Wedding fairs, the daunting events where you walk around not making eye contact and have your head phones on faking a phone call or listening to anything to drown out the calls from scary vendors. Well that was my experience of them anyway, out of 5 weddings fairs I went to I only enjoyed one (where I actually met my amazing florist for my day).
However the weekend before last literally changed my view on them completely, when I decided to pop along to Devonport Guildhall to see the vendors at The Bespoke Bride Guide organised by the beautiful twin duo Sophie and Laura.
These beautiful ladies decided to start their own wedding directory after spending huge amounts of time trawling through the internet trying to find unique vendors when planning their own weddings.
They have linked arms with some incredible designers and crafts professionals, to help brides to find something personal and unique for their special day. All coming together in a beautiful unique wedding ceremony venue they created a truly wonderful experience.
Come on Louise, I hear you say, tell us about these AWESOME people. Well I am biased of course because some good friends of mine were attending the fair, however from attending, EVERY single vendor there were not only amazing at what they do, but actually really WONDERFUL people too; people you would want to be a part of your special day, people who can add those final touches that you have envisaged in your 'dream wedding' plan.
First impressions are so important and walking up the road that leads to Devonport Guildhall, with the blue sky and sun shining warming the buildings Roman style architecture, it was a great view; a great view added to by the welcoming I received from Cybels Vintage Hire wedding caravan. You can hire this quirky caravan, kitted out for afternoon tea with vintage china and a perfect venue for a wedding photo booth. Photo booths have become very popular at wedding receptions, it allows the guests to have the fun of dressing up and creating some amazing memories.
Zoe-Ann and Amanda, the lovely ladies behind the business provide an amazing hire service that can complete the theme of your day. They offer hire of teacups and saucers, tablecloths, bunting and even some vintage wooden games. Zoe-ann has been passionate about collecting vintage items since she was young and I was very excited to know we share a love of old books.
Climbing the steps to the fair, I was passed by lots of smiling young ladies with partners, mums and friends alike. I am a sucker for a smile, so I was drawn like a magpie to jewellery straight into the fair to meet the lovely Sophie and Laura for the first time.
They greeted all of their guests personally, which displayed the passion they have for what they are doing and the service they are providing. We all know I love a good chin wag so I felt at home.
All of their guest brides received a goody bag and a chip for a free drink as well.
The first vendor I saw was a good friend of mine Danielle Donnelly who is an award winning stationary designer and owner of the newly open Wedding Hub. Danielle was sharing some of the incredible creations from the beautiful designers who display in her shop.
The key thing that strikes me about Danielle's businesses is her eye for beautiful creations and uniqueness. Not only are her stationary designs beautiful she stocks equally BEAUTIFUL items such as material flower bouquets, INCREDIBLE cakes and STUNNING jewellery. All bespoke, meaning you are not likely to have a guest wearing the same as you on your big day.
Danielle is one of the most confident and focused business women I have had the chance to meet and on speaking to her I am very excited for the future of her business ventures.
Another lovely, incredibly savvy business woman and creative was next for me to see. Claire Thomas of La Beau nail studio. Claire and all the ladies at La Beau are amazingly talented and on the day of the event were even offering free manicures and pimms. These ladies KNOW how to make you feel special. The ever expanding business has been growing and growing since it opened in 2008 and has welcomed celebrity clients on their visits to the area.
'The salon is known for its friendly atmosphere and welcoming tranquility, as well as its host of refreshing, reviving treatments' Labeaunailstudio.co.uk.
I had my nails pampered at La Beau for my own wedding in 2013 and I would highly recommend you visit these lovely ladies with your bridesmaids and mums. It is a beautiful studio with an amazing atmosphere.
As I was eyeing up the Pimms at the La Beau stand I was surrounded by the most beautiful 'rustic' styled display from Green & Pip. I was enchanted by the rural feel of Pip's designs, each bouquet and table decoration had an elegant wild crafted feel about it. I could imagine many a bride loving the simplicity and elegance for their special day. I didn't get to chat much to Pip because prospected couples flocked to her original display; evidence that what Green & Pip offer is right on the mark.
From rustic and rural to pretty and pink. Hannah Burnett floristry was displaying a collection of very feminine wedding flowers. Hannah and I met on a wedding in April, where she styled the ceremony room with beautiful hanging jars of 'hand picked' flowers.
I may have scared Hannah off her seat with my approach to her table as she was very focused on a task, however she continued to greet me with a smile. What I love about Hannah's business is not only are her flowers eye catching and beautiful, she continues this style through her business stationary and website.
Now I am a stationary geek so when I see any invitations, name cards or table plans I go walk at the knees. Knots & Kisses, owned by the beautiful and eccentric Nikki (who has a love for the same films as me, yes I talk about everything. Being nosey is my job) was a delight to talk to and was helped on the day by her hubby, who was showing proposed clients the beautiful designs Nikki creates.
It was an absolute pleasure to speak to such a lovely industry professional, it always makes my day to know that brides are getting amazing, friendly and special service.
What I also love about Knots & Kisses is that as a business it thrives to meet a very high standard, 'you are only as good as your last wedding' was the discussion I had with Nikki.
I am looking forward to the rebranding that is currently underway, to see what Nikki will do next.
Are you enjoying this? I know I am, we have already had some amazing professionals with a huge variety of skills but also huge personalities. I would love to hang out for coffee and cake with these people.
The overall feeling from Sophie and Laura's event was that of uniqueness and that 'something special'. For me nothing could have been more true to this than the services of The Guide of Cornish Celebrants, who provide bespoke wedding ceremonies in any location and style. Talking to the founders Nicola and Denise time flew, I could have conversed with these passionate and dynamic ladies for hours.
Nicola and Denise have a wonderful vision of providing unique and truly special ceremonies, they have a true love and dedication to people and it shines through when you meet them. I was so interested in what they do that I am actually writing an article dedicated to them soon, so for now I will leave the full details (if you are an eager beaver then please visit their website).
Speaking of cake...
The Little Lark Cake Company where showcasing some incredible designs, including a 'chalk board' style cake finished off with some delicate and beautiful hand crafted icing flowers.
Each cake that was on display showed just how varied you can be and how you really can add your own personality, even to the cake. These were no Victoria sponge (though that is my favourite cake as my grandma well knows).
From sugar bouquets to broaches. The last vendor I had the privilege to speak to was the owner of Flourish, who's stand was not to disappoint any magpie's eye.
The team are just about to open a physical shop in Hooe, allowing them to display more of their incredible broach bouquets for you to see as well as their flower arrangements. There will be a VIP opening event, so do keep an eye out for that.
At this point in the fair I had actually stayed for nearly 2 hours and I had to leave before I was able to have a huge conversation with Flourish or the remaining vendors who attended. I met a wonderful photographer, Meg's photos, who not only had a great visual display, she did attempt to kill me with her lazer vision when I told her I was a photographer too. Ironically I spent so much time chatting to Meg I didn't focus on getting any shots of her display (sorry Meg).
What I want to say to you all, if I did not get a chance to see your display or speak at length with you, I can only apologise but I can not take the blame for every one of you being so awesome and friendly that I got lost in the world of unique weddings.
It took me so much longer to write this post, due to the volume of awesome pictures I was able to capture and the vast amount of wonderful, positive and inspiring experiences at the event.
I LOVE weddings and anything to do with them, but I will admit that Sophie and Laura's event have made me rekindle with the WHY!
Go and check out the guide NOW!