Wedding fairs are pretty common across Northern Ireland. This weekend, Cate and Saima from Quirky Weddings are teaming up with suppliers from across Northern Ireland in a bid to offer something distinctive to couples with upcoming nuptials.
Instead of outfits, hair, photographers, flowers and catering, the fair will be offering outfits, hair, photographers, flowers and catering. But more unusual, and apparently with more of your personality injecting into the celebration. I asked Cate more about the event.
What kind of exhibitors are visitors going to meet if they come to your Alternative Wedding Fair?
We searched to find exhibitors who were a little bit different or who could tailor make something special. Sometimes if couples are working to a theme they find it hard to get exactly what they're looking for.
One of our most exciting exhibitors is a guy called Ciaran Larkin, whose company is called iMakeAnything. He makes anything. For example he makes levitating candles like in the Harry Potter movie. They can 'float' above your dancefloor and are quite the talking point!
We also have Brookhall, which is a farm venue outside Lisburn offering a refreshing alternative to the traditional hotel wedding. Anyone looking for a fun alternative to a wedding video can check out Marryokes! They make a music video at your wedding starring you and your guests.
This is just the start as we will have approximately 45 exhibitors, all of whom are open to unusual ideas!
Northern Ireland’s often a very conservative place. Have you witnessed much of a market for novel ways of adapting the traditional wedding with alternative ideas?
Absolutely. Feedback indicates that NI has been crying out for something different for a long time. We feel that traditional weddings aren't actually traditional at all. If you look at wedding photos from your grandparents generation it was nothing like today's weddings. We're on a mission to give people the confidence they need to break away from what wedding magazines are telling them they 'have' to have. We want them to allocate their budgets to items or services that have meaning to them and not feel obliged to have a lot of things they don't really need or want. No more wedding peer pressure!
Have you some favourite alternative weddings?
Yes if you look at our site we have photos of one of our exhibitor’s weddings ... Debbie from Dazzle Me With Your Tips. She married Jamie in the City Hall and then had a shin dig in Printer's Cafe. They each got a tattoo to mark the occasion and unveiled them to the other on the day. Their wedding cake had little zombies on it. The reason I love this is because they cast aside everything they had been told about weddings and organised a fun day out featuring things they liked and had meaning to them as a couple. It looked like a really great day! We LOVE to hear about other weddings and would love to hear from more couples so we can feature them on the site and inspire other couples!
You talk on the website about hating the stress and pressure that accompanies weddings. But with all these ideas and potential for personalisation, aren’t you adding to the stress by offering even more options and even more chance to aim for that ‘perfect’ wedding?
No not at all. The 'perfect' wedding is different for everyone. For some people their day will only be perfect if they've spent £1000 on chair covers. For some people it will only be perfect if they have Pac Man cufflinks! We want them to sit and think clearly about what they really. really must have on the day...using their own brains, not influenced by the magazines or people trying to stick the arm in. We want to encourage people to forget everything they already know about weddings and plan a party that celebrates the fact that they are committing their life to another person.
Tickets can bought in advance from the Crescent Arts Box Office for £3; tickets bought on the day at the door will be £5. Free entry for under 15s.
The photo above features Jeannie Johnston from J-Bird Bakery on Bloomfield Avenue who knows a thing or two about cupcakes!