Wedding Fayres – loved by brides, grooms, families and exhibitors

After a wonderfully successful time at Burgoynes Wedding Fayre this year, I thought I would dedicate this entry to the marvellous work that Wedding Fayre organisers do in order to provide brides and local businesses alike with a valuable resource.

Before getting married last year, I attended several wedding fayres in Hereford and the surrounding area.  I found it invaluable, picking up great ideas for my table centres and ended up booking my florist, hair stylist and make-up artist after seeing their wonderful work first hand. Similarly, I found suppliers who really added that extra nice treat to my big day – people like Ashley McMath from ‘With Love from Bobbin’, whose lace shoe clips added a lovely final touch  on my day.

Munstone House Wedding Fayre

So it was interesting to attend a couple of wedding fayres this year as an exhibitor. We took the horses Curioso and Asgard to each fayre and they performed brilliantly; being not only photogenic but patient as they made friends with over 90 brides.  It was great to speak with brides (and grooms) and find out all their exciting plans for their big days and to meet with other local suppliers.   The hospitality of the staff on the day, and organisation, also made each fayre a pleasure to be a part of.

Shoe Clips

As such, for all the brides reading this, if you can, try and make it to at least one fayre, you never know what you might find!  And if you are around this weekend, come and meet Curioso and Asgard at The Munstone House Wedding Fayre, run by Diva Events on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd March 2015, where we will also be happy to chat with you about providing you with a beautiful horse drawn carriage to use on your big day. Or perhaps a royal arrival on horseback, escorted by Knights!

Beautiful Wedding Horse and Carriage in Herefordshire, Bride and Groom with pair of Appaloosa horses being driven by Marc Lovatt, Head Coachman and Carriagemaster of The Cavalry of Heroes

FREE GUIDE – Ten questions you should ask your Wedding Horse and Carriage Company before booking

Wedding Horse and Carriage with pair of Appaloosa Horses and landau carriage driven by Marc Lovatt, Head Coachman and Carriagemaster of The Cavalry of Heroes Ltd through Gloucestershire, based in Wales and covering the Three Counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire as well as UK and Ireland

A beautiful horse drawn carriage can be a fantastic addition to your wedding day, providing beautiful photographs to treasure and a stunning arrival to really make your day extra special. Having driven horse drawn carriages for HRH The Queen at Buckingham Palace, Marc Lovatt, Director of The Cavalry of Heroes, has suggested a few questions in this free guide, that you can ask your Wedding Horse and Carriage Company to help ensure a safe and enjoyable day:

Wedding Horse and Carriage from The Cavalry of Heroes featuring a pair of Appaloosa's and Landau Carriage with Marc Lovatt as Head Coachman and Carriage Master, taken at Malvern College, Worcestershire, Midlands

1. How far is the company willing to drive their horse and carriage in a day?

This is an important factor in ensuring both your safety and the safety of the horses. It is usual to drive horses for no more than 6 miles a day in total unless the horses are very fit, are pulling a light-weight carriage or travelling over flat smooth terrain. An experienced company will be able to tell you honestly whether your route is suitable for a horse and carriage and will recce the route before your big day.  Some companies don’t recce the route preferring to chance that everything is ok – please be careful regarding any company that doesn’t recce their route. Tired and overworked horses who have been asked to pull a carriage for too long in a day can put your safety at risk – a little like an uncared for engine in a car, so an experienced company will also be able to tell you about their horses and will have ensured that they are fit and able to work.

  1. Who will be your coachman on the day and what is his/her driving experience?

See if you can meet the person who will be your coachman on the day and ask them questions about his/her experience.   Driving isn’t easy and takes a lot of training – primarily how to act and make sure people and horses are safe if the unforeseen happens (this can only be gained through years of experience driving). Sometimes the person you are speaking with isn’t the person who will be with you on the day as some companies have more than one coachman, and some will have trainees with less experience, so best to know who will be in charge of your safety on the day.  You can also check on the British Driving Society Commercial Register the experience of your coachman although a quick check is to look at photographs and see whether the person is driving with one rein in each hand or is driving in traditional coachman style (both reins in one hand).  Traditional coachman style is the way professional carriagemasters are trained to drive.

  1. How many footman will be present on the day?

I often get asked how many footman should be present on the day and I would suggest that the absolute minimum is one very experienced footman (plus the coachman) for a pair. When you consider a team of four horses then more footmen are required. The footman plays a vital role in keeping control of the horses from the ground and under British Driving Society rules no carriage should operate without a footman.

  1. What insurance do they hold?

I sincerely hope that you have the best possible experience with your horse and carriage ride on your wedding day however if the worst should happen, it’s better to know up front rather than afterwards what insurance is in place. I won’t bore you with details about inadequately insured companies!  Often this is what a disreputable company will cut back on in order to give you a really cheap price (I’d say sub £500 in the current market).  I would never undertake an event without being fully insured.

  1. Do they have a WATO certificate to transport horses safely?

It is a legal requirement that if you are transporting horses commercially (horse and carriages for hire are a commercial activity) then the driver needs to have a certificate to prove that they comply with the Welfare of Animals in Transport Order. Just ask to see a copy, that way you know that the company isn’t putting the welfare of the horses at risk when they are travelling to you.

  1. Are they a part of The British Driving Society Commercial Register?

It isn’t essential to be a part of The British Society Commercial Register however I find it a very useful list to belong to. To be part of the register each coachman needs to have provided certificates of their competency to drive a horse and carriage, insurances and WATO certificate to the BDS in order to be added to the list.

  1. Can you visit their yard and meet their horses?

This is a request that can normally be complied with, within reason, and it is often good to see the standard of the environment where the horses live daily and how well the carriages are kept. Also to see your horses – I’ve heard tales of people expecting horses to arrive to see small ponies on their big day.  Also that the carriage was a lot smaller than they expected.  I normally try and accommodate people where I can to visit our yard, however when we are very busy this may not be possible.

  1. Are you the only event that they have booked for that day?

I am pleased to say that I have only ever booked one wedding on any one day however, unfortunately, it can happen that a company will book more than one wedding on a day, so can appear rushed and distracted. This is not a good position for either party to be in, so just check that you are the only event booked for your big day.

  1. What happens in the event of bad weather?

Horses are waterproof but brides often are not! So I would encourage you to find out what your chosen company’s bad weather plan is just in case the British weather is it’s normal unpredictable self. Also, what happens if the event venue is changed or the carriage ride can’t happen because of extreme bad weather (expect for the best, plan for the worst).

  1. What extras are included and are you going to be charged anything on the day?

I think that this applies to most suppliers, however best to find out all the charges in advance. You don’t want to find out that the champagne you are drinking is a hidden extra charge (with us it certainly isn’t as it’s our gift to you on your Wedding Day to wish you a happy ever after as we love being a part of someone’s wedding).

We really hope that this guide has been useful in making you feel more secure and knowledgeable in booking your Horse and Carriage for your big day. If you have any other questions or are at all concerned about any part of hiring a horse and carriage for your big day, then Marc has kindly said that he will answer your questions, so please don’t hesitate to contact him by emailing info@thecavalryofheroes.co.uk.

 

Five Reasons to have a Horse and Carriage at your Wedding – as if you need convincing!

Wedding Horse and Carriage at Homme House, Herefordshire from The Cavalry of Heroes

  1. Beautiful Photographs

There is something so special about the arrival of the bride at the ceremony venue, and similarly the arrival of the bride and groom at the reception that can provide the most beautiful photographs. Throw in some confetti, an elegant horse drawn carriage and a good photographer and your photographs will prove timeless. A poignant memory of those very special first moments.

  1. Quality time to spend together

Once you are married and travelling together for the first time to your reception venue, it is a real opportunity to spend some quality time together before the excitement of your reception begins. I will always remember spending this time being driven in a horse drawn carriage and enjoying the time with my new husband relaxing and drinking champagne before being greeted with smiles and applause as we pulled up to the reception venue.

  1. Stunning arrival to wow your guests

Very few guests (or a bride or groom for that matter) will forget an arrival in a beautiful horse drawn carriage. The character of the horses and timeless elegance of the carriage always makes a stunning impression.

  1. The feel good factor

Even before your big day, meeting with the horses and stepping in the carriage to try it out gives you that glowing feeling! Our horses love meeting brides and grooms.

  1. Horses are the best

Yes, I was starting to struggle at this point because the first 4 points are so good, however horses are a versatile and original form of carriage. They are beautiful, characterful animals with a dignified and courageous history. What better example of an enduring relationship to be present on your wedding day than that of horse and mankind.