This week is a wee bit intense for Artemis Stationery with two wedding fairs in quick succession.  Sunday I was in Woolacombe in deepest darkest Devon.  Actually it was a delightful part of the world, I only said deepest darkest to try and be interesting and they all began with the same letters as Devon!  The drive there was a little bit magical.  It’s a gorgeous part of the world to on the North Devon coast facing the Bristol Channel and Wales (not that you can see it) – there’s also a South Devon coast facing the English Channel.  Woolacombe is set in a bay with hills all around and a sandy beach which is something of a surfing hotspot.

The Beach at Woolacombe
The Beach at Woolacombe
Rolling waves at Woolacombe
Rolling waves at Woolacombe

The Setting

The wedding fair was at Woolacombe Bay Hotel and organised by Blue Fizz Events (very talented ladies, check them out here).  I don’t know tonnes about the Hotel but I expect the hotel is in quite a historic building.  Woolacombe is quite small so I think it manages to be set on one edge and yet be near the centre of the few shops, restaurants and bars that are in Woolacombe.

The road leading to Woolacombe straight from the restaurants and ice cream parlours.
The road leading to Woolacombe straight from the restaurants and ice cream parlours.

It also has a small golf course in front of it which means there is uninterrupted grass between the front of the hotel and the beach, well aside from the hotels very stylish looking lido.  I so wish I could of gone for a swim.  Would it of been cheeky to ask?  It was my first time there and you do want to make a good impression!  I have to disclaim that I didn’t get much chance to wander but what I saw of the hotel was gorgeous as are the images the hotels website.  I was stationed in the Edwardian room.  I guess you would probably call it a ballroom.  It was definitely large enough.  They also gave all the suppliers the nicest and most stylish chairs I’ve seen at any wedding fair.  Leather and padded, if these come with hiring the venue your guests derrière’s will be well catered for.  Actually they looked comfy but my chairs got taken away as have no space with my display, it was a sad parting.  All the surrounding rooms and corridors were tip top, that careful combination of modern and well maintained yet still keeping a sense of history.  I wish I could of spent more time there.

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The Fair

Doing a wedding fair can be an intensely long day, while the odd supplier will be very local most will have driven quite a way.  I drove 2 hours and so did several other of the suppliers I spoke to.  That meant I was on the road shortly after.  Arrived about quarter past 9.  My satnav took me a rather curious route, not what google recommended.  But the A399 was really quite special, the river Bray runs through a steep wooded valley.  In the morning light it was really special on the stretch before Brayford.

River Bray just after sunset, looked stunning in the morning sun
River Bray just after sunset, looked stunning in the morning sun

Magical setting aside once you arrive you bust a gut.  My stand takes about one hour thirty to setup in its standard form but as with today there was more that could be done to take advantage of extra space.

Woolacombe Bay Hotel front gate
Woolacombe Bay Hotel front gate

Typically you tweak your stand until the first people arrive which at a good event will happen within minutes of the start time.  What begins as a trickle normally gets busy quickly.  So many lovely people to speak to.  This can be tough if there’s only one of you there.  At times on Sunday there was three different groups looking so it’s not easy making sure everyone understands your products and have spotted the mini brochures and samples to take.  It is how ever really nice to speak to all the Brides and Grooms and their friends and family members.  It’s a real high point of the day chatting with and getting to know potential clients.  It’s easier in the latter stages as earlier you want to try and say hello to everyone, even if briefly.  Later in the day there’s less people so you have a good chance to chat to anyone who stops by and is interested in your work.

My stall is tucked in at the end
My stall is tucked in at the end

Come back for part two tomorrow including a look at the other suppliers, why the rest of this week is busy and what I got up to after the fair and was all packed away, it was really exciting (ok, mildly exciting), I did take a few nice photos though.  In the mean time no time like the present to check out some bespoke wedding invitations and stationery!  View my website here.