A Wedding Fair Survival Guide

September marks the beginning of the numerous wedding fairs around the country and if you plan on attending any of them, which I highly suggest you do, you should be prepared. I have compiled a list of wedding fair survival tips to get you through the day efficiently.

  • Have a plan. Are you attending this wedding fair to get inspiration for a particular project or to find a particular vendor or are you there with an open mind to meet as many vendors as you can? Knowing this can streamline the entire process because if you know you are only looking for musicians, you can spend far less time at the rest of the stands.
  • Wear comfortable shoes! You are going to be walking, in some cases for hours if it is a large show, so be prepared with some comfortable trainers or flats. This is not a good time to break in those wedding shoes!
  • Listen. You may think that you know everything that a vendor could tell you but you may just find one that is really unique and has a lot of tips for you.
  • Collect all of the literature, even if you don’t think you need a particular supplier. You never know what might happen and that contact could come in handy.
  • Set up an email address just for wedding-related emails. This prevents you from working on your wedding when you should be doing other things, like working. You would be surprised how many brides supply me with their work email address! Also, keep your new email address short because you will be writing it over and over again.
  • Enter the raffles and contests. They’re free-why not?! Make sure you write legibly on the entry form because if you win and the supplier can’t tell if that is a hyphen or an underscore in your email address, you’re going to miss out on your prize.
  • Be honest. If you know that there is no way you would ever hire a string quartet, don’t spend all day speaking to them about their work. If a vendor approaches you that you don’t think you want to work with politely say “We haven’t decided if we are going to use a string quartet just yet but may I take a brochure for future reference?” and move on.
  • Bring your diary. Wedding vendors love to speak to couples about their wedding but it is simply impossible to dedicate their full attention to you when others are coming up to them for information. If you are interested in what a vendor has to offer, ask to make an appointment to discuss your needs further.
  • Bring a tote bag. Some wedding fairs will give you a bag to carry all of the literature that you have collected but it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. These fairs are filled with wedding professionals who eat, sleep and breathe weddings.
  • If possible, avoid bringing small children. It may seem like a cute idea to bring your flower girl to look at the dresses but when she starts crying because she is exhausted from walking around all day, you’ll realise that it probably wasn’t the best idea. Do you remember how much you hated having to go shopping with your mum as a kid? The same principle applies here. Not to mention there is a lot of expensive and attractive equipment on display and you would hate for your little one to be the one with his hands in the chocolate fountain.
  • Have a pen handy. If you learn any tips from the vendors at the fair, jot it down on their literature so you remember who that knowledgeable baker was when you get home. You may also want to mark literature of vendors that you really liked.
  • Bring a friend. This can be your best friend, your mum or even better, your fiance. You are going to have lots of ideas that you want to bounce off of someone while you are at the fair, not to mention they can help you remember who was who when you get home.
  • Check out the supplier list before the show. This can help you create your list of must-see suppliers and view their websites in order to be prepared to speak with them and make and appointment.
  • When you get home, go through all of your literature and put it in a folder. This way if you ever need to refer back to find a vendor, everything is at your fingertips.
  • Bring a camera. You might find the perfect floral centerpiece and then forget exactly what it looks like by the time you get home.
  • Bring your chequebook. Some suppliers offer products for sale at the fair while those who offer a service will usually not. Keep mind it can be a one-stop shop but you will have to book an appointment to speak in more detail to certain vendors.
  • Bring colour swatches. If you are planning on buying accessories, you will want to be sure that they match perfectly.
  • Prepare to be overwhelmed. These fairs can sometimes have over 100 suppliers and you are going to have no idea who told you what by the end of the day. Take good notes and remember that the photographer that you walk up to is going to have no idea that you have just been asked if you’ve booked a photographer 5 times by 5 other photographers. Don’t hold it against him, we mean well:)

I hope that these tips will help you in navigating the wedding fairs effectively. Don’t forget, this is supposed to be fun so enjoy yourself!!!

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