If you have never been to a wedding fair before, your first visit can  be an exciting, adrenalin filled, happy experience….or quite a frightening daunting one….Use this “Guide to Wedding Fairs” to help you get the most out of your wedding fair experience!

Wedding fayres can vary from very small affairs with just a few exhibitors in a church hall or hotel function room, to huge events with hundreds of exhibitors, competitions, cat walks shows and more in enormous conference centres or arenas.  Whichever kind of wedding show you are attending, you will be bombarded with information, flyers, freebies, phone numbers and website addresses.

How to approach a wedding fair depends on what you want to get out of it.  If you are at an extremely early stage of wedding preparations – your boyfriend proposed on Saturday night after being at the pub, and in the morning you set off bright and early to the nearest wedding fair with no idea of when, where or what your wedding will be like, you may wish to go with a very open mind and a large carrier bag.  In such a case, try to visit as many of the stalls as possible, even if they are for services or products that you aren’t sure of. Don’t spend too long at each as you will run out of time and energy by the time you half walked round the first half of the exhibitors.  As you go round the stalls you will no doubt start to form ideas about things you do and don’t like. If by the end of your tour of the wedding exhibitors, you have some favourite ideas, don’t be afraid to go back and re-visit particular stalls to ask questions or get more information – no exhibitor is ever going to mind people asking questions, no matter how silly you think they sound.

If you are at a later stage of your wedding preparations and know the wheres, whens and whats, or you just have a very strong opinion on how you want your wedding to be, your visit of the wedding fair may be quite different.  In this situation, you are much better to write a list, prior to setting off from home of the key services/products that you want to look at, then when you get to the fair focus your energy on finding relevant stalls and exhibitors offering those things.  However, if after you have visited those wedding exhibitors you have time left over, I would recommend that you then at least have a quick browse round the other stalls.  I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard of brides (including me!!) who have a very definite idea about what they want, only to stumble across something different half way through their wedding prep and change course entirely, switching to a new theme/colour scheme etc.

Some top tips for the day:

1. Take a pen and paper to make notes.  You will be bombarded with information and not all of it will be written down. You’ll be really annoyed if you get home and have forgotten essential pieces of info.

2. Usually bags will be provided by various exhibitors, but in case they aren’t, take a bag big enough to load up with flyers and freebies.

3.  Don’t get stuck talking to one particular exhibitor, unless you are absolutely sure they are providing something that you definitely want.  Some people have the gift of the gab and will keep you talking for a long time. You’ll have a limited time to get round all the stalls so try to limit your time at each, in particular ones your aren’t truly interested in!

4. If there’s a catwalk show and you’re looking for dresses or headpieces, do try to go along. It’s often much, much easier to tell what dresses and veils/birdcage veils look like when they are on a model rather than on a hanger or in a box.

5. Be open minded. As I mention above, sometimes you will surprise yourself with what tickles your fancy.  Type of wedding flowers that you originally had in mind may go out of the window when you see some of the bouquets and displays on offer. Colour schemes that you’ve dreamt of since you were 5 suddenly fade away as you see bridesmaid dresses and accessories in new, appealing colours.  The “I don’t need a fancy car” notion may change when you see that fab vintage Rolls Royce in all its glory on a stand.

6. Choose carefully your wedding fayre companion.  Make sure you don’t go with someone who is going to take over the day with their opinions.  It’s good to have a friend to go with to share ideas and opinions, but make sure it’s someone who’s going to give you the level of support and guidance you are looking for. Depending on you, this may be someone who is going to agree and have a giggle with you, or someone who will steer you away from crazy notions!

7. Finally, and most importantly, HAVE FUN!! Wedding fairs can be one of the most fun parts of your wedding prep.  Think of them like a huuuugeee, gorgeous treasure chest of ideas just waiting for you to delve into.  Don’t get stressed by the hustle and bustle, take your time, and remember – this is all about YOU and what you want for your wedding day which will (hopefully) only happen once, so just ENJOY IT! :-))))