I know, I know, I’m still banging on about it! But I can’t help it.
The Wedding Walkthrough was an idea that I had a few months ago. You see, I’ve been to quite a lot of wedding fayres over the years and I sort of have mixed feelings about them. On the one hand, they’re fantastic - if you want to spend an afternoon wandering through a venue and looking at a wealth of suppliers, it can be really useful. You’ll see lots of great ideas and tick off lots on the list all in one day. But they can be very impersonal. It can be a bit awkward and intimidating, and you may not get chance to speak to everyone. Chances are you’ll go home with a hundred business cards and you might not feel much further forward.
I’m also going to let you into a secret - at most of these events, suppliers have to pay quite a significant amount of money to be there. So you may not actually be seeing the very best people, but just the ones who are willing or able to afford to take part.
(I’ll just add here that this is not usually the case for venue showcases or open days. They are a really good opportunity to visit your preferred venues, to see them dressed and get a real feel for the suppliers they use. I’m sure you’ll have a proper opportunity to talk to them all, and they’ll genuinely be your top picks!)
I just felt like it was time for something new, and I figured I'd do something about it. After all, one of the main things I try to do as a wedding planner is to help people find the right suppliers; with my weekly features, a list of 100 of my favourite businesses which goes out to all my couples, and by doing research on each of my couple's specific needs. Why not put on an event where I can show off some of my top hand-picked suppliers and where they can all showcase together?
The vision was to move away from regular wedding fayres with lots of tables and stands and roller banners, and actually showcase the suppliers’ work in all of its glory. I was going to choose a venue, pick a stylist, dress everything as a wedding would be dressed, and allow people to take their time browsing everything on offer. It would help people envisage how their day would come together and they’d have chance to talk more in detail with everyone and ask their questions to suppliers.
I found a venue pretty quickly - I don’t live too far from Rock Village Hall and knew it would make the perfect setting. Lovely grounds, stunning views and a blank canvas space that could be dressed beautifully. It’s a venue I feel works really well for a wedding, can be done totally DIY and is on a very achievable budget for most couples. I went to take a look, got the date booked in the diary and we were on to a winner!
I decided to hire some chiavari chairs to achieve the look we wanted in the room. I used a contact I had made a few months ago at the National Wedding Show, and who I’ve been booking for all my furniture needs ever since! Dane and Gavin from Event Furniture Hire got us all kitted out and were amazing on the day, not only putting the chairs out for us but making sure we weren’t struggling with any of the other heavy lifting either!
So, those were the main bits sorted. I had a shortlist of suppliers I wanted to speak to about showcasing and helping me to dress the space, and so plans got underway. It took weeks of talks and plenty of conversations, but things were coming together. Thankfully, I trusted in my suppliers so much that I knew I could leave it in their capable hands to deliver the goods.
Everything was going swimmingly. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried planning an event in a pandemic, but it’s actually pretty tricky! I felt we’d got away quite lightly and, although I was getting a bit nervous as the day came nearer, I was super optimistic about everything going to plan. Until… two weeks before the day, I was pinged by Track & Trace. Bugger.
I had visited my family for my little nephew’s birthday - everyone had been taking their lateral flow tests which all came back negative, and nobody had any symptoms. But the morning after we had all been together, two of them came back with separate positive tests. And then so did their parents. All I could do was wait to see if it would get me too! Oh my days, it was horrific having such an anxious wait. I tested for 7 days straight as required, negative every time, and it seemed that we were out of the woods. I had been so lucky not to have caught it. But on the eighth day, my parents, who had also been with us and who I’d since had further contact with, decided to be safe and take just one more test… positive. Shit.
Obviously my biggest concern was that everyone was okay, which thankfully they were! Mild symptoms and a few days in isolation and we were all good. But I was panicking. We were now at the stage where if I was to test positive, I would remain in isolation for the weekend that I was meant to be running the fayre! After two years of dodging this thing, why does it have to get me now?! I had brief moments where I thought I would have to postpone, or cancel altogether. I was frantically searching through my contacts to see who could come and lend a hand. My sister and mum, who had both offered to come to help out, were both still in isolation and I was running out of options. I don’t think I’ve ever been so stressed in my life - I’d been planning this for months, people had booked tickets. It was a nightmare!
BUT. Everything was okay. I have no idea how I dodged it, but I did. On Friday, my mum and sister both came out of isolation too and by Saturday, we were good to go! I can’t believe how relieved I felt, and how surreal it was that it was actually going to happen.
I arrived early on the Saturday morning to be let into the venue, Dane followed behind shortly after with our trusty chairs, and our suppliers began arriving in due course.
We had Emma from Simply Bows & Chair Covers Worcestershire to dress the chiavari chairs with beautiful white drapes and simple, white ribbons.
We had Sarah of Venue Styling by Floyd who dressed our stunning ceremony space with her wooden arch, white drapes and florals, as well as candles down the aisle. She also created her own gorgeous set up with the rustic love letters, postboxes, props and signage too!
Anna from Hedge & Berries provided beautiful flowers - eucalyptus and foliage down the main tablescape with pretty pew ends in green and white, as well as a stunning arrangement at the entrance to the venue and beautiful bouquets to match the theme.
Shelley AKA SJW Celebrant was chatting to couples about the options for their ceremonies and the possibilities that hiring a celebrant can bring.
Rustic Roast Kitchen provided some beautiful food samples for everyone (which we all agreed were DELICIOUS) including mini sliders, tomato & mozzarella skewers and beautiful bruschetta.
Julie from Gatehouse Brides was on hand to talk to brides about their wedding gowns and had some stunning samples to show off.
The Green Bean Cake Co proudly displayed their incredible cakes, and handed out some samples in two amazing flavours - strawberry & prosecco and salted caramel. They were divine!
I collected some gorgeous stationery from Bella Peach Creative which was displayed for everyone to see and give some inspo on invitations, table plans and name cards. There was such an amazing selection!
David from Confetti Wedding Cars brought Amy, his 2CV, and was chatting to couples about all their transport needs (as well as the brilliant Bootlid Brides too!).
Par-tee Events came along to provide some entertainment with their fabulous mini golf and lawn games for everyone to try - thank you for braving the weather, I’m so happy the rain (mostly!) stayed away!
And outside we had not one but TWO beautiful horsesboxes. Emma from Peggy Sue’s Mobile Bars brought along her trailer and offered guests a drink on arrival - a gin concoction made with their own Peggy Sue’s personalised gin, and delicious mocktails too!
And the lovely Betty’s Waffle Co were giving out samples of their delicious waffles. I can personally recommend the Biscoff flavour, and I heard rave reviews about the Cookies & Cream too!
Shout out to The Wedding House too who allowed us to borrow some amazing charger plates, lanterns and candles to create a tablescape of dreams.
I also asked Nick Brightman to come down as I had seen so much of his work online and I love his style of photography. I’d met him recently at a wedding fayre and he was great to chat to, plus his setup is just stunning! He very kindly agreed to take some photos of the day for us, so that you can see all the work our suppliers did to make everything look beautiful. All the pictures you see here in this blog were snapped by Nick on the day.
Everyone was just a dream to work with on the day - I can’t thank the suppliers enough for all their hard work leading up to the event and being so wonderful on the day too. We had a brilliant turn out of couples who were all so engaged and seemed to genuinely love everything that was on offer. Lots of people made enquiries, so I’d say it was a job well done!
A special shout out too to Orla who came down to help with welcoming everyone on the day, and to my mum and my sister who wanted to show support and lend a hand. I appreciate all of their running around, them making cups of tea, taking care of the suppliers and making sure I knew I had an army to help when it was needed.
I had a blast, and I hope you all did too. There’s definitely more in the pipelines… so watch this space!
Thanks again to Nick Brightman for his amazing photography and capturing our lovely day so beautifully!