Forget toasters and fondue sets – a dedication with the Woodland Trust makes the perfect present for newlyweds, a romantic and thoughtful gift that everyone can enjoy.
A couple of generations ago, couples got married young. The average age of a bride in Britain in 1971 was 22; for men, it was 24. For the most part – and despite the social change of the 1960s – those couples moved in together only when they tied the knot.
Today, every single one of those things has changed. 90% of couples in modern Britain live together before they get married, most for at least three years. They’re also usually in their 30s before they walk down the aisle, have set up their home together, and rather than just starting out on their life paths they have established good careers – with incomes to match.
Against that background it’s hardly surprising that more and more couples are looking for more meaningful alternatives to the toasters, kettles and matching dinner services which were once de rigeur for wedding presents. It’s a wonderful concept; with the practicalities of life already taken care of, how nice to be able to focus on something rather more romantic than a kitchen appliance.
And as romantic ideas go, it’s hard to think of anything which could top the idea of a tree or woodland dedication. The Woodland Trust’s scheme offers the opportunity to protect woodland for generations to come, safeguarding the trees and wildlife within.
Dedications start from a suggested donation of £20 for a single tree, moving on to £250 for a ¼ of an acre of woodland, and up to a £3,000 donation which brings with it the dedication of an entire acre of trees including a bench with a personalised, inscribed plaque.
While some similar alternatives – such as a contribution to a piece of art to go in the newlyweds’ home – will be something only for the happy couple themselves, a woodland dedication can be enjoyed available for everyone who was part of the special day for the rest of their lives.
‘We wanted to do something memorable for guests, something everyone would appreciate and wouldn’t be wasted,’ says Hannah Leonard, who asked for woodland dedication after her recent wedding. ‘We were able to choose some woodland near the venue and come up with our own dedication wording. We had a very positive reaction from guests – they hadn’t seen anything like this before at other weddings and they thought it was a great idea.’
There are areas of woodland across the whole of Britain which can be chosen, and as a thanks for the dedication the Woodland Trust will send the couple a pack with a map of the area, information about the wood and a certificate. But that, of course, is just the start: all dedications are free to visit whenever you wish, for the couple and all their family and friends. And one day, perhaps even their children and grandchildren as well.
If you’d like to find out more about the Woodland Trust’s various options, start your dedication at shop.woodlandtrust.org.uk/wedding.