So on Sunday I went to a wedding fayre at the Crowne Plaza hotel, Birmingham. This was my second wedding fayre – the first being at the Cotswold Lodge, Oxford, and very early on in our planning. This time we’re close to the end, so we told suppliers we were there for the finishing touches, which may be stretching the truth a little. We didn’t really have any intention of buying anything, but we decided to look, just in case, and cheifly we were there for an outing, a glass of champagne, and the general excitement of being an engaged couple out doing an engaged couple thing (it never occured to me that it would be worth going to a wedding fayre with anybody other than the Fiance, then again, he remembers someone at his old work whining about having to drive her sister to wedding fayres every weekend, so maybe nobody would want to go!). Then again, we went to the Cotswold Lodge wedding fayre with no intention of buying anything, and that’s where we found out about the rickshaws.
When IS the best time to go to a wedding fayre? When you’re at the venue stage? Or when you’re looking for photographers? Or jewellery? Surely things like jewellery are going to get sorted much much later than photographers? So perhaps there isn’t a right time or a wrong time (well, there is a wrong time: there’s before you’re engaged or when you’re already married)…
The Crowne Plaza Hotel stands in the middle of Birmingham, elevated from the street on top of a massive concrete car park. This wasn’t a very good start, and I wasn’t that impressed with the inside of the hotel either, though the bar was okay. On the other hand, I was very impressed with the management – the hotel representatives at the fayre were friendly and interested, very hospitable and welcoming. The kind of people who made me think: Yes! I’d love to leave organising something important in their hands: I’d feel completely relaxed and assured they’d do a reliable job, probably better than I would. And I am very, very highly stung. Or so I am told…
We also got two glasses of champagne each instead of one, and the second one was massive because they “might as well finish off the bottle”.
There were several interesting stalls at the wedding fayre, and we went round and chatted to all of them, but in a quick summary – there were some very nice but not especially exciting floristry, table decor and cake stands (we did get to try a cake, and I did admit we wanted to make ours and she gave me some advice), a singer, a guitar and flute playing pair, a rather fun DJ twosome who sounded veyr together about providing cover for emergencies and stressed that you could GET HOLD OF THEM, which is apparently a problem with DJs. There was a wishing well hire place, with a wishing well in our colours, a caracaturist who couldn’t spell “stationery” and a Sikh family business who put pictures onto glass (except it wasn’t real glass, but it looked like glass). There was also someone who made bridal jewellery, and although I said I didn’t like pearls, was very keen for feedback because it was her first wedding fayre. There was a woman called Karla Saunders who ran an exercise course for getting fit in the run up to the wedding and a few stationers I had a sniff around for final ideas for orders and table plans. Also, a couple of photographers.
There was also a rather interesting stall which caught my eye covered with fascinators priced from £5.99 and hair pieces et cetera. They will actually come to your house and let you try on all sorts of bits in a group of girls. They were called Fascination. They didn’t have a website on their card, though, just a telephone number. I loved the mini top hats.
Now, one of the photographers deserves a few extra words. This is Jon Keeling Photography – and whilst we’re not even considering them, I’m going to big them up. Why? Because when we told them we had a friend doing our photography they gave us something.
You may need to open the image location in a new tab and zoom to read it – but the gist is, a helpful list of things to check through with your photographer to make sure the contract’s in order, you’re covered for eventualities and they have everything they need to do their job well – from the expertise to information about the venue. It is VERY comprehensive, and whilst we have gone through all this stuff already, it’s definitely worth checking off their list too.
I think it’s a great thing to do. In the end, if we make sure our photographer is good, we’re reassured because of the help we’ve been given, and will recommend them (um… like I’m doing now?), and if we’d found a fault in our photographer and decided we weren’t happy, we’d have someone we find trustworthy on hand (would’ve been a bit last minute for our wedding, but you get the idea). So anyway, I just wanted to say Thank You for this to Jon Keele Photography.