I never thought I’d be very interested in doing wedding fairs – having been to a few when I was engaged myself I always left feeling overwhelmed by the volume of suppliers, underwhelmed by their ideas, uninspired and empty handed – and I realise now not one of the suppliers we used for our own wedding came from one of the wedding fairs I attended. Everything seemed so old-hat, out-dated ideas were being sold as ‘classic’, everyone seemed to work by a colour scheme (and couldn’t understand that I didn’t have one.. and that my only ‘scheme’ was ‘mismatch’), I was seen as crazy for not wanting chair covers.. I wanted to make a lot of the elements myself.. I felt like I was looking in all the wrong places.
When my business started to grow I had couples and other photographers asking me if I exhibited, and I always said it wasn’t really part of my plan.. but as I grew a bit more confident in my work I realised I wouldn’t mind putting it out there a little more, but I didn’t really know where to start. I heard along the way that you should only advertise and exhibit in places you’d go yourself to look for a photographer – which immediately ruled out all the football stadium and huge function room wedding events in the area..
I knew if I wanted to bite the bullet and set up my first exhibitor’s stand it would have to be somewhere different, alternative, a bit more special and hopefully somewhere a bit more intimate than your average wedding fair.. with pretty stands.. and exhibitors and organisers who realise that you don’t need to do everything by tradition.. and understand that you can put your own stamp on your wedding day.. whatever that may be.. and give you a personal service.. and attendees can choose vendors, crafters, makers, bakers, photographers, florists, hair dressers and make up artists that don’t make couples feel like they were sitting on the production line of a wedding factory. This is when I realised the fair I’d been looking for was tucked away nearby in the beautiful Victorian seaside town of Saltburn. The Wedding Institute.
I enquired through the lovely Vicky Trainor (co-founder of the fair with Becky Mitchell) and luckily they had a spot available for their April fair. I snapped it up immediately. Then nerves kicked in a little bit… I scoured the internet for ideas for my stall and started to get organised..
I’m now in the process of sorting out flyers, I’ve had a few more sample albums made, prints are being printed, I’ve been sourcing and cleaning up frames and I’m persuading David that, on the day of the fair, he’s going to have to help me cart furniture from our home over to Saltburn Art School to set out in my space.. (he doesn’t really understand why I’m going to need to take our bedroom chest of drawers out of the house for the day.. then put everything back but I assure him he’ll ‘get it’ when he sees it…)
I’m feeling all jittery, excited and nervous in a really good way, it’s a first-day-of-school type feeling..
Wish me luck..