The Pantiles is hosting its first wedding fair this weekend April 23 and 24. Eileen Leahy spoke to its organiser Tara Fuller and to some of the exhibitors to discover why the event will be a match made in heaven for couples about to tie the knot.
If you’ve just said ‘I do’ to your loved one then clear your diary for this coming weekend. Kicking off on Saturday, April 23, is the first Pantiles Wedding Fair and it promises to be a wonderful occasion.
As well as a few familiar town traders there will also be plenty of the area’s most experienced wedding specialists on hand to ensure your big day is as stylish and stress free as possible.
Having hosted successful food and interiors markets for the past few years Tara Fuller of The Pantiles Bandstand Event Company decided that putting on a wedding show was the logical next step – for both exhibitors and loyal Pantiles Markets customers.
“I just thought it would be something a bit different,” she reveals. “Wedding fairs are becoming increasingly popular and as there are so many great local businesses in this area I thought it would be a perfect location to hold such an event.”
Exhibitors and experts were quick to get on board with the idea and before long there were photographers, florists and wedding venues all asking to be involved.
“It shows a real sense of community and it is always great to support the locals,” admits Tara. “I think it’s nice as a resident of Tunbridge Wells to be able to come down to The Pantiles and find everything you need for your wedding all in one place.
“The great thing is you can expect a fantastic variety at this fair,” continues Tara. So whether you’re planning a classic ceremony or something a little more quirky and unique you will find plenty of inspiring ideas.
“Shoppers can expect to see lots of traditional offerings as well as unexpected wedding venues such as Fern and Field, who hire out fields and forests for blessings. There are also festival-style bell tents from the Original Pop-Up Festival company which allow you to throw a truly contemporary wedding breakfast.”
Alongside the stalls of tempting gourmet goodies, fabulous flowers and useful services there will also be plenty of musicians too.
The Audacity will be playing on The Pantiles’ famous bandstand throughout the day and will be on hand to answer any questions including what first dance tune to pick.
For those who want something a little bit more serene and classical as the soundtrack to their wedding, local harpist Ellen Smith will be giving demonstrations of her skillful playing at the Tunbridge Wells Hotel.
“The Pantiles is at the heart of Tunbridge Wells life so, as a local myself, I’m delighted to be supporting this important wedding fair,” Ellen explained when she spoke to us.
“The fair is a fantastic opportunity for brides to be creative and for suppliers to showcase their services in a beautiful, historic setting!”
The Tunbridge Wells Hotel will also be opening up their Dining Room function area so people can see how it looks all dressed up with floral decorations by Clare Steward who runs Flower Girl. The hotel is also the only premises to hold a licence for getting married on The Pantiles’ bandstand – perfect if you fancy a location that is just a little bit different.
The all-important issue of a bride looking her beautiful best is also covered courtesy of exhibitors such as Seacreme which harnesses the powerful skin healing elements of the sea in its products. The brand’s spokesperson Laura Healy tells us:
“We are extremely excited to be taking part in this year’s Pantiles Wedding Fair. It will be a fantastic opportunity to introduce Seacreme to a wider audience within the local community.”
If the inaugural Pantiles Wedding Fair is a success then organiser Tara says there are plans to do more events of this kind.
“We have had a lot of really positive feedback so far and have already had businesses enquiring about booking for next year so I would love to run it again.” Are there any other fairs planned for the near future?
“We have a couple of other things I am working on at the moment” reveals Tara. “So keep an eye out for Fashion Fever and the Vintage Fair – oh and there’s a literary festival which is also in the pipeline.”