Why you shouldn’t bother with national wedding fairs

Since becoming engaged I have been absolutely bombarded with wedding spam. I’ve had friends and family throwing recommendations at me (this isn’t a bad thing – it’s been super helpful) and even all of my Facebook adverts are in reference to “vintage weddings” – although I’ve never specified that is something I’d like. But clearly I’m a target for big money.

One thing I struggled with early on is finding local businesses. You can have all the adverts and glossy features you want in the wedding magazines, but if you’re a bride-to-be living outside of London, quite frankly, these magazines would be better used to start a bonfire.

So, off to the local wedding fairs we went. I think I visited 2 or 3 local ones with my sister (Maid of Honour) and another 2 with Joe, and I can’t stress how helpful they were. We actually found our suit hire company at a local fair, and at another we found almost all of our ideas for table and venue decorations.
However, we intended these to be “warm ups” for a big national wedding show. Originally we wanted to visit London in the spring for some fairs, but this was when we were planning a 2014 wedding. Now that it’s in only 5 months (!!!) we decided to go to the Manchester Wedding Show on my birthday instead, hoping to have a nice morning out of the house and make our final bookings.

But, it was utterly awful.

We are fairly organised. At the point of the fair, we were 6 months away from the big day, and knew exactly what we were after: DJs, centerpieces and bridesmaid dresses. The day was a failure for a number of reasons.

  • They had 1 person there who did DJ’ing on the side, no bridesmaid dresses at all, and the decorations there were all by one sole supplier (we had already enquired with this venue dresser previously who quoted us just over £4000 to decorate our venue. Pardon me, but I didn’t pay that much for my car.)
  • Nearly all of the exhibitors were venues, photographers or wedding dresses, all of which we already had arranged.
  • This show was no bigger than any local fair and I felt that it was completely and utterly mis-marketed.
  • They charged us £9 for the privilege. That’s right. 18 quid it cost us to be let down. Not including the £7 parking.

Here is Joe looking relatively unimpressed with his ‘Groom’ badge…
I thought that perhaps I was just too far gone in the planning process to go to these fairs, but today my sister took me to another local one at a venue which she used to work at, in the hope of seeing some old friends and perhaps even getting some finishing touches arranged. It was fantastic. There was free champagne, wine and food, and it looks like we found a DJ as well as our centerpieces.

Karen x

6 months to go

It’s coming around quicker than I thought it would but we’re now counting down the final 6 months to the wedding. Eek!

The last wedding update I did was at 8 months to go. Here is what we have done since then:

Weddings rings
We bought the wedding rings in August. Mine only took a week to come in, but as my finger size isn’t available in stores, it had to be shipped off to be re-sized. That said, it all went rather smoothly. Joe’s, however, hadn’t arrived after a month so he enquired and was told they’d made an error and it needed re-ordering. When it finally arrived, Ernest Jones gave us 10% off our entire order for the inconvenience as well as a bottle of bubbly to say sorry. Winner!
P.S The size difference between our rings is hilarious. I’ll show you once we’re married…

Invites
All of the day invites have been sent and we’re starting to get most of the RSVP’s back. The evening invites have been written and will be going out next week. I’m loving that so many of our guests are going to be staying in the hotel with us! As I have quite a big family, it’s not often we’re able to get together, so I’m super excited and mega grateful for everyone really getting involved.
By the way, for those that have asked, I did make the invites myself. I will be doing a post on this at a later date but i want to wait until after the wedding so I’m not broadcasting the details to the whole world. Not that I have stalkers or anything…That’d be weird.

Joe’s room
Although we’re not generally a traditional bunch, we did decide that Joe would stay in a different hotel the night before the wedding. This is booked and he’ll be sharing a room with his best man, just like I’ll be sharing my room with Amy, my sister, best friend and Maid of Honour 🙂

Chair covers
Booked and paid for. Easily the most boring task of the wedding so far.

Photographer picked
Really chuffed with our choice of photographer and relieved we’ve got this booking done and dusted. More on this later…

Cake
We’ve picked our cake, and done some tasting (it was in the name of the wedding. I in no way just wanted to binge….) and we’re just waiting on some final details before booking next week. BOOM!

Fitness regime
I couldn’t put it off any longer. I’ve started with a personal trainer to get my butt into gear. My dress fitting is going to be either just before or just after Christmas, and with all the ‘cupcake tasting’ I’ve been doing, I definitely need some help.

Groomsmen’s suits
These are booked and paid for! I’m going to do a post on this separately, but needless to say, it was an awesome day and another huge task polished off.

Phew! That sounds like a lot doesn’t it? It still feels like we have plenty to get stuck into though. I have a week off work now to finalise the last big bookings we need to make and I’m hoping most of the planning is done before Christmas meaning that the New Year will be left free for fittings, alterations, fitness, and hen and stag weekends 🙂

Until the next update…

Karen x

Wishlist Wednesday: A lime green wedding

Our invites have started going out now so there’s no disguising that our colour scheme for the wedding is lime green, black and white.

It took us ages to decide on a colour scheme (what a surprise, we were indecisive about something!) but now that we’ve picked, I can’t stop looking at pretty lime green wedding pictures online.

(Most of them I found on Pinterest. Seriously, how were weddings ever planned before this site?)

I thought I’d share a collection of my favourite images with you that have given me inspiration!

My wish for this week is to have them all!

Over the next few months, I’ll have to carefully select where to use the colours on the big day because if i get too carried away it will look like we’re getting married in a swamp. A very pretty swamp.

Karen x

8 months to go…

So the wedding is technically less than 8 months away now. AAAAAAAHHHHH!

Or I supposed you could say it’s about 237 days away.
Or 33-ish weeks.
Or 341,920 minutes.
Or 20,476,280 seconds.

But who’s counting?

Since we booked the venue in July, wedding plans have really started to move along. We’ve only been engaged 3 and a half months but it feels like the idea of this wedding has been around much longer!

Since last month we have:

  • Paid the deposit for the venue and booked our family into rooms for the weekend
  • Given notice with the registrar and posted our marriage certificates to the council of where we’re getting married
  • Picked our ceremony music and readings
  • Ordered the invites
  • Booked our honeymoon – Cuba here we come!
  • I’ve bought my wedding dress
  • Started buying the room and table decorations
  • Picked our wedding rings – yet to purchase but it’s just a matter of waiting for another payday!
  • Started a Facebook group for the hen night and it looks like this will be planned in the next few weeks.
  • And it seems as if Joe’s stag do plans are coming on pretty good too!

I’d say that’s not bad! 🙂
Bored of wedding stuff? Joe has been working hard on the garden and I’ll be posting about that later this week. Toodlepip for now.

Karen x

Nine months to go…

No, I’m not pregnant. Have I put on weight or something? Everyone keeps asking me this!

Joe and I are getting married in April 2013.

We’ve been engaged three months now and will be married in nine. AHHHHHHHH!!!

I know that originally we were going to set the date for 2014 to allow for more savings, but it turns out, things change.

Joe and I took three days off work last week to visit seven potential venues that we had narrowed down from the hundreds online.

It was so much fun. We got to stay overnight in Chester, go to the zoo and generally indulge ourselves into wedding fever and be away from home tasks. We were given cupcakes, free champagne and personalised treats – they really know how to flatter you to get your business.

By the Wednesday, after visiting all seven, we weighed up what we liked, cost and availability, and narrowed it down to two venues.

One of them was Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa in Nantwich.

We absolutely loved it immediately but since it was the first venue we visited, we found ourselves comparing the others to this one.

However, Rookery was almost completely booked up for the next two years apart from Fridays and Sundays here and there so we tried to keep this in mind when looking at other venues. These Friday and Saturdays though, were being offered at discount prices to fill up their diary.

As you may have guessed, this is exactly what we went for.

The fact is, the other venue that we loved was so quirky, different and were more flexible with dates, but the rooms were too large for our guest list, and quite frankly, we were sold on day one to Rookery Hall.

When we made our decision to have the wedding next year, we took my mum and dad to see what they thought, and we got their approval.

So we’re all booked and it’s official.

Getting giddy, later that day I did a Google Image search for the venue, to get some photography ideas and just to feel smug at our good decision. I found loads of pictures of The Beckhams. It turns out, that’s where they announced their engagement. Aren’t we posh!

Here is the venue. I’m so excited to let everyone know the date and get our invites sorted over the next month.

We aren’t doing Save The Dates any more (which I never liked anyway because they are shortened down to STD – ew) because it’s so soon that we might as well just send the invites.

When we were all booked up, we popped along to see Joe’s parents and had some bubbly to celebrate. This next few weeks I’ll be diving into wedding invitations – yes, I’m making them myself – and trying on my first wedding dress. Here it goes!
Karen x

Wishlist Wednesday – A wedding that’s ‘us’

I haven’t done a wedding-related Wishlist Wednesday yet, but as we’re gearing up to view some potential venues in the next few weeks, I think it’s about time I did!

I’ve been looking for inspiration since we became engaged. What type of wedding do we want? Should we have a theme? What colours do we like? What kind of dress will suit my figure? Honestly, there is a LOT to consider.

I find that magazines are quite samey and generally I want our wedding to be traditional in the sense that I want my step-dad to give me away, my groom to make a speech,  and to not see each other before the big day – those traditions.

In terms of the rest, I think I’d want to do something really different.

There are plenty of ‘real stories‘ in magazines and a lot of them are fab. But after reading two or three, they all blend into one. I stumbled across this blog post which is honestly the best wedding I’ve seen – Dorian & Lynn’s geeky elegant dino museum wedding.


I can see myself and Joe stealing borrowing a lot of these ideas as a starting point. After all, Joe took me to Manchester Museum so I could see the dinosaurs just before he popped the question. Perhaps that’s why I love it so much.

I hope our wedding is as creative and memorable, but in our own way.

Karen x