from the Japanese name, Shinrin Yoku, Forest Bathing encourages you to soak up nature’s stunning surroundings and appreciate life’s precious moments unplugged: phone-free, tablet-free but most importantly, stress-free.
Simply put, it’s about slowing down the pace, listening to the melodic tune of birdsong and the whispering of trees in the wind. Walking in the woods permits you to feel empowered knowing there are no rules to follow, no deadlines to meet and no expectations to fulfill. You put on your wellies, step out in nature and then breathe deeply, laugh loudly and live freely.
The Scientific Facts
- Lowers stress levels- Professor Yoshifumi reports that walking through woodlands and forests reduces stress hormones known as cortisol. This means you are less anxious and can think more clearly. It is also proven to lower blood pressure and your heart rate.
- Strengthens the immune system– being within a forest environment enhances cell activity for those natural killer cells needed to fight off illness. The phytoncide produced from trees increases the development of our cells and studies have shown those recovering from severe illness or trauma have dramatically improved. German physicians in the 1800s found that exposure to forest air promoted healing in patients with TB and in the 1918 pandemic of influenza, medics found fresh air and sunlight to aid in recovery.
- Improves your mood – according to researchers at Exeter University, those who spend two hours in nature every week or twenty minutes outside everyday, have a much better quality of life. Doctors are prescribing a healthy dose of fresh air to those with mild symptoms of depression as walking helps you to feel more positive and more in control of the world around you.
The Benefits For Your Wedding Party
- A spa for the senses – There’s no better way to feel grounded and present in the moment than standing amongst majestic trees and taking it all in. Discover what you can hear, see, smell and touch. Even the taste of the air will be crisp, fresh and pure.
- Space – Embrace the freedom that comes with roaming acres of land. Couples can stroll hand in hand, parents can wander aimlessly and children can hurtle around them all, exploring at top speed. There’s nothing more harmonious than the sound of birds singing and the joyous laughter of youngsters playing.
- Creativity – There are no limits to your imagination with an outdoor, woodland wedding. There are several locations for your ceremony, ample space for celebrating and nature provides such a colourful backdrop that you’re spoilt for choice with artistic inspiration. An added bonus, according to the University of Utah, is being in the forest helps your problem-solving part of the brain increase by 50% so the chances are your guests could become budding entrepreneurs by the end of the day!
Make your woodland wedding dreams come true with a Honeyfund wedding registry.
About the authors: Fun-loving, adventurous duo, Katy and Kirsty provide wilderness weddings and corporate retreats in the picturesque countryside of Norfolk, England. Katy is a Mum and the proud owner of Happy Valley, a Wildlife Trust site with woodland, farmland, and a little lake. Katy is also the founder of Tribe Norfolk and lover of all things vintage. Kirsty is the bilingual side-kick who coordinates events at the venue and provides skills in the baked-goods department, learnt during her time at Le Cordon Bleu. Check out our website:www.happyvalleynorfolk.co.uk and come and pay us a visit some time!
Instagram – @HappyValleyNorfolk
Facebook – Happy Valley Norfolk