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Wedding Fair Survival 101

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

If you’re planning a wedding chances are you’ll end up attending a wedding fair or two. Yes, wedding fairs can become somewhat addictive, be it at a potential venue or national exhibition show. Now, I love a wedding fair, which is fortunate considering my job, but the truth of the matter is that even the most enthusiastic of us can tire and go a bit wedding blind at such an event.

Wedding Fair Talk at the national wedding show with crowd watching stage

Don’t let the size mislead you, those in smaller venues can be just as intense as the national shows.

Many brides that I’ve spoken to have disappointedly said ‘ I don’t know what I expected’. It’s not your fault, its Hollywood! But you can still have a wonderful time by readjusting your expectations with a little reality check.

Know what you want from the day. Deciding what you want out of the day can feel a bit constraining; I want everything.

But thinking about what you are hoping to get from the day will really help keep you, and your expectations, on track. Are you there for all round inspiration? Are you hoping to try on a big range of dresses or suits? Or is it catering you need help with? Large scale exhibitions will often announce their exhibitors list before the event so have a scan through and see if there are any you absolutely want to visit and aim for these first.

Brides on catwalk at wedding show, wearing vintage style lace and boho dried flowers bouquet

Many Venues will offer their own wedding Fair or ‘open days’ and this is a fantastic way to meet suppliers; preferred or otherwise. If you are considering the location as a potential venue and they only allow their preferred supplier then its an honest way to get a feel for what all your wedding elements will look like. If they are open to any suppliers then you still have the benefit of seeing who is local and eager to be booked.

Go solo (or a very select few). We tend to romanticise all things wedding; consciously or unconsciously. The idea of venturing into a Wedding Fair wilderness with our most loyal subjects may seem like a good battle plan but the reality can resemble something a little closer to herding cats! Taking a tribe of people can invite a lot strong opinions you weren't expecting. Or NO opinions, which can be worse. Consider going with just one other person, your true wingman. Alternatively go solo. That way you can look at exactly what you want, for as long s you want, when you want!

Wedding fair mum and daughter watching wedding dresses holding champagne glass

Arrive Early. Even if the gates open at 9am on a rainy November Sunday. This is especially true for large exhibition shows such as the National Wedding Show at Excel London or NECBirmingham. Arriving early allows you to get your bearings without the hustle and bussle. You'll naturally adjust to the crowd as it grows throughout the day and you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed as soon as you arrive.

Emergency Kit; pain killers, water, salt, sugar, plasters. Be smart and think ahead. If you know you suffer with headaches pack some paracetamol. Acid Reflux? Gaviscon double action (don’t mess about) is your friend! On the snacks side of things something with a bit of salt and sugar is a quick fix to reenergise your body. And don’t forget the ever faithful bottle of water. Sip sip sip.

Wear the right shoes. Leave the heels at home and go for your much loved Ugg boots. It’s a long day on hard floors. Your feet will thank you. If you’re hoping to try on some dresses most will have sample shoes you can use. Alternatively the 'stand on your tippy-toes' trick works a treat! If you are determined to wear those heels, or any new shoes for that matter, take some flip flops as a back up and apply your Compeed Blister plasters BEFORE you venture out of the house.

Plan when you’ll eat. This may sound a little extreme but pre-planning a time to eat guarantees you’ll eat, or at least think to. Aside from a few samples, food options can be limited, expensive and slow. Its worth having a few essential snacks as back up in your emergency kit, especially if you have dietary needs. Some large venues will also list what food options are on site. Aside from a champagne bar.

Glamorous Bridal Catwalk being watched by wedding fair crowd

Grab flyers or ask for a list of exhibitors. No matter the size, it’s unlikely you’ll get to speak to everyone. Be that due to sheer volume, high demand or pure exhaustion from your side. Don’t feel you have to push it! Grab all the flyers people are trying to throw at you, stash them in your bang and do your research when you get home. If there is a supplier you are interested in mention you weren’t able to talk to them on the day. If they had an offer in place, it’s likely they’ll still offer it to you!

Don’t feel pressured to buy. Sadly some vendors adopt varying forms of bullying to win their way onto your potential supplier list. I’ve also seen bad advice covered with a faux and forceful air of expertise. Remember you are giving people your business and hard earned cash. They should be deserving of it. I'm not saying they should be your new best friend or lightly kiss the ground you walk but a bit of mutual respect and appreciation goes a long way.

Trust your instinct. If your gut says no, let your heart follow and don't try to convince yourself otherwise. You’ll always find it elsewhere.

Good Luck!

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