How to get the most out of a Wedding Fair

We visited the Wedding Fair at Bluewater and wanted to pass on some words of advice about what to expect from a much larger wedding fair (with an admission charge)!

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DECIDE YOUR REASON FOR GOING AND WHO TO BRING

Firstly, I think you need to decide what you are going for… Are you at the early stages of your wedding and looking for ideas? Or are you on a mission to secure bookings and take advantage of discounts? Once you have made that decision, you can decide who to bring with you. For me, it’s not on my fiancés top list of things to do; but if you are going to make bookings I would advise bringing your partner so they are on board with what you have booked and have no surprises on the day. Some of the stalls are small so bringing everyone is not necessary, unless you’re planning on splitting up and briefing them with a task each!

PHOTOGRAPHY WINDOW SHOPPING

I found it was the best place to find a great photographer – lots of different options and styles of photographers ranging from the traditional to quirky, some with beautiful posed soft images and some with bright bold photos to capture the mood of the day. It’s also a really good opportunity to get chatting to them, with no strings attached, to get to know what they’re like.

TOP TIP

My biggest advice is; if you have a wedding date in mind check availability first before you fall in love with any supplier – you don’t want to waste time talking to suppliers who are fully booked on your date!

LOOKING FOR LIVE ENTERTAINMENT?

If you are looking for a band but don’t know where to start look out for a performance stage so you can hear (live!) if they really are good and what you are looking for. At Bluewater there were also some great stalls with live performances and a list of tracks to choose from, The Dotted Crotchets had such a varied playlist, I loved them! 

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WEDDING DRESS SHOPPERS

If you are looking for a dress be warned it is not quite the tranquil atmosphere of going to a bridal shop – although every effort is made to make it a comfortable experience, you will be stood in front of many members of the public oo and ahhing at you and as ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ good underwear is a must because this may also end up on display!!

MONEY SAVING GREATNESS

The best area for us was the creative brides vintage village – a regular feature at the Bluewater wedding fairs. We were invited (free of charge) to learn how to make various pieces of wedding décor – not only to help save some pennies for your big day but still have the wow factor as well as the personal touch. I loved the simple double sided paper cones, easy to make and very versatile (could be used for confetti, table favours, to hold a gift or food sweet cones around your sweet table). This would be a great chance with your bridal party to chatter and make things together or even make your children feel more included in the day! Craft hen parties are becoming popular ranging from creating fascinators to flower arranging and suitable for all ages.

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Kelci & I making our cones!

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TIME SAVER TIP…

If you are short on time or already have your wedding dress; skip the catwalk shows! The crowds all gather for these, so it is a quick way to get around a lot of suppliers and feel like you can stand back and look more at what is on offer.

FRESH IDEAS

There were some interesting stalls with fresh ideas such as booking an archery session to keep your guests entertained after the ceremony and before the evening. There was also a beautiful vintage store selling hair pieces, jewellery and tiaras but the difference with this stall is that they are all hand made to order. Tiaras by julia beazley  you can even make requests to include a family heirloom such as your Nan’s pearls on a hair band, your “something old” covered in a beautifully sentimental way. Also a great gift idea for bridesmaids, or family to give to you, as a really personal touch. Might drop some serious hints for my wedding, although not a cheap option – something that is worth the splurge if you can. 

LOOKING FOR A VENUE?

This was an area where the internet could be of the same use. Although it makes you aware of venues, because you are not actually at the venue itself it’s just pictures and leaflets to judge the venue. A lot of stalls advise it’s better going to their own wedding fairs or booking an appointments to view instead.

BE CONFIDENT

Some of the stands are clearly labelled but some just have company names so ask what service they provide if it isn’t clear so you don’t miss out! Then they should take over with informing you what they provide. If you are shy or feeling overwhelmed ask a confident friend to do the approaching for you! 

We had a great afternoon and felt inspired by the creative bride section, so if you are looking for a photographer, ideas or live entertainment I recommend attending a bigger wedding fair with a few friends in tow. Please feel free to share any of your wedding fair experiences or tips with me, and I hope to see some of you at our Wedding Fair & Open Day on the 28th of Feb!

Lauren x 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Dress Shopping – My first attempt…

Every girl dreams of the perfect wedding dress for their ‘big day’ but now I have booked my wedding I can finally waltz into a Bridal shop armed with my ‘approval army’ (my mum and bridesmaids) and try them all on!

So my plan was to start with variety, I had a rough idea of what I wanted but have heard from many wise brides that what you think you want isn’t always the dress you fall in love with or what suits your figure, so I went in open-minded!

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I walked into a well known warehouse style store only to be a little disappointed by the fact there was not the vast amount of dresses I had imagined, due to the limited in size range but I didn’t let that rain on my parade! We hit the rails and I took 4 different dresses into the lovely changing room; complete with a platform to show off the dresses (and make me look a little taller which helps with the yards of extra fabric because I am as some may say ‘vertically challenged’!)

In the changing room was a very helpful assistant to help me dress (I was border line considering whether to ask if she is also available to hire on the wedding day!!) I was ready to go and strapped  in within seconds – accessories flying at me left, right and centre at the mere mention of “but with a veil it might look different or belt or cape”.  Now we had a better idea of style we tried on more dresses in of that kind, great service!

So the fairy tale princess style dress I quickly learnt is not for me, but my mum loved it because I looked like her little girl playing dress up! Swamped by material, and a hoop made me feel like I was in a period drama, was not quite the look I was hoping for or what I presume my Fiancée will be thrilled to see down the aisle.

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Then came the more grown up sleek dresses which got the all important test of bending down.  I was informed by a friend that she hated all shots of her signing the register, as although her dress wasn’t too revealing a photographer stood up looking down on you upon high; paints a very different picture!

A self confessed emotional person, I cried everyday for 2 weeks when announcing we were engaged so I expected to cry when I saw the right dress but there were no tears!  I took this to mean the search is still on?? Next stop a smaller, privately owned wedding store with a bigger price tag. Slightly different experience; slower paced but still as helpful and then I was hit with the ordering time of “months and months”, October is not far away in the wedding dress world! Still no tears just a dress that looked good on but not sure if that is enough??  Do I just want to tick boxes or be obsessed with every beautiful detail of the dress on and off the hanger??

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Left thinking ‘I’m starving lets get food’, (can’t make decisions on an empty belly) and ‘there are a lot of dresses out there’ I need to continue the search – so more shopping is needed; hardly a chore! Biggest revelation of the day was finding out wedding dresses are really flattering, so I don’t need to spend the next 10 months dieting, but a bit of work on my bingo wings would be good!

Am I over thinking that I need to cry at the sight of my dress? Or does that even decide if it’s the one? I have cried at the first look of friends and families (for the right reasons!) They all seem to cry on those american wedding dress programs I love watching, but not a tear from myself or the approval army.  So I’d love a little advice from you – How did you find your dream dress?  Did you enjoy the experience, was it an emotional “this is the one!” type revelation, or am I expecting too much from what is essentially just some fabric??

Lauren x

How I picked my Wedding Venue

So it’s official not only did I land myself my dream job as one of the wedding coordinators at The Ferry House Inn but I have also just booked my wedding reception here!  So let me run through the reasons I chose this venue…

  1. I am a swampy (born and raised on the island) so our Ceremony will be held at our local Church on the Isle of Sheppey where myself and fiancé used to go once a week with school from the age of 4.  With the ceremony set in stone we wanted our reception venue to be close by.ray-sheppey-map.jpg
  2. Food is a big deal for both our families. If there’s something to celebrate food will play a big part! My fiancé and I love the food here so much I can’t bare the thought of sitting down to my wedding breakfast thinking the food is nicer at work! Plus, The Ferry House Inn has just been awarded an AA rosette, not too shabby at all! 47f8587ed02489f2bb703f603a73c54d
  3. I know how much work goes into each wedding from enquiring about prices to the set up on the day. I know the staff genuinely care and what standard of service to expect. I attended a party at another venue with fantastic hot buffet, spoilt for choice smiling away to then be faced with plastic knife and fork!! A bride’s nightmare! Kids party fine, but not for your wedding food – the knife only lasted 2 seconds!
  4. Paul & Dawn's Wedding at The Ferry House InnI look through so many pictures of couples wedding photos and I can’t wait to have myself, husband-to-be and family and friends featured in the pictures with amazing back drops and be able to show our future children our album and explain I didn’t just get those views on our wedding day this was my view everyday at work and holds so many memories.
  5. The new private bar for Weddings is a big box tick for us. It’s right by the dance floor (where I hope to be most of the evening) and we will definitely go for some vintage style theme, so this fits perfectly.58b5323663241010a66eae9a355aac26
  6. If there was such a thing as ‘professional wedding guests’ we would qualify with 11 wedding invites in just one year! We came to a wedding here together as guests in 2014 and had a great time so I know what the experience will be like for my guests too and if they get as merry as we did, they will have a day to remember!
  7. Some of my fiancé’s family live too far away to come just for the wedding so they can stay in the cottages and forever have their opinions changed of the Isle of Sheppey – and see if for the stunning place it really is!4f10adbbd7426d1bbe428efb38c2db8b

So that’s how we chose our venue. I hope this helps you make your choice of wedding venue and gives you ideas from a real bride-to-be that knows the industry from every angle. My next real problem is deciding on a colour scheme or theme and sticking to it! I get see so many great ideas all year round and so many pretty things on Pinterest, we have a lot more decisions ahead that I hope to share with you! If there is anything you would like to know during my wedding planning process please just leave a comment and I will share my thoughts with you.

No More Monday Blues!

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We have extended our opening hours and now open every Monday for Drinks, Lunch and Dinner! Even more chances to enjoy great food and a great view for all the Family!

4055249_origThis includes our 4* Bed&Breakfast, perfect excuse for a night out and everyone can drink, so the only challenge is climbing the stairs getting up to your lovely room!  Then after a nights sleep to wake up to a “Harty Breakfast” to help with the hangover and find out exactly what happened the night before…

What an egg-cellent breakfast!

The guys were egg-static this morning to find this many double-yolkers in one batch!! 

  

It’s Bank Holiday, Woop Woop! …

Beginning of May means an extra day off to spend with family and friends (or more importantly another day off work!)

Why not start your day with a slow drive to The Ferry House Inn and enjoy the sights of the spring lambs, calves and birds in the fields as well as fantastic scenery.

Little lambs in the field, so cute!

Little lambs in the field, so cute!

Then a cheeky drink (if your not the driver) and a tasty lunch at the pub or if the sun is out eat outside.

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Feeling stuffed from lunch take a walk or sit by the nautical climbing frame and watch your children play.

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As the sun starts to set enjoy the rainbow skies on the drive home

Rainbow sky!

Rainbow sky!

The perfect bank holiday!

Did someone say ‘New Bar’???

It’s finally happening!! Work has begun on building the Private Wedding Bar…

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Ok, so we might be missing a few elements… the actual Bar… and the Alcohol… But from being just an empty shell a few days ago, we’re more than happy with progress.

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Stay tuned, more pics coming soon…

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