The Wedding Fair Survival Guide
When preparing for the biggest day of your life, every detail counts, and I know from experience the draw that having everything you need under one roof can have for many. Here I take a closer look at why attending wedding fairs is beneficial, just who you should take along for the ride and how every bride and groom attending can truly make the most of everything these events have to offer.
Wedding Fairs – love them or loathe them?
With the start of Spring, it’s likely that you’ll see a number of wedding fairs advertised within your local area and at leading venues throughout the region. Whilst in theory events like these provide all the assistance you need under one roof, entering the world of the wedding fair for the first time can be a flurry of both excitement and worry. Nearly 20,000 brides, grooms and supportive family members and friends attended the major wedding fairs last year, and whilst it can be the perfect way to kick start the planning process, the sheer scale of some of the larger events is often enough to scare even the savviest of wedding parties.
Wedding fairs can however give you access to the professional help you need, with the vast number of suppliers exhibiting and feature presentations on offer providing a great opportunity to tick many items off your never-ending ‘to do’ list. Many wedding fair organisers hand-pick suppliers so you can be confident you are choosing from the crème de la crème of your regional and even national wedding scene. In addition to providing easy access to a number of seasoned suppliers, the catwalk shows found at wedding expos are the perfect way to bring to life the pages of glossy wedding magazines. The same applies when considering ideas for your wedding day menu, and many suppliers will offer free tasting sessions enabling you to discover the sweet and savoury treats you need to complement your wider wedding style.
Just like your trips to bridal boutiques, attending a wedding fair can ultimately give you the chance to not only get your ducks in a row with every aspect of wedding planning and find the inspiration you need to cement plans firmly in place, but it also allows you to spend quality time in the run up to your special day with those nearest and dearest to you.
Who should you take along?
This is one question that is certain to be on many prospective brides and grooms’ lips, and for good reason, after all who you take along for the ride could affect just how successful your day at the fair will be. For many brides and grooms the prospect of talking wedding all day will either be enough to fill them with fear or excitement, so choosing your wedding fair allies is an important part of making the most of your visit.
Whilst it can be tempting to take all of your bridal party along with you, limiting the number of people that will be joining you is important. Brides and grooms attending with an entourage may find themselves swept up in how the wider party is finding the whole experience rather than staying focused on what they are there for. The prospect of too many opinions can also lead the average couple astray so make sure you take along a select and small group of people that are as excited as you are at the prospect of planning your wedding!
One individual that should not be overlooked when shortlisting your wedding fair A-team is your wedding planner. As well as being able to offer their expertise throughout the day, from stand to stand, your wedding planner can also direct you to the stands that are most applicable to your vision. Your wedding planner will be able to give you an opinion that you can trust, and one that is in your best interests in regards to your wedding day plans to date as well as your budget.
Top tips for attending a fair near you
As with any defining wedding planning experience, preparation makes perfect, and whilst there can be a lot to take in at a wedding fair, there is also a lot to be gained. First, make sure you choose the wedding fair that is right for you. There are many wedding fairs in operation throughout the UK, all of varying sizes and with a different list of exhibitions and features, but by being picky with which ones you attend you can stay on track. Determining where you are getting married, what time of year you are tying the knot, your desired wedding style and the wider inspiration that you are searching for are all factors that can help you identify which wedding fair is right for you. Your wedding planner will also be on hand to advise from their own professional experience which events are worth attending, which are not, and which fairs will suit you in particular.
Taking a little time beforehand to do your research will help you prioritise, which is essential at some of the larger wedding fairs that have countless stands, seminars and shows to explore. Before you hit the hunting trail, make sure you are fully clued up on the catwalk show times and any exhibitor talks that take your fancy. With the right planning you can enjoy every moment, score plenty of samples, ask all the right questions and take down the particulars of any suppliers that you like the look of.
If this is your first time attending a wedding fair, being open to new ideas and inspiration is the golden rule, after all whilst you may feel that your wedding day vision is set in stone, like wedding dress shopping, you may find that your tastes evolve the further you get into the wedding planning process.
Now for the practicalities…
Your wedding day offers the ideal excuse to glam up, but it’s best to think comfort when attending your chosen wedding fair. Flat shoes are advisable when exploring expos of all sizes, particularly the national and regional events that could see you on your feet all day. In addition to opting for comfortable attire, stay hydrated throughout the day with water and the odd glass of free fizz - wedding fair headaches are more common than you may think!
Wedding fairs are home to countless bridalwear suppliers giving you the biggest choice around for finding the wedding gown of your dreams so be prepared! Whilst flat shoes and blister plasters may be the call of the day, packing a pair of heels, preferably ones that have been chosen specifically for your special day or ones similar in style is a good idea. Taking along any swatches you’ve gathered so far, including those that relate to your colour scheme and fabric choices, can also help you visualise and find complementary items.
Wedding fairs are a great experience for all, whether you are a newly engaged bride to be that’s just keen to get started with planning, a groom who’s been dragged along kicking and screaming (don’t worry you will love it when you get there!) or a couple that is taking planning their big day all in their stride. Remember wedding fairs are the perfect place to get conversations going, obtain the information you need and connect with the suppliers that will make your wedding day extra special so take your time and enjoy!