For some reason I’m feeling a little intimidated. Not entirely sure what to expect. I’ve never done this before and it seems like it’s going to be a lot of pressure.
Cat’s an old pro at this and tells me it’s going to be fine. I should blindly trust her but I still don’t think I’m going to enjoy it.
We head for the entrance and hand over our fivers. In return, lots of paper. A massive magazine. A million supplements. A pile of flyers. Do I need to read all this? I was right, but we’ve paid now. And so, my first steps in to a wedding fair...
I realise my reaction to this whole situation is a bit melodramatic, but the idea of a wedding fair has never once appealed to me. Not to exhibit for work and certainly not to spend an afternoon. Remember that bit in Gladiators when the ‘contender’ had to run the gauntlet bypassing Wolf and his pals? That, but with less lycra (hopefully) and more hard sales. I’m not a fan of fending off a hard sell and I’d probably rather buy something than deal with an awkward refusal. So I wasn’t excited.
The painting in my head of a typical wedding fair, thankfully wasn’t where we were. They exist for sure and I’m sure some people love them, but the idea makes my palms a bit sweaty. Why would you want your wedding planning to go like that? It seems like a box ticking exercise, wandering the stalls, finding somebody in the middle of 'totally swamped’ (can’t be bothered waiting) and 'standing looking lonely’ (there must be a reason nobody is talking) and there you go, another check in the box. Wedding will be planned before you know it.
As weddings become more and more an expression of the people getting married, wedding fairs seem to have sprung up to cater to the people that would rather avoid the travelator.
Walking around it becomes clearer and clearer that I was in fact being a big kid and it’s not that big a deal at all. We’ve chosen a good one and so there are loads of great suppliers and none of them are selling. Conversation is relaxed and informal and there isn’t any sales talk. Admittedly there are some exceptions with people pouncing with flyers, but they’re easily bypassed and then...*cake*, I get distracted. Two cake makers in close proximity to each other. I’m off on a freebie hunt. Filled on macarons & cupcakes we actually make a bit of headway in some planning. We speak to a jeweller who is going to make our rings and one of the cake makers is now booked up to do ours (the freebies worked!)
I listen carefully to the conversations that Cat is having with people. The first being the jeweller. A couple of others and I realise that I’m very much on the periphery of these conversations. Anybody that’s making contact is making contact with Cat, which is quite interesting I think.
The vast, vast majority of wedding related content is marketed towards brides. I totally get why. There aren’t many guys that fit the ‘planning a wedding from age five’ story and the whole idea of the ‘fairytale wedding’ necessitates a ‘princess’. But surely, hopefully, there are a load of guys out there who are taking an interest in planning their wedding alongside their partner? It’s got me thinking about how guys are catered for in the wedding industry as a whole. I speak to couples and sometimes the bride says “I’ve given him the band to deal with” or something similar. The idea of not being all the fussed about what happens, it just seems so alien to me. While I’ve started with a moan about wedding fairs, I’m pretty involved overall in all of the decisions about our wedding (out with the obvious like the dress).
I wonder if it’s a reaction from men to the amount of information and content that is geared towards them, or if that content doesn’t exist because, for the most part, guys aren’t that bothered? If it’s the latter, it seems to me to be a bit of a shame when there is so much fun to be had in doing this together. We spend a lot of time on utterly banal conversations about chairs and crockery, but mostly it’s great fun. It’s great sharing the things that we both love and want to involve in the day and even more fun arguing about things that we totally disagree on. Inevitably you win some and lose some but it’s all part of the fun. As much as I moan about chairs, it’s time spent together realising how ludicrous it is. Colour schemes and things to wear, what readings we’re going to have and what songs are going to play. I think it should be about me as much as it’s about Cat (I haven’t told her that though!) and these are all fun things. It’s always interesting to see what crap she’s been adding to our spotify playlist before subtly changing it for much better options. Little things are just as important as the big things and they all have the potential to be good fun and really interesting.
I’d be really interested to hear about how you do it? Are you a groom planning your wedding yourself or a bride getting no help from your other half? Or somewhere in the middle? Would grooms be more involved if there was wedding content geared towards them? It hadn’t really occurred to me before that day at the wedding fair when I realised that most people assumed I was just along for the ride.
It's an overwhelming prospect, planning a wedding. At the Braw Brides Wedding Workshop we are aiming for a chilled out affair with lots of wedding planning tips and no. hard. selling. Come along, check it out on Sunday 28th February at Arta, Glasgow.
You can see Euan there on the day, making sure he listens to all the grooms!