Wedding Fayre Logo, Headed Paper

Wedding Fayre at Layer Marney Tower

In the last few weeks, we have been making preliminary plans for a Wedding Fayre at Layer Marney Tower on Thursday 10th June, from 5pm to 9pm.  This seemed like the ideal opportunity to introduce you to Sharon Donaldson from THE Wedding Fayre…!, who we are lucky enough to have been working with for many years.

For our latest blog, we have invited Sharon to write a guest blog on the subject of Wedding Fayres.  With a little bit of background about Sharon and the business, we then hear some of her invaluable tips about attending wedding fayres and what to expect.

Karen Brand – Wedding Coordinator


“I am thrilled to be asked to write a blog for Layer Marney Tower – what an honour!”

My name is Sharon Donaldson and I am the business owner of THE Wedding Fayre…!

THE Wedding Fayre…! was established in August 2000 and we organised our first wedding fayre in January 2001; despite having snow, more than 400 people attended.  This gave Lesley Kenealy, my late business partner, and I the bug for “everything wedding” and we were off…


After college, I worked for 10 years in hospitality management and then became a college lecturer for another 10 years, which I absolutely loved.  During this time I had my two lovely sons.  My good friend Lesley Kenealy had left her retail management career to have her children and set up a bridal business working from home.  We decided to pool our skills and THE Wedding Fayre…! was born.

During our second year, we were researching local wedding venues and were told about the wonderful Layer Marney Tower.  With a little encouragement, we rang and arranged a meeting with owner Nick Charrington.  We sat in the courtyard having a coffee and discussing our ideas with Nick, who was as always totally charming and enthusiastic.  It was agreed we would run our first show with them the following January.

We have now worked with this outstanding and stunning venue for the past 17 years, expanding to offer two shows per year.  Every time I arrive I am still in awe of this outstanding building and it’s beautiful silhouette against the sky.  We have a great relationship with both owners Nick and Sheila Charrington, and their lovely and experienced wedding co-ordinator Karen Brand, and we love working at this truly romantic wedding venue.

Why are Wedding Fayres helpful?

Wedding Fayres give couples the perfect opportunity to actually meet the potential wedding suppliers for their dream day.  You need to meet people in person rather than just over the internet or telephone.  You need to feel really comfortable about their product and them personally – are these the people who will really listen to your ideas and help make them reality?

Wedding Fayres give you a chance to meet a wide range of wedding suppliers all under one space and all on the same day – you can compare their services, personalities and prices.  There are normally bridal tours of the venue on the day, so you can combine sourcing your perfect wedding venue and the suppliers to make that dream day you have envisaged in your mind.

How to prepare for visiting a Wedding Fayre and what to expect

The thought of organising your wedding can be quite daunting, however, with a little guidance it can be a fantastic and fun experience.  Attending a Wedding Fayre can be one of the best ways to get inspired, pick up ideas, meet people you can really envisage at your dream wedding and indeed choose your actual wedding venue.  Don’t forget that unlike you, they have worked at many weddings and have a vast experience to draw on.

Top tip – Allow 1-2 hours to attend a fayre depending on the number of exhibitors.  Make sure you allow time for parking and don’t miss out on suppliers that are located in different rooms or up a staircase, they may well be THE ones you want to work with.

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Get Organised

I would suggest that there is a specific order that you need to work to.  As much as it seems the most fun part, DO NOT start with your search for THE perfect dress!

First of all, you need to decide the style and theme of your wedding, your total budget, the number of guests and the type of venue you envisage – historic, rustic, contemporary, or an outside celebration.  So start with researching and visiting venues, then book your registrar or religious ceremony.   Once you have the date secured you can start booking everything else…

Make a list: caterers, photographers, the dress, the suits, the rings, videographers, florists, wedding stationery, cake makers, music and entertainment, venue decor, hair and make up etc etc

Don’t forget that lots of things need to be ordered or specifically made, so you must allow enough time for this.

We give out a comprehensive check list for couples at all our Wedding Fayres, as well as a budget planner.

So when attending a Wedding Fayre, bring your check list with you, as no suppliers will mind people who approach them with a diary or ideas book in hand because they can then hone in on what you are actually looking for.  Most of all, enjoy the whole process; do not stress – we are all here to help make it a great experience.


Thank you to Sharon for giving us an insight into Wedding Fayres at Layer Marney Tower.  If you are interested in attending a future event, please get in touch with Sharon and her team for details.  Further information will be posted on both THE Wedding Fayre…! and Layer Marney Tower Facebook and Instagram nearer the time.  Make sure you follow us to keep up to date with any news.

We look forward to seeing you there!