We learned so much when planning our wedding, if only we’d known about it all from the very start. So, we’re putting together some blog posts sharing our own experiences, with the hope it might help others in the same boat.
This one is about wedding fairs.
January can only mean one thing when you’re engaged – wedding planning season. Wedding fairs, hotel open days – the adverts are everywhere, making it to so enticing to visit each one. The quest to find the best services and products, get the best deals, book the most sought after venues. It can be a tiring but fruitful process.
These are our experiences with them and what we learned.
Do your homework
Before you visit a wedding fair, have an idea or make a list of suppliers you’ve still to book, or information you want clarified from any suppliers you’re considering booking. If you’re visiting one of the bigger fairs or exhibitions, it can be a long day of walking around, talking to several people and collecting a lot of information. So you may want to prioritise and start the day by focusing on the stalls and services on your list first, and leave the extras and ‘might be-s’ till the end when you’re tired and just want to leave already.
Be prepared for the questions
The first wedding fair can be quite overwhelming – especially if you’ve only just started out wedding planning, and don’t have a date or a venue. (Naturally) You will get asked the same questions at each stall: ‘Have you picked a date?’ , ‘Have you got a venue?’ It can feel quite stressful and overwhelming if you haven’t already picked these things – just don’t worry about it, it’s okay to say no you’re still looking,
If you don’t have a date for the wedding booked yet, have a season or a month in mind – this will be handy in finding out how busy a venue can get or how fully booked it already is. You might end up picking your date based on when your choice venue is free.
Take the right people with you
People often assume the groom has no need to visit a wedding fair, because it is mostly bride-orientated. Nonsense! There are stalls catered towards the groom too, and there are aspects of the wedding that you’ll need to make decisions about together. Going together is useful to get an idea of what you both like and where your differences are (if you haven’t got an idea already). You might both also see suppliers you’d forgotten about or like the idea of – like a DJ or an ice cream van. It’s better to talk to suppliers and see the products together, rather than having to sell it to your other half later at home.
Having said that, you can’t both be expected to attend each and every fair together. If you (as the bride) intend on visiting more than one wedding fair, you should perhaps visit with some female companions. There are things you would need a woman’s opinion on and you get a different feel for things in the company of your female relatives and friends (although you might have the perfect other half, you can’t expect them to get as excited as you over sparkling tiaras). Just remember you won’t all have the same opinion about things because you aren’t all the same people, and it doesn’t matter if you disagree – after all it is your wedding. On the other hand, your female relatives’ own experiences and ideas may make you consider something you never would have thought of yourself.
You don’t need to visit them all
The prospect of planning a wedding can be so exciting that it might make you feel like you need to visit them all, in order to get the most out of it. You don’t. It can be too overwhelming as there is such a thing as too many ideas. The same suppliers tend to be at a lot of the fairs, so you might just end up seeing the same ones. We personally didn’t see the point of paying to visit more than one fair, especially as there are a lot of free ones to choose from too.
Think about footwear
A day of walking around and lugging heavy magazines and brochures with you, might ask for a comfortable pair of shoes. However, if you’re planning on trying out dresses at any of the fairs (with the possibility of discounts offered at some of them), it might be an idea to take along a pair of heels with you.
Well obviously you’re going to accumulate a lot of freebies. Isn’t that the real reason for visiting wedding fairs 😛 Make the most of it. There will be free goody bags with free wedding magazines (that usually cost a bit), sweets, and best of all – cake sampling! Some venue open days also offer drinks and canapes – it’d be rude not to!
Visit venue open days
Although we’ve said you may not want to visit every wedding fair, you may want to visit as many venue open days as you can, especially if you’re still stuck on picking a venue. A wedding open day is the perfect way to view the venues as they will all be decked out and set up as for a wedding, and you get to see them in all their glory (it’s harder to imagine the venue for your wedding if it’s empty and devoid of any decor). A lot of the open days will also exhibit suppliers that have experience in working with that specific venue, and may also give discounts if you’re picking that venue (don’t quote us on that though).
If you’re planning on having a hotel as a wedding venue so that you/your guests can stay over (like we did) this is also the perfect opportunity to view the bedrooms and most importantly the honeymoon suites.
(And also, you get to check out all the amazing, expensive hotel rooms you may not get to see at any other time.)
There isn’t just one type of wedding fair
You could be planning a wedding that’s alternative, vintage, fairytale or multi-cultural. Keep an eye out for wedding fairs that cater to these styles as you’ll be more likely to find what you’re looking for here than a generic larger scale fair. A quick search on Google or Facebook events under these terms might point you in the right direction.
We ended up with a mountain of magazine, leaflets, vouchers from our collection of fairs. When you return from your honeymoon, you can’t help but wonder how many trees were involved in the planning of your wedding. There’s no reason you can’t think of the environment.
(Photograph by Suzanne Li Photography (@suzanneli on Instagram))