From February to April ( and again in Sept and October) it is wedding fair season! Across the country you will find hotels, marquees, village halls and all manor of venues filled with an eclectic mix of wedding suppliers.
There are the traditional types - dresses, cake makers, hairdressers and florists
There are the contemporary and on trend - vintage hire, prosecco vans and photo booths
And then there are the dam right original and unique - 'cheese' vans, macrame bunting and space hopper hire.
But we are all there together early on a Sunday morning emptying our cars and vans of boxes, display items and promotional materials. Carting things back and forth as we each try to build an eye catching display into our 6ft allocated space. I confess I tend to rock up about half hour before 'kick off' and layout my wares. Mainly because if I gave myself more time I would spend it moving everything around only to end up with it in the same place I started! So instead I can set up, grab a cup of tea then chat and network with the other exhibitors.
Being that there is only a finite number of fairs in the area with a finite number of suppliers, I have got to know my fellow exhibitors quite well over the last few years. We can gossip about bridezillas and swap notes on upcoming weddings - you can actually get more business from networking than you can from the brides to be sometimes!
Then it's 11 o'clock and the doors are open. Brides and their entourage flock in to peruse the ideas and inspiration on offer. There's a real mix of ages and genders. Brides and their mums, brides and their friends, brides and their grooms. The mums tend to be sensible with reasoning and budget control. The friends tend to be over enthusiastic and over the top with their suggestions and ideas. And the grooms tend to either be 'rabbit caught in the headlight' scared - or frankly bored and have no comprehension what the fuss is about!
Some couples are newly engaged and have no date or venue in mind, others are in the final stretch of planning with the wedding imminent. Either way my role is to smile, talk flowers and send them away impressed and with my business card in hand. It's a long day - but great fun to meet such a mix of brides to be. It's a real happy occasion as everyone is full of dreams and exhibitors are working hard to help them realise those dreams.
Hopefully brides go away with goody bags full of leaflets, samples and business cards - and exhibitors go away with notebooks of contacts to follow up and ultimately........ bookings!
But as a bride..... what do you want from a wedding fair?
These images are from the fabulous Tim Lamerton. A regular at north Devon wedding fairs offering great wedding photography. They were taken at the Clovelly Village wedding fair in April. It definitely wins the 'fair with the best view' award and who could resist a donkey or two!
Donkeys at Clovelly - who wouldn't want one at their own wedding!
Jax's cakes - I love the sugar roses and the marbling. Grey and pink is very on trend!
And the man behind the photos - the fabulous Tim Lamerton himself!