The Alternative Wedding Fair is back this weekend in Crescent Arts Centre. Between 1pm and 5pm on Sunday 19 February, and with a
entrance fee of £5, you can catch up suppliers of cards, cake, flowers, music, glitz, photography, vehicles and venues. dowry
There'll be a Yum Yum room, a Rock and Roll room and a mysteriously-named Lumi Room. Before the last fair, I asked organiser Cate Conway whether conservative Northern Ireland had a market for for novel adaptions of the often very traditional wedding?
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!
Would the myriad of options and personalisation offered at the fair not just add to the stress many people experience around the need for a '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.
No matter your views on the need for alternative wedding glitz and glamour, the fair is certainly a demonstration of small businesses pitching creatively at the local market.
PS: The cake in the photo above is oreo-cookie flavoured and the product of Crumbs Cakes in Belfast!