So you've recently got engaged and you're planning the day of your dreams...
You're likely to be one of 2 types of people...You're massively extroverted and will chat to anyone who'll listen and tell them all your celebration plans, ideas and dreams...or you're shy and quiet and want to quietly gather information to digest at home with your other half...
If you're the former then a fair will be something that you will enjoy easily but it's important not to get too carried away chatting without taking the value away from the day. If you're the later, then you're probably scared half to death and feel anxious and intimidated at the prospect of having to speak to people...don't worry you've got this!
As a wedding supplier and recent bride, I've seen both sides of the coin. Wedding fairs are something to be enjoyed by everyone and can be a massive source of inspiration as well as meeting suppliers face to face.
Here are my top 10 tips of getting the most out of a Wedding Fair.
Look for fairs in magazines, at venues, online and on social media. The best fairs are those that operate in well known places and generally have a fair twice a year (spring and autumn). Look up past events to see if what they offer suits your personalities and read any reviews. It's also a good idea to look at what suppliers will be at the fair.
You may need to travel to fairs if you're planning on getting hitched outside of your local area or the fairs local to you are not what you want. It's definitely worth the travel for a good fair as you can gather information and some suppliers offer countrywide cover so it means you are still a potential client.
2. CHOOSE YOUR FAIR(S)
Before you go to any fair, consider what you are looking for and if they have it?
If you don't have anything booked, then be open minded and outline your budget. If you have something specific in mind, see what suppliers are at any potential fairs for that category. If you have a specific supplier in mind, maybe look to see if they are going to be at any fairs so that you can go speak to them face to face.
Ask yourself where you'd like to have your celebration of love, what kind of styles you like and what time of year. Also consider any suppliers who you may have already seen and make a rough plan of what you think you need to cover at the fair and what suppliers you need to target.
There are so many fairs...all very different from each other, make sure you chose a fair/fairs that is/are right for you.
3. GET YOUR CREW TOGETHER
If you want to get a group of your nearest and dearest to come along, then make sure you get a date in everyone's diary. You may also want to buy tickets as they are usually cheaper in advance, plus you avoid queuing on the day and for the larger fairs there may be VIP tickets...who doesn't need a random make over or glass of champers!
Whilst it's tempting to invite all your best friends, mum and Gran...it's much better to bring 2-3 close family/friends and even your other half if you're looking for ideas and not planning on trying on outfits.
If you want to go on your own then that is fine too. I think I went to about 5 wedding fairs on my own, whilst it can be intimidating, you can easily get around and think about things and what fits in with your plans.
If it's a large fair, you may want to spend all day there, get lunch and take your time. If that's the case it pays to be as early as possible. You may also be able to get a layout of the fair beforehand so you can plan who to speak to in what order. The same can be done if you know only the suppliers, make a list of who to speak to and tick them off as you go around.
From a suppliers point of view, the quietest time is always the last 1-2 hours of the fair, so if you want to avoid the crowds and get to speak to people without waiting then as long as you know you can get around in the time you have, I'd advise this to be the best time.
5. GET INVOLVED
There are often make overs, hairs trials, workshops, demos and catwalk shows, so make sure you are there to take part. Arrive well in advance (15 minutes early) and register for anything beforehand if required.
6. GET SPECIFIC
You've done all your planning so you should know what suppliers you'd like to target and what you're looking for roughly. Give yourself 2-3 things you want to achieve eg Book a cake maker, find 3 photographers who you want to find out more about and speak to any potential venues. This way you will find it manageable and easy to tick off.
7. WHAT TO WEAR/TAKE
Always wear whatever makes you feel good!
If the fair is small, then take a drink...you'll probably be talking a lot.
The larger fairs, especially the National ones are a whole different ball game. You'll need comfy shoes, blister plasters (if your shoes are not 100% worn in...trust me), snacks, drinks, a bag, any wedding bits (which might need matching for colour), underwear/shoes if you're trying on outfits, notebook plus a pen and your diary.
If you've done your research and planning properly, then you should turn up on the day being focused and know exactly what you want to achieve. This should also combat overwhelm and help you to get the most out of the day.
Suppliers are more than happy to help and give advice too, so if you're not sure about something or struggling then ask. The wedding industry is full of lovely people and they are there to help you so don't be afraid to ask...there are no questions they haven't heard before (that sounds like a challenge)!
9. TAKE A BREAK AND TAKE YOUR TIME
It's important that you take everything in...after all that's what you're there for so take your time and don't rush around.
For the larger fairs, there is so much going on that it can take so much energy. Make sure you have a break to have some food and a drink. Talk about what you've seen, check the show guide for people you still want to check out, make any notes, think about who you may need to go back to and any questions you need to ask.
10. HAVE FUN!
This is the most important part. If you're having fun then you'll more than likely get the most out of the fair. Enjoy the workshops, learn new skills, sip the Prosecco and eat the cake...
RELAX AND ENJOY IT!