How To Get The Most Out Of Wedding Fairs
It’s coming up to the time of year where wedding fairs are rife: late September/early October is the yearly explosion and they continue all the way through to spring next year, before laying dormant in the summer (a little bit like Michael Buble who, twitter tells me, is defrosting as we speak).
You may remember an infamous viral video from a couple of months ago that suggested the best way to do wedding fairs was to pretend you were getting married, steal all the freebies and run off. It was – can’t imagine why – hastily removed following instantaneous and fairly vociferous objection from the wedding community, arguing that it portrays the wedding industry in a bad light and encourages bad behaviour.
But the question still remains, wedding fairs are overwhelming, so how can you make the most out of them? Here’s our guide on not losing your head in all of the mayhem:
Take people you can rely on
Now, unreasonable expectations of bridesmaids and maids of honour is a whole other post for a whole different day, but with reasonable advance notice and if it’s something your MoH would enjoy doing, wedding fairs can be super fun days out. However, very similarly to dress shopping, take a minimal crack squad who bring out the best in you. If you take a lot of people (any more than you + 3, kind of) you’ll inevitably get split up. That, and it’ll just be annoying having to gather everyone round one small stall. Make sure they’re pals that can enhance your decision making and can highlight to you what you really want – yes, that sparkly tiara may look stunning on the stand, but haven’t you always wanted to wear your grandma’s vintage hair vine? That kind of thing. Don’t sacrifice military precision for anything, either: take your gals and guys who you have a major giggle with. You are getting married, after all, it’s supposed to be enjoyable.
...And don't discount your partner from that
Crazy how many people don't take their partner for wedding fairs. If they don't really care and would just whinge the whole way round, that's fair enough. But take a punt and ask if they'd like to go - it's quality time together and it's a load of fun. They'll also probably appreciate being asked to be a part of the big decisions that impact their big day too.
Do your research
With so many wedding fairs out there and so many wedding suppliers exhibiting at them all, wedding fairs are all carving a niche. Gone are the days of wide-scoped location-dependent fairs – instead, we have a plethora of carefully targeted fairs with hand curated applicants all representing a specific type of look. If you’re not looking for giant multi-national companies exhibiting, there are certain exhibitions and shows to avoid, while similarly if you’re not looking for independent makers, avoid those shows instead.
Don’t take the freebies (or the piss)
Take the freebies if you’re genuinely interested. Freebies take hard-earned money and time to make. Yes, their stand looks exceptional, yes, their cakes are so phenomenal you can’t believe they’re real cake, but that doesn’t mean the plate of tasters in front of you is an insignificant part of their business model. Common sense applies: if you’re genuinely interested in a supplier and think they could be the one for you, take the cake and eat it too – the taste is quite an important element of cakes, I find. This also extends to other suppliers: even paper flyers cost to design, produce, print and send, so don’t take things you’re 100% not interested in.
Do take photos
Ask the suppliers first, but generally they spend a lot of time and effort making a stand look drop-dead gorgeous, so they'll love the chance to get it more recognition. If there are particular elements you really like, styling inspiration you find or colours you just can't get enough of, register them all for the future. Just don't take a photo to then take to another supplier and ask them to do the same but cheaper. THat's not cool, and if your suppliers worth anything they'd politely say no.
Another good reason to not take every single thing you’re handed is that it will become incredibly difficult for you to work out what you like at the end of the day. If you take a different leaflet for 100 unique photographers, you’re not going to remember which ones you really liked, period. Be discerning and handpick the promotional material you take home with you. Most of the graft should be done at the fair, chatting to suppliers and getting to know them to see if they fit your wedding – not the day after, after one too many bubbles, surrounded by an island of leaflets whilst sat on your living room floor.
Gear up for it
Let’s face it: wedding fairs are long days, stood on your feet, with your poor body going into sensory overload at all the lights, sights, sounds, and information that’s thrown at you. Try and face it with a positive attitude, and prepare yourself for an exhausting but rewarding day, and it will be a really fruitful experience. Go in complaining about the volume of people or the quality of the welcome drink and you’re going to be disappointed.
Honestly, just have a ball. You’re getting married and it should be super fun – and the right fairs and suppliers will share that excitement with you. Your themes, plans and ideas should spark something in them, and you’ll both feel a little giddy – and that is a truly magical moment. There's also usually great music, great catwalks and GOOD VIBES, people. Add onto that flowing alcohol and your best pals and all in all, a fab weekend!