Do’s and Don’ts of Attending Wedding Fairs

Hello! I’m Laura, from The Style Stories, and I’m getting married in 2019. Planning our wedding has been a crash course in logistics, creative directorship and financial management, but it’s also been incredible fun so far. I’m enjoying (almost) every moment of planning our big day and collecting top tips along the way to share with you, my fellow brides-to-be.

I’m working with the Apex to share with you the details of their upcoming wedding fairs in Edinburgh and Dundee – but if you’re anything like me, you might not know what wedding fairs are really all about, or where to even begin.

Before we got engaged, I never thought a wedding fair would be my kind of thing but as soon as we started mapping out ideas for our wedding, we quickly realised just how useful they can be in helping you to gather ideas, find out a bit more about costs and options, and generally get your plans in order. Attending a wedding fair is a great way to kick off your planning and I’d definitely advise squeezing in a couple during your planning process, particularly at the beginning when you’re brainstorming, and towards the end, for those last-minute bits and pieces.

So, you’ve got your tickets and you think you’re ready to go – but are you really? If you’re not organised and you don’t know what to expect, a room full of suppliers jostling for your attention (and your budget) can be a little overwhelming – which is where I come in. Here are my do’s and don’ts for attending wedding fairs, to help keep you on track, organised and in control of that budget, feeling like a serene bride-to-be rather than a panicked bridezilla on the loose!

DO go with your fiance

This is your wedding, nobody else’s, so whoever you decide to bring along with you to a wedding fair, make sure that one of those people is your fiance. You can discuss ideas together, find suppliers or suggestions you both like and steer clear of those that you’re not so keen on, whilst keeping each other on the right track. There’s nothing like a pack of overexcited bridesmaids to help you lose control, forget about your plans and start booking suppliers without running them past your partner!

DO think about what you need before you go

 

As helpful as it is to use a wedding fair to gather inspiration, you should go with some kind of starting point in your head, otherwise you could be wandering aimlessly from stall to stall and getting nowhere fast. Have a list of things you absolutely need (a venue, a celebrant, a photographer, rings) and things you’d like (a videographer, decorations, entertainment). Hone in on the style of wedding you’d like before you head along too, so you don’t waste time talking to a rustic wedding barn when you’re really dreaming of a slick city-centre hotel. Make a list of your key items and seek out those suppliers who fit the brief, to make the most of your time.

DO keep an open mind

That being said, it’s important not to be too focused on the exact details before you go along to a wedding fair, especially if you’re in the early stages of planning. Be willing to take suggestions and actively seek out new ideas from suppliers you meet on the day – you might just find an idea you totally love but never would have thought of.

DO decide on your budget before you go

This is such an important one, and I can’t stress it enough – it’s an absolute must. Before you even think about attending a wedding fair, sit down with your fiance and work out exactly how much you have to spend. You don’t need to break it down into costs per supplier at this stage – you just need to know how much you have to spend overall, and once you’ve had conversations with suppliers, you’ll know how you can break that budget down. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with something only to discover later that there’s no way that you can afford it, so be decisive with your budget and go along to the wedding fair with that figure firmly in mind.

DO take your time

Wedding fairs can be a little overwhelming for the uninitiated but they don’t have to be. The key is to take your time. I’d advise doing an initial circuit of the wedding fair, taking a note of any suppliers that catch your eye or fit your brief, and then, on your second lap, stop and talk to everyone that you noted down. Tell them as much as you can about your ideas or what you already have planned and jot down their suggestions too. Remember, suppliers want to help you and they want to be a part of your day, so take your time to talk them through your suggestions and ask any questions you might have.

DON’T take too many people

At the beginning, anyway. I think your first wedding fair should just be the two of you, to give you both the opportunity to look at everything and whittle down what it is that you want for your wedding day. Lots of people = lots of opinions, which isn’t always helpful. There are plenty of opportunities to go to wedding fairs with the bridal party or the mums before the big day, and you should definitely enjoy these opportunities when they come up and enjoy a glam day out with your bride tribe – but if you’re looking to get serious, keep the guestlist small to start with.

DON’T feel under pressure to book on the spot

This is very rare for suppliers, from my experience, but you shouldn’t succumb to any pressure to book anything on the day – unless you’re 100% sold on it of course (and it fits your brief and your budget!). Wedding fairs are primarily for inspiration and ideas, and there’s plenty of time to follow up with suppliers after the event to talk details and confirm bookings, so keep the chat about what suppliers can do for you and get a general idea of costs if you can. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you feel pressured to book up.

DON’T be afraid to ask questions, request samples or find out about discounts

Your wedding day is the most special (and likely most expensive) day of your life, and you should be able to have it the way that you want it – within reason of course! Don’t be scared to ask as many questions as you have about what that supplier can offer you, or if you’d rather go through it all on email, sign up to their mailing list or request a business card so that you can drop them a line. And if they’re the kind of supplier that can offer samples – say, food, drink, flowers, stationery – don’t be afraid to ask for some. Suppliers will be very willing to help you as they want you to love their offering and ultimately book them for your big day, so don’t worry that you’re being cheeky – samples are there for a reason! Along the same lines, suppliers sometimes offer exclusive wedding fair discounts if you book with them, so ask if they are running any special offers for fair attendees. Not every supplier will do this but it’s always worth asking, as 10% on a thousand-pound purchase is a hefty saving and it all adds up!

I hope that my top tips will help you to enjoy your wedding-fair experience – and remember that the team at the Apex will always be on-hand to help on the day, as well as showing you their own wedding offerings too.

Get your free tickets to the Apex Edinburgh Wedding Fair here and the Apex Dundee Wedding Fair here.

Follow me @thestylestoriesblog and keep up to date with my wedding planning journey at www.thestylestories.co.uk