It's A Nice Day For A White Wedding: Wedding Fairs and Bridal Blues

So as we all know, I'm getting married. I've been the world's worst wedding planner, mainly because I wasn't sure what I wanted, what I once thought I wanted I realised I didn't want now. It has been quite the dilly of a pickle. I've been to a couple of wedding shows and most recently (last week) I went to the big Wedding Journal Show at the King's Hall in Belfast in the hope of checking out some photographers, entertainment etc.

Catwalk Shows

The whole place was packed with exhibitors, cars, models, dresses and the works. We decided to work from the outside in and navigate our way around the show. 

Let me say this there was A LOT. I think we went into it very naive. We had a budget that we wanted to work with, neither of us wanted to start married life with giant debts and we're buying a house this year so we thought anything over £10,000 was a little bit obscene for us to pay for a day.

As we went around the show it became clear, crystal clear that everything was much more expensive than we thought it would be. There was a point where I was just getting gradually more despondent, I really didn't want to spend £20,000+ on a wedding. £22,000 is the average spend apparently. Even though a lot of people are fine with spending that, with that and a house deposit we're getting into crazy times. 

Lots of Cars

It did get a little bit overwhelming, there was so much STUFF. Stuff you never wanted, stuff you hadn't even thought about until there's a stand in front of you telling you need it. Solid perfume favours for your male guests with your names and date of wedding on it anyone?

I can't explain it, but being confronted by the money making beast that is the wedding industry it really had a negative effect. It actually made me so blue. I realised that all the things we'd wanted to do initially we'd compromised on, every time we tried to do something a little out of the ordinary, the price tag that would be put on it was so hefty it meant we had to say no. It sort of shunts you into a great big box whether you like it or not.


Isn't this so pretty? I loved those candelabras 

The Bad

Now I'm really well aware I'm probably alone in my bridal grumps as there were an awful lot of excited and happy brides to be. For me though I began to think maybe we weren't being as true to what we wanted, especially when we started talking to photographers. One of our primary reasons for coming to the show was to talk to photographers and see if we could see some that we liked. Well we talked to quite a few and there seemed to be a general theme.

First I'd tell them we had been thinking about getting married this year, to which they looked surprised. Fair enough. Then I said we wanted to get married in December. This brought about an exasperated intake of breath usually and when I said our ceremony was at 3pm, well I may as well have said I was getting married in space. Most shook their heads or tutted. One thing was common between them all, they all told me, 'that'll be challenging.' Then just to give them something to complain about even more I told them our reception was going to be candlelit for dinner. This brought about more head shaking.

Helpful no?

Thank you for calling my wedding challenging, it genuinely makes me feel fantastic. I already know about the light issues, I don't have a problem with it. I know I'm not going to get 3 hours of garden based photos, I'm really ok with that. Surely as a professional photographer they know how to adjust for light, and I pointed out I was fine with snatching the dusk before it got dark and taking the rest inside. Genuinely I couldn't have been less demanding. The reactions astounded me though, especially when it came to pricing, most came in at roughly £1750- £2,900 which isn't cheap so I felt like with their reaction it came across like they were doing me a favour rather than me hiring them.

I was not impressed.

The Good

Now about something that I was impressed with. I meandered past Ivory Bridal's stand, I hadn't heard of them before. You guys know how freaked out I am about even trying dresses on. Well the lady on the stand was asking me about what I liked and had I tried anything on yet. She was so excited, she also was adamant that she wanted me to come and try on the fishtail gown in her shop as she thought it would be amazing on me. She didn't care about my 'my hips are so big' protestations, instead she told me they'd be fabulous in a tighter gown. I also wasn't to worry about it as there'd be plenty for me to try.

Let me tell you this, I was so touched at her being lovely I could have cried. I thought maybe most bridal shop folk would take one look at me and go 'no get out of my shop' but she was so nice. I'll definitely be having an appointment at Ivory Bridal when I come to choosing dresses.

The Conclusion

I feel like I should write a 'Things not to say to brides' post. Number one would probably be, don't call their wedding challenging and sound like you couldn't think of a worse thing. It may be your 100th wedding but it's probably their first and it means a lot to them.

So when we got home all bummed out we spent about 24 hours talking about budget increases, putting the wedding off for a while, plans to save more money, plans to lower our house deposit to funnel more money into the wedding. 

Then we caught ourselves on. 

We've completely changed our plans and it's nearly organised. 

More on that next time.

Much love 





6 comments:

schoolgatestyle said...

I hear you Dawn....exactly how I felt when we got engaged. And it's exactly why I ended up booking a secret registry office wedding in City Hall for £37.50. Best decision we ever made and I've never regretted it. xx

DawnieP said...

Amen Avril. It's just craziness.

Love Cat said...

I hear ya, Sister. I'm not even engaged and I am dreading the day when I might have or organise my wedding as the cost of things is just mental.

I like to do things a little differently and so I cannot wait to hear your plans!

x

Sweet like Cinnamon said...

Hi Dawn. I laughed, shook my head, and even went "Oh yeah!" out loud when I read this post. I had almost the exact same experience as you at a big wedding fair down here in Dublin when I was engaged. But I'm through it all now and can tell you this - ignore any smug wedding suppliers and do your wedding your own way and on your budget. It is possible, with careful shopping around. We got married in Dublin City Hall and had a reception in Leixlip Manor. We saved money by getting a deal on renting the suits for the men, by getting a cake and cupcakes from a bakery that wasn't interested in adding on a "wedding" price tag, and getting a City Deal for our flowers. Our photographer only charged €1,500 and did an incredible job, and my brother did an informal video of our ceremony with a camcorder so we saved on having a professional video. We played music from an ipod for our ceremony over a PA system in City Hall instead of paying for musicians and I got my wedding dress on sale with 25% off. We got a package at our reception venue that included decor of the venue and wine, and saved money on cars by having family help with their own cars. I did my own makeup and nails and got my shoes in Debenhams! It's all possible... My advice to you is decide what the important bits are for you and spend on them, and save on the rest. Oh yes, we didn't have a band at our reception either, just a DJ, and it worked out great. Keep the chin up with the wedding planning and best of luck!

DawnieP said...

Thanks for the fantastic reply! I'm so glad it's not just me! Honestly I feel like I'm not alone anymore! All brilliant tips, hopefully some other brides will read your comment too and get some ideas!
X

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