Are you a wedding fair virgin? Fear not – here is your indispensable guide to everything you wanted to know about wedding fairs but were afraid to ask!
So you are engaged (congratulations!), excited (who wouldn’t be?!) and keen to get planning – maybe you are very recently engaged and not quite sure where to start – or maybe you have the big-ticket items booked already – you know where and when you are getting married and are looking for a fantastic florist or a perfect photographer!?
Wherever you are on your journey between getting engaged and getting married, a wedding fair will have something for you and can solve problems you didn’t even know you had! What’s more they can be huge fun and a great way to spend your day!
Read on for our top 10 tips on how to get the most out of your trip.
A simple search online (such as ‘wedding fairs near me’) will bring up local wedding fairs, you will also find them advertised on social media. Late winter and early autumn are prime wedding fair season, but you will find fairs scheduled throughout the year.
Find out what’s going on and where – there may be particular suppliers or a particular venue you are thinking of checking out. Visiting a wedding fair there can give you a good sense of whether it is worth following up with a visit.
There may well be more than one wedding fair on in your area on the same day- most wedding fairs are free to enter so it might be worth planning to visit more than one, especially if your planning time is limited and you have finally managed to persuade your partner that visiting a wedding fair is exactly how they want to spend their Sunday!
You can usually get a sense of the size of the fair from their advertising and social media feeds beforehand, organisers will usually say how many exhibitors they expect and whether there are food stalls (very helpful in deciding where and when to have lunch!), live music, talks or demonstrations.
If you are in the early stages of planning, you might just want to soak up the atmosphere and visit a few different fairs in different venues whilst picking up information on any suppliers who catch your eye. If you are at the ‘seriously-I-need-to-book-this-now’ stage, you may want to be more targeted and plan your day in advance.
Having decided to spend your day visiting a wedding fair, it is important to make the most of it. There can be so many suppliers and so many different ideas and things to think about for your special day that it can feel a bit overwhelming and it is easy to come away without really finding out about the products and services that might be most useful for you.
Do some research before the fair – check out suppliers that you might be interested in and make a target list. There is usually a list of exhibitors published by the fair organisers in advance and you can identify the people you are most interested in and make sure you get to chat to them and ask them all those questions that have been niggling away.
This might seem obvious but will make such a difference to your day! There can be a lot of walking around involved (some of which may be outside) and you can soon get foot-sore if you have dressed for effect rather than comfort! However, if you are considering trying on dresses it is important to remember to take a pair of high heeled shoes with you (or whatever you would normally wear) – and suitable undies too!
It can be very difficult to remember just the right shade of your chosen colour when trying to match up flowers or choosing a head dress. A good tip is to make sure you have some pictures on your phone which you can show to suppliers – or even better, some samples of ribbon or material etc. That way you can be sure that anything you buy or order will fit perfectly with your colour scheme.
Many wedding fairs use models to show off dresses, suits, hair make-up and accessories. The models may just be walking round the venue or there may be timetabled fashion shows throughout the day. Different musicians may also be scheduled during the fair and this can be a great way to discover new bands before deciding whether to book them for your wedding.
Other suppliers may also have demonstrations or talks planned during the day and these are well worth looking out for. For example, hairdressers and make-up artists may give demonstrations; celebrants may deliver a mock ceremony.
Pretty much all wedding fairs also have outside caterers exhibiting– perhaps time your visit so you can have lunch there and sample their food!
Build in time to talk to the suppliers – they are there because they want to talk to you – and you can often pick up show discounts that they may only offer to people they think are particularly interested in their products.
It is also worth remembering to take pictures on your phone of any products or services you are interested in so you can look back later and share with friends and family who might be interested.
If you are serious about trying to make some decisions or have some particular suppliers to talk to it will probably be easier not to take too many people with you. However, if you just want to enjoy the day and get some ideas it can be a great way to share some of the planning and excitement with your friends, mum – and even Aunty Flo!
Whether to take your partner can be a dilemma for some – if he/she is just as into the planning of every detail as you are then great! Sometimes though – much as they care about your ceremony and wedding – they may not be into wandering round wedding fairs and it might be easier (and more fun!) to take your girlfriend/mum/sister with you instead. You can talk through any potential suppliers with your partner later and can make an appointment to meet up with the supplier together at a later date.
This is always worth doing as there are usually extra special goody bags available for VIP guests – and usually a free glass of bubbles!
At larger wedding fairs you may also get priority booking at cat-walk shows and demos etc. and may find there is a designated VIP lounge which is well worth the extra pennies.
Getting married is special – enjoy it!
Chatting to suppliers is the best way to make sure you pick up any show offers – taking a leaflet and getting in touch later without chatting might mean you miss out!
There are many different products and services available for your wedding – did you know you there are companies who will help you involve your pet in your ceremony; keep the children entertained during your ceremony or provide an owl to be your ring bearer?!
Build in time towards the end of your visit for a sit down and a drink; have a think about everything and everyone you have seen – is there anything else you want to ask, anyone you have missed, do you want to go back and ask for more information or samples to take away with you and share later with your partner?
Enjoy the planning of your big day - it should be fun and exciting rather than a major stressor – so give yourself time, take the people or person you love with you - and have fun!