I totally get it. Wedding planning is a massive task and as exciting as it is, it can also cause a lot of stress and sleepless nights… I mean, where do you even begin?! Wedding Fairs or Expo’s can be a great place to find inspiration and meet a whole stack of vendors that are conveniently all under one roof – but if you’ve never been to one before, they can be quite overwhelming and it can all be a little full on. Before you go popping that wedding fair cherry of yours, you totally need a game plan – and that’s where I’d like to help!
BEFORE YOU GO TO A WEDDING EXPO:
– I know, it’s such a girly thing of me to say – but think about what you’re going to wear. If it is a large fair and you’re at the beginning stages of dreaming & planning, you could be there for quite a while – so make sure you’ve got on some comfy flats!
– Make sure you take a large bag with you! If you can imagine walking between stalls, surrounded by stacks of people – some vendors may throw brochures or business cards at you (overwhelming much!), it makes it super easy to hold them all if you have a large bag you can put them into…
– It’s not the day for your tightest, skinniest jeans. Remember, a lot of bakers have cakes to sample and try – and the aim of the game is to try everything right?! (or maybe that’s just me but how will you know which sort of cake you like best until you’ve tried them all!)
– Think about who you would like to take with you. My advice ladies is that if you are at the beginning stages of planning, your fiance may not have the endurance it takes to check everything out… twice. I think Wedding Fairs are a great excuse to hang with your girls and / or your mum! Then, once you have narrowed down what you love and some vendors you want to get to know, get that boy involved!
– Do some research! Check out the vendors that are going to be at the fair BEFORE you turn up – that way you know who you want to speak with and can think of any questions you might want to ask. Preparation is the key to getting the most out of a wedding fair…
DURING THE WEDDING EXPO:
– Arrive early. If it is a popular fair, arriving early may mean you don’t have to wait in a line to enter (or the line isn’t very big!) and it also means that all of the vendors that you might want to chat to will be free. As the day gets busier, so do the vendors!
– Stay hydrated. Not all fairs have water available for their guests (something which I think is just plain crazy) so make sure to bring a big bottle of water, especially if you’re hitting one up in Summer. Throwing in a piece of fruit or granola bar won’t hurt either! Even’s out all that cake tasting I’d say!
– Be weary of “show specials” – Let’s just get real for a minute. A Wedding Fair or Expo is full of businesses that have paid $1000+ to have a stall there (yes, the stall fee but also the decorating, styling and oh so much more) and so, it makes sense that they want to make their money back. That’s just good business. However, what I do want to warn you against dear bride, is making any decisions because of the “saving” you might receive or the pressure you might feel as it is a “today only” price. My advice would be to only commit to these types of deals if you have done your research and you know which supplier you want to book and it just so happens, they have a show special – then by all means go for it! BUT, do not make any rash decisions without researching first!
– Whip out your phone and take photos of anything that inspires you! With so much going on, it’s hard to remember details afterwards (well, I struggle anyway) Vendors won’t mind you taking a quick snap of their stall, and it will help you remember the elements that really caught your eye… plus, you can post some photos to Instagram using the fairs hashtag, which is always fun and appreciated by the organisers…. bonus!
– Talk to vendors… and by this, I don’t just mean asking them how much they charge and if they are available. Talk to them in a way that you can get to know them, see if you connect with them. Your wedding suppliers (especially your photographer & videographer) are going to be spending your entire wedding day with you – you kinda want to like them right? It will have a huge impact on how much you enjoy your day, so chat to them like normal people… trust me, this will save you oodles of time later down the track!
AFTER THE WEDDING EXPO:
– Dedicate some time to sorting out your thoughts & impressions from the fair. As I mentioned, you will get a small truckload of business cards, so I would suggest sorting them into vendor types (for example: venues, photographers, videographers, bakers, stylists, planners) and noting down your thoughts about each one. Which supplier would suit your style? Was there any that really stood out to you? Did you connect with any that you want to get to know better? All of these questions are super important to ask yourself before you even go delving into the world of pricing!
– If there were any suppliers that you think may be right for you (and trust me, there are a whole lot of vendors that don’t go to fairs – so you might not find yours there) check out their social media channels and start following them – I find social media is a great tool to provide you with insight into what they are about as well!
– Make appointments & introduce your fiance to your shortlist (which should only have a MAXIMUM of 3 different businesses from each category on it) Trust me, you don’t need to meet anymore than that!