So… he popped the question and, of course, you said Yes! So what’s next?
Many newly engaged couples, especially the brides to be, often want to jump straight into wedding planning but have no idea where to start, after-all, if you haven’t planned a wedding before how are you going to know where to start.
So that is where the ever growing population of Wedding Fairs comes in. They can be super inspirational and lots of fun for you and your partner, or even your bride tribe, but for some, they can also be a little overwhelming and confusing with so much on offer. As a wedding supplier who attends many wedding fairs every year, both big and small, I have put together a few top tips for Bride and Grooms to be when it comes to visiting wedding fairs.
Size doesn’t always matter
– Wedding fairs come in all different sizes and as a supplier I like to exhibit at a range of different fairs. I always exhibit at The Detling Wedding Fair which runs three times a year and is a huge fair attracting suppliers and engaged couples from the whole of the South East. But I also do smaller, local, intimate fairs at Hotels or Venues which tend to attract more local suppliers and couples. The fairs work in slightly different ways and give couples different experiences, so don’t be put off if a fair by the size of a fair, your prefect suppliers may just be there.
The large wedding fairs are great to give you more to look at, more choice and inspiration and often a greater range and variety of suppliers. However, these can also be a lot busier meaning that you are fighting through lots of other couples to get to the suppliers that you want to speak to. But don’t let this put you off. If you find a supplier you like at a large fair but its too busy to get close to them, have a look at their website or social media and see if they will be exhibiting at any other fairs. Sometimes it worth a trip to a smaller fair to get some better quality time to speak to suppliers that you are really interested in.
Smaller fairs, whilst they have a smaller selection of suppliers to choose from, they generally have a lower footfall meaning less couples so it is usually a more relax experience which gives you more opportunities to speak to suppliers in detail. Many venues also have a recommended supplier list and these suppliers will often be at the Venue’s own wedding fairs. This can be great as it gives you an idea of the calibre of suppliers that venue works with, and is a good starting point when you don’t know which suppliers are good. However, don’t feel like you cannot use suppliers that are not on a venues recommended supplier lists. Do your research and make the right choice for you.
Take a notepad (or even just a pen)
– Some wedding fairs can be pretty vast and will often host a number of suppliers from the same area so when you get home it can be difficult to remember who said what and what price came from which supplier. As your brain will no doubt be buzzing with excitement, trying to remember details is pretty impossible so take a notepad with you and jot down who you spoke to and details about what you discussed to come back to later on over a cup of tea (or a Gin and Tonic). If you forgot your notepad, which is what I always used to do, jot information down on the back of suppliers leaflets/business cards. Having this information will help you to work out who you may wish to follow up with at a later date and will give you a good starting point.
Collect flyers and business cards
– Some wedding fairs can be extremely large and busy which will mean that you many not get a change to talk to all the suppliers on a one to one basis. But if you see a supplier you like the look of, but their stand is too busy, take a card or leaflet and make a note (with the pen you remembered to bring) what it was that you liked on the stand and contact them after the fair for more information.
Don’t overthink it
– Wedding fairs are a great source of inspiration for many different aspects of your wedding. Try not to go to a wedding fair thinking that you HAVE to find specific suppliers or make final decisions for your big day. Use them, especially in the very beginning of your wedding planning journey, as a way to look into the world of weddings and be inspired to create a wedding which is a representation of you and your significant other. They are fun and exciting, enjoy the planning process.
Keep an Open Mind
– I often hear couples say they know exactly what they want for this or that. And that of course is fine. However, I have also heard more couples saying “I wished I have looked at that” or “I wished we had thought about having that instead of this”. While it is great to have an idea of what you want, don’t instantly dismiss alternatives or indeed suppliers that you don’t think you will need, as it could turn out they are actually perfect for your big day. Keep an open mind, look at everything and ask questions before making any yes or no decisions.
Pick the things YOU and YOUR PARTNER want
– When it comes down to it only the opinion of the engaged couple truly matters. What I mean is if you fall in love with an idea/supplier/product but Aunt Mildred, Sharon your MOH and your sister-in-law think its “not really you”, too pricey or just weird, then go with your gut. It is your big day after all. So if you want to speak to suppliers or look at something that those with you don’t, then send them for a coffee and spend all the time you need to establish your own feeling about it, ask the questions you want and get the information you need.
And on the flip side, don’t let a supplier talk you into something that you really don’t want. It is easy to get swept up with all the excitement of wedding fairs, especially when there is a “one off special offer price”. But try not to be talked into having a helicopter arrival and owls that place your rings on your finger unless they are things you actually want….if not, then walk away. Your wedding should reflect who you are as a couple.
Most of all enjoy the experience!
– Wedding fairs are a great source of information, knowledge and advice from experts within the industry so ask as many questions as you can and soak up all the ideas. They should not be a daunting place. Look around you, everyone in the room will either be working within the wedding world or on a wedding planning journey just like you. Take your time and enjoy the wedding planning process.
Good Luck and best wishes on your wedding planning adventure!