As you move into full tilt into wedding planning mode, it’s always worthwhile attending a few wedding fairs to meet potential suppliers or have a look at venues. If venues you are interested in host wedding fairs, it gives you the opportunity to have a good look around and also see the venue space and set up etc.
A lot of venues also have preferred suppliers who they deal with regularly and that kind of experience and history can ease a lot of planning stresses and worries if you know that all of your suppliers have worked together before. Some may even have referral discounts, like ours did with our photographer, which are always worthwhile considering.
Wedding fairs are a great source of inspiration, and suppliers will always have plenty of information about their products and services for you to have a look through and discuss in further detail. I also found that wedding suppliers often exhibited the newest trends in weddings, from flowers to cakes and stationery. You may see something on display at a wedding fair you had never considered for your day! We took away swatch samples of chair covers, we saw the sweetie cart we had and I trialled the airbrush makeup, all at a wedding fair. It also provided me with good information on dress boutiques as well, and one wedding fair we attended even put on a fashion show.
They give you a great opportunity to meet suppliers, have a chat and get an overall feel of how they work. I’ve said this before, but having a great relationship with your suppliers is vital, you are trusting them to help plan your special day, and you need to have confidence in their abilities to deliver what you want. Even at an early planning stage, visiting wedding fairs can start to give you a good idea on where you are on the price ranges for different aspects of the wedding.
Wedding fairs can be quite seasonal, which is understandable given that the most popular time to get married in the UK is the Summer. They will usually run from October to March, so bear this in mind in your planning process. I would add that you should limit the amount of fairs you commit to visiting though, by the third or fourth, you will most definitely be sick of them and you won’t be as enthusiastic to chat with the exhibitors if you have already done the rounds at a few. We visited around four, the last one we went to we only attended because it was being held at a venue we were keen on. I felt quite rude as one of the photography exhibitors tried to chat to me and Bobby while all we were interested in doing was sizing up the space!
I found Facebook a great way to find wedding fairs that were local to me, and I liked all the pages of the venues we were interested in to keep an eye out for updates. I also liked a lot of wedding resource pages on there, such as The Knot, but this page is a great one : The Vintage Wedding Fayre. This organisation runs wedding fairs up and down the country in major towns and cities and you’ll find a lot of their exhibitors have a ton of unique, bespoke ideas for your wedding. They also share a lot of supplier pages on Facebook, so you can like away to your hearts content! I ended up creating a separate feed list for all my wedding stuff so I could browse through quite easily whenever I wanted (which admittedly, was a LOT).
The other sites I used were Hitched, which lets you search by region, particularly handy if you are getting married far from home. It also lets you search by month, so the avid planners amongst you can really get ahead. Confetti also offer a similar service.
I joined a couple of wedding planning groups on Facebook too, and joined UK Bride, which is a social network for brides. The forums and discussion posts on there sites and groups are stuffed to the brim of useful information, tips and even on Facebook are linked to buy/sell groups – perfect for sourcing, and eventually selling, your must have items.
There’s a lot of great resources out there to help you in you wedding planning process, so use them!