I never thought I'd be the type of person to go to a wedding fair.
P.E. (pre-engagement), I'd always imagined they'd be full of bridezillas stalking aggressively around the different stalls with a clipboard, barking questions at their bridesmaids, who'd then scurry off to find the answers.
Even, err… P.E. (post-engagement), Mr T and I never had any intention of going to one until our venue mentioned the fact they were hosting one the weekend we were visiting.
It seemed like a good opportunity – especially when two of my bridesmaids told me about their wedding fair forays.
"We went to a fair at our venue, which was great, as it was set up for a wedding and gave us ideas about how to decorate it and speak to suppliers who knew the venue well," said Caroline. "And there were also cake samples, loads of them."
"I've been to a few, as a bridesmaid and a bride-to-be, and I think it's best when you only go with a couple of people, because they're so busy, it's easy to lose people," said Sophie. "Just a couple of words of warning – don't give your email address away too easily, as you'll be inundated with wedding-related stuff. And don't have too much free Prosecco, I was a bit giddy by the time I left the last one."
Excited by the prospect of the freebies, we agreed to go. And I'm so glad we did, because it was the best thing we could have done. We pretty much sorted out our wedding in one day.
I have to admit, it felt a little like the sample sale as everyone assembled in the hotel foyer. I started eyeing everyone up, thinking they'd be wanting to book the photographer we wanted, or get to the free cupcakes before us (just as an aside, no-one else was doing this. This whole wedding malarkey is bringing out my competitive streak).
But Mr T was there to stop me chomping at the bit and when we were let in, I managed to stay in the queue and not push anyone over.
I know I've mentioned it before but the people from the Isle of Man are so friendly. I'd even go as far to say they're on a par with us Geordies. They are so, so lovely.
First of all, we spoke to Samantha, the lovely lady who organises weddings at our venue, and straightened out a few details we'd been unsure of – the exact charges, the options of where you could eat and have the reception (they have two potential rooms, depending on how many guests you have), their different menus, etc.
It was all far more flexible than I'd ever imagined. Her answer to everything was: what would you like? Perfect!
When I asked about decorating the room and getting things like centerpieces delivered and stored in the hotel, she walked us over to a man at a particularly beautiful stall. "Oh you must meet Paul, he's great at dressing rooms."
I didn't even know that you could make a living "dressing rooms" but apparently you can. Paul does. So she ushered us over and introduced us to him.
Paul then led us to Emily, the DJ. Then we found Shan, a photographer we'd found online and had told us she'd be at the fair, who then suggested we speak to Heidi the florist and Allison the baker.
It was amazing – we were ticking things off our list quicker than I'd ever imagined. And they were all so lovely, every single one of them.
Emily seemed more than happy with Mr T's strict rules on music, Shan was a wonderfully enthusiastic woman who said she'd be honoured to be at our wedding and Allison and Heidi were fantastic at suggesting ideas we'd never have dreamed up.
"Why are you getting married on the Isle of Man?" they all asked when we told them we were from England.
To which Mr T would reply smugly, "We fell in love here," before casually wandering off and leaving me to explain, blushing painfully, that we weren't actually a completely sickeningly-sweet couple, but that we'd just had our first weekend away on the island.
We spoke to a load more people about bridesmaid dresses, grooms wear and harps and by the time we left, we were exhausted and ecstatic.
I'm not sure whether we'd just been particularly lucky, or that's what most wedding fairs are like, but I certainly feel a lot less clueless after that weekend.
Just one complaint – there were no free booze or sweet treats. You will, however, be glad to know that Mr T and I didn't go without. A quick trip to the pub quickly put that right.
If you have any tips or questions, get in touch with me at @Sarahw0684
More from the Clueless-Bride-To-Be:
10. My (first) big mistake
9. How to pick a wedding dress to suit your shape
8. Reader, I got a brace!
7. Choosing the all-important venue
6. The dreaded guest list
5. Breaking down the budget
4. Picking my bridesmaids
3. Everything you need to plan or buy
2. Getting by with a little help from my friends
1. The proposal!