kent weddings

Caro Events at The Kent Wedding Centre

As some of you will know, I am part of The Kent Wedding Centre, but I thought I would explain a bit more about what that actually is.

The Kent Wedding Centre, very simply put, is your one-stop wedding shop, designed to make your wedding planning journey as easy as possible. They have over twenty different professional wedding suppliers (some award-winning!), covering everything you would need for your wedding, from florists, wedding attire, rings, photographers and wedding planners, to cake makers, videographers, photobooths, honeymoon specialists and caterers, plus many more, all of whom are specialists in their field.

Situated in a rural oast house at the business park behind the Hop Farm, The Kent Wedding Centre is spread out over two floors, with each supplier given their own area to showcase their products/skills. I have a showroom set up on the first floor, where you can see examples of the centrepieces and chair covers/sashes that I have to offer, as well as my unique backdrop and the props that are available to hire. There is also a consultation area, where we can discuss your wedding in detail and explore which of the planning and styling services that I offer may be the most suitable for you.

For me as a wedding planner it is the perfect place for me to meet with my wonderful clients (and potential clients!) to have a chat and get to know each other, so that I have a full understanding of what you want, and you can be sure you’ve picked the right person to help you plan the most special day of your lives.

The Centre is open Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5.00pm, so you can just pop in and have a look around, but I would recommend making an appointment to make sure that all the suppliers you want to talk to are there.

The Kent Wedding Centre really is the ideal place to start planning your dream day, with all the experts you could want under one roof! Get in touch to make an appointment to suit you.

My showroom at The Kent Wedding Centre

My showroom at The Kent Wedding Centre

Choosing your wedding venue...

When you start planning your wedding, one of the first things you’ll need to do is decide on your venue. You may already have your ideal venue in mind, but this may change depending on your guest list, your budget, your chosen theme/style, the time of year you want to get married and the venue’s availability.

Some of the things that you will want to think about before viewing any venues are:
     - Do you want the ceremony and reception at the same venue, or different ones?
     - If your budget is an issue, would you consider having a small ceremony with a larger reception? Could your venue accommodate this, or would you need two venues?
     - Do you want an indoor or outdoor wedding? Or do you want any outdoor space?
     - What theme are you having, and does the venue suit it?
     - Do you need accommodation onsite or nearby?
     - Would you prefer a dry-hire venue, where you can often have the day before to set up and the day after to take everything down? (In which case, you might want to consider hiring a wedding co-ordinator to liaise with all the suppliers, arrange the set up and make sure the day runs smoothly.)

When you’re viewing venues you’ll want to bear these things in mind:
     - Do they have in-house catering?
     - Can you use your own suppliers, or do you have to use their preferred/recommended suppliers?
     - Does the venue offer a package with everything included, such a cake, photographer and décor?
     - What exactly is included in the price?
     - Will the venue let you decorate it yourself, or do they require you to have insurance?
     - Does the venue allow live music?
     - Are fireworks permitted?
     - Logistically, how does the venue run on the day (including timings)? This is especially important if you’re having the ceremony and reception at the same venue, and they require time to turn the room around.
     - What is the back-up plan in the case of adverse weather?
     - Will a member of staff be present on the day? If so, who? Can you meet them?

Also, don’t forget to check the finer details, such as:
     - Can the suppliers set up the day before?
     - Can you use real candles?
     - Does the venue allow confetti?

Your guest list and budget will be the biggest deciding factors when choosing your venue, but there are so many different venues available for weddings, including churches, castles, stately homes, hotels, woodlands, tipis, barns, marquees, contemporary, traditional and historic venues, that you are sure to find something that will become the setting for your perfect day.

And don’t forget, if you need any help choosing a venue or planning/styling any aspect of your wedding, please get in touch to find out how I can help you!

Carddies Wedding Set - A Review

Keeping children entertained during a wedding can be difficult, especially during the speeches when guests want to be able to hear what is being said. This is why Carddies, a company that make creative colouring sets, have branched out to make a special wedding edition. They kindly sent me a sample to have a look at and I decided to share my thoughts with you.

I’ve seen a lot of similar ideas and sets, and they’re great at occupying children, but they tend to just be pictures to colour in. The set from Carddies are different because they come with small plastic bases for each individual character to stand up in, which means they can be easily played with once they’ve been decorated, and so will keep the children (and maybe some adults!) entertained for longer.

There are twelve different characters to colour in and name, as well as a big background picture of all the characters that can be decorated and kept. There are two adult males, two adult females and eight child characters of various sizes, which is great because it offers a variety of wedding couples, such as a bride and groom, two grooms or two brides. It is inclusive and diverse; perfect for same-sex marriages and breaks away from the typical bride and groom images in other colouring packs. This set also comes with twelve colouring pencils, which is considerably more than the standard four colours of red, blue, green and yellow that are usually included.

One of my favourite features, and it’s only something simple, but I loved the fact that there are details on the back of each character; instead of it just being blank, there’s the back of their hair and their clothes. I thought it was a nice little touch that means that there’s another surface to decorate and when the cards are being played with, you know who’s who from behind!

I gave the set to my four-year-old son to see what he thought of it, and he started colouring the characters in straight away. He named them all and asked what the bases were for; when I explained, he said 'Oh, wow!' and tried to slot one of the characters in to the plastic base, which he did quite easily. He quickly had them all lined up, talking to each other. I don’t think I’m going to get them back!

The Carddies pack retails at £8.99 each, which may be more expensive than other colouring packs, but when you consider what the Carddies set offers, I think they are well worth the money. Carddies also offers the packs in different themes, including fairies, knights, sports and family, plus many more, so there’s something there for everyone! 

I think they are fantastic sets, which will keep children occupied and entertained not only during the meal and the speeches when they tend to get bored and fidgety, but also into the evening reception. They can even be taken home and played with long after the wedding, and they make a great memento of the day.

I think I’m going to get some to keep my children occupied on the plane when we go on holiday!

Note: All thoughts and comments are my own (and my son's!); I was not paid to write this review.

Wedding Shows - A Supplier's Perspective

After my last blog-post, discussing the reasons why couples should attend wedding fairs, I had a few comments (which led on to lengthy discussions!) about the pros and cons for the suppliers.

The most obvious benefit from a supplier’s perspective, is that they could potentially generate new business. I do think that there’s more to it than that, though; you get the opportunity to speak to potential clients face-to-face and find out exactly what they need or are looking for, which can be harder to do if it’s by email. You can try out your latest ideas on them, see what responses you get, and gauge how well your product(s) or service is being received.

Wedding fairs are also a great, informal place to network with other suppliers. There’s often a lot of talk about ‘rival companies’ or ‘the competition’, but I try not to see it like that; every business offers something slightly different or approaches the way they run their business differently, and there are more than enough weddings and clients to go around! Exhibiting at a wedding fair means that you can meet a variety of wedding professionals in one place, discuss weddings and experiences you’ve had and build relationships. After all, we all work together in one way or another to produce incredible weddings for our clients.

Of course, you cannot guarantee that each wedding show will be busy and that you’ll come away with lots of enquiries or bookings. Various things can affect the numbers attending, from poor advertising of the wedding fair to bad weather, which you can’t always avoid. I once exhibited at a wedding fair in mid-March, when you’d think the weather would be relatively mild, and it snowed, which meant there was a very low turnout. If you’re concerned about how well a show will be advertised, book one through an experienced and well-known wedding show organiser or get a recommendation from other wedding suppliers.

If the thought of doing a large wedding show makes you a bit nervous, try exhibiting at a smaller one first and see what it’s like, and then maybe build up to doing a bigger show. Some suppliers would say that the bigger shows attract more couples and so you stand a better chance of getting more business. However, the bigger shows tend to be more expensive, so you would need to generate enough business to cover the initial outlay to make it worthwhile.

Wedding shows can be a bit of a gamble, but I have found them to be a good way to meet clients, get new business and meet some great fellow suppliers. Why not give it a try?

Wedding Fairs: Yay or Nay?

The idea of attending a wedding fair can fill people with feelings of excitement and/or nervousness; the large number of businesses exhibiting can help you plan your special day (and you can talk about your day with people who get just as excited about weddings!), but they can also be quite intimidating, especially if you've no idea where to start. I always recommend to my clients that they attend at least one wedding fair, particularly if there is one on at a venue they are interested in or have booked, as it can help them visualise what their day could look like. 

It can be very useful to compare different suppliers, and being able to do it in one day, in one place, as opposed to making appointments and going from shop to shop, or town to town, can be very beneficial. You also get to see examples of the suppliers' previous work, which can help you decide if they're the supplier you want to use. 

Some businesses hold competitions or offer discounts at wedding fairs, to encourage you to book them. Whilst this can mean you get a good discount, don't rush to book someone just because you want to save money; make sure they are the right supplier for you.

Exhibitors know and understand that it can be overwhelming for couples, both in terms of the information you're given and the ideas available, but they generally just want to have a chat, find out about you and what you want, and try to help. Just remember, you are not obliged to book anyone or make any decisions when at a wedding fair; it is fine to just wander around, get some ideas, maybe talk to a supplier or two, get some business cards or leaflets, and then go home and think about it all as and when you want to.

Wedding fairs are designed to help you meet the businesses who could help you bring your dream wedding to life; so why not check out some wedding fairs that are happening near you soon?

 

Here are some wedding fairs companies covering Kent, with upcoming fairs:

The Wedding Experience - Their next fair is on 18 February at Hop Farm, Paddock Wood

A Kentish Wedding - Their next fair is on 11 February at Discovery Park, Sandwich

Whitesky Events - Their next fair is on 4 March at Priestfield Stadium, Gillingham

Main Event Wedding Shows - Their next fair is on 11 February at Brands Hatch, Longfield