Nearly every bride, at some point during her wedding planning adventure, will ask “should I go to a wedding fair?” We say, without any doubt whatsoever: absolutely YES. Wedding fairs come in all shapes and sizes. They range from those huge national events attended by thousands, to small and intimate afternoons at local venues. No matter what their size, their purpose is to inspire the most important person – you. You’ll always be someone’s valued customer – but at a wedding fair, you’re so much more… you are the bride herself. And even if you’ve got it all planned to the last button already – we bet you’d enjoy yourself anyway. Here are 10 reasons to attend a wedding fair:
1. It’s great fun
Attending a fair may seem a bit too much like work, but not if you go with the right attitude – treat it like a fun outing that may bring unexpected yet delightful benefits (like finding your dream florist, tasting the best cake of your life, winning a tiara). You’ll get lots of freebies ranging from magazines and samples to free champagne and scented sachets. And it’ll be an unforgettable experience – chances are, you won’t be attending fairs after your own wedding day, unless you become someone’s Matron of Honour.
2. Find your key suppliers
There is simply no other place to meet so many suppliers face-to-face, and many brides will book a supplier not just because their work looks amazing, but because they make a really good impression – pleasant, reliable, easy to talk to, confident. This is an easy purpose to focus on – for example, if you’ve already booked everyone except a cake maker, this is most definitely your best chance of finding the right one. And let’s not forget – if you’re in a panic and need to make a booking at the 11th hour, this is your best chance.
3. Get tons of inspiration
Even if you already spend every waking hour on Pinterest, or surfing the net for ideas, nothing compares to seeing it all in person. This is a great advantage of major fairs – there are so many suppliers, you’re bound to see a huge selection of all kinds of things, from stationery to honeymoons. You’ll see things you never even thought of before, and also things you thought you fancied… until now. Take pictures of everything you like (see our top tips below), and you may have your wedding all figured out by the time you go home. This is an absolutely fantastic opportunity for all brides who don’t know what kind of wedding they want – just go and see!
Image courtesy of Impack Design
4. Check out trends
Suppliers usually bring a selection of items to please everyone – both the traditional brides and the trendy ones. With so many displays in one place, it’ll be easy to see what’s hot and interesting right now and for next year. A great idea is to chat with the suppliers about what other brides are asking for – you’ll get tons of great suggestions you may not have thought about yourself.
5. Get fantastic discounts and freebies
For a supplier, attending a wedding fair has to be worthwhile – many will prepare a special offer for the show; this may be a reduced price on their services, or something extra with a booking. It doesn’t mean that you have to make a decision right there at the show – you’ll probably want to discuss any bookings with your hubby-to-be, especially if you have a tight budget. Get all the details, make sure the supplier has your name, and ask for the expiry date on the special offer. We guarantee there will be some far too good to pass up.
6. Ask all the questions you want
Whether you attend a big or a small event, it’s a good idea to talk to as many suppliers as you can. If you see something you like, go for it – ask ask ask. Ask about them, ask about their experience, their best-selling products or services, suggestions, anything at all. You’ll get immediate answers – far more efficient than sending emails or telephone calls that may not be answered right away.
7. Taste all the cakes
It’s all part of the fun – but a very important part too. Cake science has come a very long way since the days of sponge and fruitcake wedding cake! Fall in love with flavours you didn’t even know existed and your cake will be unforgettable. Most cake makers and caterers will have free samples, so go on a delightful taste adventure.
Image courtesy of The Cake Cuppery
8. Find out what you don’t want
Finding what you like (see point 3, above) is as important as finding what you DON’T like. Real weddings and photos you see online convey nothing but beauty – but what looks good in a picture may look different when you see it in real life. For example – you may think a rustic theme is your one and only… until you see some examples up close, and you decide that… actually… maybe not. Or, you have your heart set on very traditional invitations – then you’ll see a really unexpected sample on display at the fair, and the traditional style will be but a memory.
9. Practice chatting to suppliers
Asking questions is important (see point 6, above), but that’s not all – this is a perfect opportunity to get used to asking for things you want, and saying no to things you don’t want. If you’re the type who finds asking difficult (shy, or you don’t want to cause any bother), then you may be unaware that there are even better options that aren’t actually on display. Remember – a supplier is your friend. So chat away – you’ll find it’ll benefit you a lot come booking time.
10. Oh the gowns, the gowns
Last but not least – the fashion shows and the boutiques. Fashions happen to be the biggest draw at any fair, that’s why most of them put on a full-out catwalk extravaganza with music and choreography. Even smaller fairs have fashion shows, and attending one is a real highlight of the fair. You get to see tons of gowns (camera comes in really handy here, as does a notebook), on models and on hangers, and you can try them on to your heart’s content. Beware, on a very busy day there may be longer waiting times, especially at top boutiques. And don’t make any decisions right there and then – have pictures taken of you in the gown and go home to think about it.
Top Tips for Wedding Fairs
If you’re attending a major wedding fair that runs over a few days, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the first and last day will be the least busy, especially if it starts on a Friday and ends on a Sunday. Saturdays at a major wedding fair require nerves of steel, patience of a saint, and extra strong coffee. Go on a first or last day if you can – otherwise you may not enjoy yourself.
Wear comfortable shoes. If you plan on trying dresses, bring your heels in a bag. Your feet will thank you.
Don’t take your fiancé to a major wedding fair unless he actually WANTS to go. He may end up being one of just three men in the whole convention centre, which may cause him to run for the nearest emergency exit with madness in his eyes.
If you’re taking company, bring along only those who are actually excited about going – if someone is not looking forward to it, it’ll be a complete drag.
Be kind to the suppliers. For them, it’s a really long day, often with very little time to eat or think, but it’s the lovely brides they meet that make it all worthwhile. So be one of the lovely brides they’ll remember, and you may benefit from it in the long run.
Eat a hearty meal beforehand, and bring bottled water. At some venues, food and drinks are very pricey, so it’s smarter to eat ahead, and then buy a small nibble if you have to. We promise you’ll still be able to sample the food and cakes.
Bring a camera, because you’ll see so many things, you will forget a lot. A fantastic benefit of a camera is taking pictures of entire stalls that you liked – it’s better than taking their brochure or business card, as these just get lost in all the paper you’ll carry away with you. But if you take a photo, you’ll remember exactly who you spoke to (ask the supplier for permission, if possible).
Check out our events page for all the latest fairs and open days!
Main image courtesy of Couture Care
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.