Our Wedding Birds

wedding_aeAs I mentioned in my 2017: The Rebloggening post, I recently got married to my longtime partner Ellie. We had an absolutely amazing day and it was so great being able to share it with all our family and friends. But it wouldn’t have truly been my ideal wedding without the inclusion of my favourite feathered friends.

At first, I was amazed that Ellie handed over control of the table plan and table number decorations to me, but then she said that she liked the idea of featuring our favourite British birds. I needed no more of an invitation to get working! Below are the final designs we used on the day – click on each individual bird for a closer look.

I was very happy with how they turned out, and below are a few of them in action during the big day itself. Out of all of them, I think the pheasant has to be my favourite. It took the longest to produce, but I really love its wealth of colours and patterns. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any favourites or if there is anything I can improve upon next time.

Of course, we take our birds seriously here at BBS, so I had to take it a step further for the big table plan design. The plan was to try and create a somewhat phylogentically meaningful layout of the tables to represent the evolutionary relatedness of their birds! During my PhD research, I’d come across a great paper detailing the genetic tree of 249 British bird species [1], so using this as a guide, I set about incorporating it into my table plan design as much as possible.

Anyone that has had to organise a wedding table plan will probably be aware that getting the right numbers of people sittingΒ  in the right spots whilst keeping certain individuals separated is no easy feat – especially when you’re trying to figure out who you can get away with putting on the “tit table”.

The goldfinch has become an iconic bird in the relationship between me and my wife, and we knew that was going to be our top table. This was a bit problematic for the phylogeny, but eh, it was our big day – we can rewrite the course of avian evolution for just a few hours.

Overall, I was able to group the passerines (apart from the goldfinch) together and the raptors together and so on, and I was happy with how it turned out. It’s not going to win any awards for accuracy and the true phylogenetic distances are non-existent, but I felt that it succesfully reflected some of my passion for the science of birds whilst still being functional and looking pretty.

Hopefully I’ll be starting a few more creative endeavours this year, and I’ll be sure to keep you all updated with whatever plans I’m cooking up! Cheers!

[1] Thomas, G. H. (2008). Phylogenetic distributions of British birds of conservation concern. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 275(1647), 2077–2083. http://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2008.0549

12 thoughts on “Our Wedding Birds

  1. Congratulations, though as a newly wed it might be a good idea to avoid mention of “anything I can improve upon next time”. Wives can be funny about that sort of thing. πŸ™‚

    As for birds, you’ve chosen a good selection, but puffins take a lot of beating.

    Liked by 1 person

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