As a bride to be it is likely that you will be bombarded
with invitations to attend wedding fairs. You may wonder what the point of
these are especially as you can find everything that you will ever need for
your wedding online. As a bride to be I can honestly say that I only attended a
couple of wedding fairs but I did find them fun and also helpful for picking up
ideas. As a wedding supplier I absolutely love standing at wedding fairs and
chatting to brides about their weddings. Wedding fairs can be quite overwhelming for a bride. You are given so much information and meet so many
different people that it can become very confusing. Weddings are big business
and there are so many different themes and styles to choose from and many
different suppliers offering similar things. It can be so hard to know what to
choose. So these are my top tips for how to get the best out of attending a
wedding fair from the point of view of a supplier but also someone who has also
planned a wedding.
Decide which fairs you are going to go to
It is often a good idea to decide which fairs you wish to attend in the run up to your wedding. It is often a good idea to go to a couple of fairs during the early stages of your wedding planning to gain ideas and information. If you’ve never planned a wedding before they can be a great way to meet suppliers and gain ideas. You may be recently engaged and don’t have a clue about the kind of wedding you want. Attending wedding fairs to gain ideas and see what is available and at what cost is very valuable.
Once you have booked your wedding venue or have a venue in mind and are a bit further into your planning I would then recommend that you attend a wedding fair at that venue if they have one. Most venues will decorate their rooms as it would look on a wedding day at the fair so this will give you a good idea of how it will all come together. It is also a great opportunity to meet potential suppliers that your venue recommend and trust.
If you have already booked certain suppliers take a look at their websites and find out which wedding fairs they will be attending and go and visit them. It is great to be able to chat to your suppliers in the flesh about your wedding day. If you are unsure as to whether to book a certain supplier this can also be a great way to go and meet them and get to know them. It will give you an impression as to whether they match the vision you have for your wedding day and live up to your ideals and expectations. It is also important that you get along with certain suppliers especially photographers so meeting them beforehand is a great way to judge whether you will be able to work with them or not.
I would advise against attending too many wedding fairs
however, otherwise you will be bombarded with information and have far too many
suppliers to research. The end result will probably be that you will end up
totally confused. You don’t want to become a jibbering wreck rocking in the
corner surrounded by leaflets feeling like you just don’t know what you want
Our first wedding fair at Rutland House, Doncaster.
Do some research
Before attending a wedding fair it is a good idea to do a little research into the kind of wedding that you may want. This will then help you to decide which wedding fairs to attend. For example if you are wanting a modern wedding with lots of bling in a city centre venue there isn’t much point in attending a vintage themed wedding fair in a country stately home.
Once you have decided which wedding fairs to attend it
may also be worth checking out the suppliers who will be there. Not all
organisers or venues will list their suppliers but if they do have a look at
their websites beforehand. This will give you an idea as to whether it will be
worth your while attending that particular fair but will also allow you to be
more focused on the day as you will know who you want to speak to. If you
already have an idea about what a supplier does and can offer you and their
prices it will also allow you to ask more valuable and structured questions and
you will gain more from your visit.
Me at our stall at The Glasshouse wedding fair, Doncaster.
Take your time
You’ve decided to attend a certain wedding fair, you’ve
persuaded your other half and perhaps your mum and mother in law to be to go
along and you’ve made the effort to travel there so make it worth your while.
There is no point whizzing around not really looking at everything and leaving
within ten minutes. I have stood at many wedding fairs where brides have just
walked past our table and haven’t even looked at what we do. Now I appreciate
that some brides will go to wedding fairs to see certain suppliers or may have
already purchased the items that I have to offer but please take your time to
look at every stall so that you don’t miss anything. Walk around slowly and do
a couple of laps to ensure that you haven’t missed anyone. Some wedding fairs
get very busy and you could miss your perfect supplier because they were
talking to someone else at the time you went past. If the wedding is at your
venue also take the opportunity to look at the rooms available and the
honeymoon suite and bedrooms if for example it is a hotel that you will be
staying over at. If the venue has a bar or a restaurant make a day of it. Have
a wander around then have lunch then have another wander and go back to the
stalls that interested you.
Leaflets, leaflets, leaflets
When you go to a wedding fair the chances are that you will be given a goodie bag that will be full of leaflets and adverts. You will then collect more leaflets and business cards from suppliers as you walk around. This may seem like a waste of paper and is just an awful lot for you to carry but they are actually very valuable. There will be so much information for you to take in at a wedding fair and many different suppliers wanting your business. There may even be a few suppliers offering similar services or products especially at larger fairs. There is no way that you will be able to remember all of this information unless you literally have a sponge for a brain. Nor will you remember the names of all the companies involved. There is nothing worse than getting home and thinking wow I really loved that person’s cakes, tiaras, favours etc but I cannot remember what they were called!! Pick up a leaflet or card from every single table.
When you get home or a few days later however, don’t just chuck all of the leaflets you have collected in a drawer never to be seen again. Get out your computer, tablet or phone and go through each and every leaflet or card that you collected. Look at the websites of all the suppliers you met, like their Facebook pages, follow them on Twitter and sign up to receive their newsletters. You will only get the best out of your visit if you are pro-active about looking at suppliers and products afterwards. A supplier will only have a six foot stall at a wedding fair so they wouldn’t be able to showcase every product that they have for sale, every cake they’ve ever made or every photo they’ve ever taken. There will be a lot more information on their websites and Facebook pages. Seeing what they do online together with meeting them and viewing their work in the flesh will give you a much better and more informed idea as to whether they are the right supplier for you. Signing up to newsletters is also useful as often suppliers will offer discounts to their subscribers only or they may show you their new stock before they publish it on their website. Obviously if there is a supplier who you really didn’t like or their style doesn’t match your vision for your wedding then I’m not suggesting that you like their pages although I would still check out their website just to confirm your decision.
As well as looking at the leaflets and cards that you picked up also take a look at the cards and leaflets supplied in your goodie bags and look at the adverts in the back of any magazines you are given. Your perfect supplier may not have been able to attend the wedding fair as they may have been booked on that day, be at another fair or if they are a small business they may not be able to afford to stand as wedding fairs are very expensive for suppliers. They may however have provided a leaflet to go in the goodie bag. Don’t rule out small businesses for your wedding day. Some of the best wedding suppliers I know are small businesses run by individuals who work from home.
When you get home it may also be worth looking at the
reviews on the websites and Facebook pages for potential suppliers. Ask your
friends if they or anybody else used them. You can’t beat recommendations. If
there is a supplier who you love and you have booked also look on their website
at who they recommend as well. You may find this on a ‘links’ page. On our
website for example we have a ‘links’ page with a list of suppliers that I am
happy to recommend to any of my customers. Many of them I have used myself,
some I have met at wedding fairs or networking events and love what they do and
some I have met via Facebook networking. If any of my customers ever have
questions about any supplier that I recommend I would be more than happy to
Our stall at the Holiday Inn Royal Victoria, Sheffield wedding fair.
Pinterest is a fabulous tool to gain ideas for planning
your wedding. If you are planning a wedding and you haven’t yet signed up for a
Pinterest account do it now because I can guarantee that you will love it!! You
can create boards for every aspect of your wedding and pin images and ideas
from websites you love. This also means that you can pin ideas and products
from the websites of the suppliers that you met at the wedding fair. You can
also follow their Pinterest accounts and see what they are pinning. At Rapunzel’s
Tower we pin images of the products we sell but we also have many boards
dedicated to different wedding themes to give you plenty of ideas for your
Follow us on Pinterest to view photos of our products and view our mood boards for different wedding themes.
Photography by: Holly Rose Stones Photography.
Impulse buys are great and can make the day so much fun but if you have any doubt and are unsure take the supplier’s details and think about whether or not you really want to book that service or buy that product. Having said that though many suppliers will have special offers available for bookings or purchases made on the day so if you fall in love with something then go for it and buy it on the day. I booked the chocolate fountain for my wedding day at the wedding fair at my venue which was great. If you are a little unsure and would like to go away and think about it ask the supplier if you bought it say within in a week would they honour the special wedding fair offer or discount – there is no harm in asking and they may just say yes!!
Many suppliers will also offer discounts for signing up
to their newsletters or they may have competitions running on the day. Enter
these!! You never know you may win the cake, tiara or dress of your dreams!!
My husband and I on our wedding day with the chocolate fountain that I booked at our venue's wedding fair.
Venue: Waterton Park Hotel, Wakefield.
Photography: Chris Chambers Photography.
Stick to your word
If you say that you will contact a supplier then do so. Even if you get home and decide that actually that supplier may be a bit out of your price range but you love their work still contact them and enquire as to what they can do for you. Many suppliers will be more than happy to work with you within your budget. They would rather have your custom than not so don’t be afraid to ask. If a supplier has said that they will contact you keep checking your spam folder of your emails for a couple of weeks after the fair as their email may have gone there by mistake.
Loving your suppliers
Planning a wedding is one of the most stressful and
expensive things that you will ever do in your life. Your wedding means the
world to you and you are handing over your hard earned cash to strangers in the
hope that they will make your dreams come true. For this reason it is so important
to build up a rapport with your suppliers. They don’t need to become your best
friends but you do need to get on with your suppliers and it is important that
they share your vision for the day. Now obviously there will be certain
suppliers that this will be more appropriate for than others. You need to have
a decent relationship with your photographer because they are with you all day
and you need to feel comfortable with them. The people who are making your
cake, invitations, table plans and who are styling your venue need to share
your vision and bring your ideas to life so you need to be able to work with
them. The person selling you your dress needs to make you feel like a princess.
Never buy a dress from someone who made you feel fat for example or who didn’t
listen to what you wanted. I bought my dress from the shop that made me feel
special and allowed me to try my dress on ten minutes before closing time after
I’d had a bad experience in another shop – they got that sale!! I had tried the
dress the week before, went to another shop on that day that didn’t treat me
too well so went back to the original shop and tried the dress I had loved the
week before again and ordered it there and then. Now I sell tiaras and I can
see that you would buy a tiara from me at a wedding fair for example and never
see me again, however I do still like to make my brides feel special and like a
princess. I will ask them about their weddings and offer advice about what
tiara would be best. This is where meeting your suppliers at wedding fairs can
be beneficial to you.
Me ready to chat to the brides to be at the Holiday Inn Royal Victoria, Sheffield wedding fair.
Wedding planning can be stressful but it should also be fun. I absolutely loved planning my wedding and four and a half years on I still miss it. I loved every second of the 22 months that it took me to plan my wedding. So have fun, enjoy it and please try not to stress. Enjoy looking around wedding fairs, meeting new suppliers and looking at all the pretty things. The chances are that you will only do this once in your life so embrace it and have fun.
I hope that my advice has helped you a little but I would love to hear from you. What have been your experiences of wedding fairs good or bad?
Unfortunately due to personal reasons we don’t have any
wedding fairs booked in the near future but hopefully we will be able to attend
some in 2015. If anyone is looking for wedding fairs in the South Yorkshire
area and would like any recommendations from me please get in touch.
Posted by Laura Lipscombe. Posted In : Wedding advice, tips and tricks