Calling out all the Bride to Be’s out there…
I don’t know about you but I found that once I got engaged I couldn’t wait to go to any event associated with weddings. It makes sense – in the beginning the wedding is all you can think and talk of (you will burn out, trust me on that) so it’s natural you would want to surround yourself with people who share the excitement. A wedding fair can also be the perfect event to launch into all your planning. There’s so many benefits to going to these fairs and while you might not get everything out of it that you’re hoping it can also be still be good fun. Another plus is that it can help you to familiarize yourself with different suppliers before taking the plunge of booking one. Taking my seasoned experience of having attended a whole two wedding fairs I thought I’d offer some sage advice… a couple of do’s and don’ts if you will..
- Do go in with a plan.
While I enjoyed both fairs I will admit that they overwhelmed me. There’s so many stands and so many similar products. It can be exhausting, all of the booths can end up merging into one. I think the best approach is to go in with a set plan of what you want to achieve. Even if it’s the smaller things – cake, cars, invitations (more of that below) – do a bit of advance research. Because I didn’t really know what I was looking for I found that I either avoided everything (himself and I got nothing) or impulsively bought (with my mother I came out with a shoot booth and two teeth whitening kits). Overall though I didn’t feel that I’d progressed much further in my planning or ticked anything off the to do list.
- Don’t bring the wrong people with you.
As I previously mentioned men can be a bit overwhelmed by the whole wedding experience, or possibly how some brides (ahem) tend to just swan dive into it. If you’re having trouble dragging your man to see venues then you may also struggle trying to get him to an all-day exhibition of “everything wedding”. Now having said that by the time our first wedding fair rolled around I was six months in and had become a seasoned pro at the wedding
manip compromise game. It was September and I wanted him to come to the Wedding and Honeymoon Showcase. We already had the venue and band booked so I was able to coax him under false pretenses by promising him the possibility of a discounted honeymoon (of course there were no cheap honeymoons, come on). I should also mention that it was our first and last wedding fair together. It took us two attempts to get there – Saturday was derailed due to a row over parking while Sundays visit was so unproductive that we both agreed that we were just a bad combination when it came to organizing the wedding. By the time the Bride of the Year fair rolled around the following January I didn’t even bother to ask him. Instead I brought my mother who had long since become my partner in crime when it came to all things wedding.
- Do make the most of the free samples.
Champagne and cake that is. I sound so stingy saying this but do you know what, I don’t care. Nothing is free when it comes to your wedding. Nothing. In fact, the whole thing will usually work out to be pretty damn expensive. I imagine that so many suppliers must add an extra 0 onto the price when it relates to a wedding. There’s no recession anymore they’re not struggling for business. This is one of your few chances to milk your position as a bride to be. It’s when you get the suppliers at their most generous (it doesn’t last). It’s also the only chance you’ll get to really play boss as once you hand over that deposit it’s game over. You’re all in, theirs for the taking. My mother and I went from cake stand to cake stand testing out the different samples (all in the name of research I tells ya) and while I didn’t buy a cake right there and then I did find my eventual cake supplier. As a bonus, we also discovered salted caramel – a flavor that I’m shocked to say I’d never come across before. It’s the little things people.
- Don’t make any big decisions at a wedding fair.
Now, this could be me being over cautious but when it comes to big things like your venue, photographer, videographer, makeup etc I think it’s best to listen to all the information they give you and then walk away and do more research. I don’t think you can get a proper idea of an overall experience with the photographer by viewing the one album he’s showing off. Nor do I think you can pick a venue without seeing and walking around the hotel. Take in all the information, get the suppliers names and then go to the likes of weddingsonline.com or One Fab Day. On those sites, you can view feedback – legitimate feedback might I add not just what the supplier wants you to see. Weddings Online has a great online community forum and if you post the name of the supplier you’re thinking of using you’ll find that there’s nearly always someone in there that knows of them and will give you an honest opinion. If they’re throwing a discount at you just tell them you’ll need a few days to think – they’ll usually offer a cooling off period anyway – if they tell you that they might have to take the discount off you for wanting to mull it over? Well then they probably weren’t that sound to begin with.
- Do make smaller decisions.
I’d say go with your invitations and a car if you can. For a car have a good idea of the make you want, how much it might cost and if they’re offering you a discount then happy days. You could get the other half involved or you could just as easily leave him out. For me, himself wasn’t too pushed on the type of car we got once it was vintage. If I could do it again I’d have just booked our car at the wedding fair – not because it’s a hassle to do it closer to them time but just because we’d probably have gotten a discount. Invitations may sound more personal but I’d advise you to have an idea of what style you want to go for, a rough estimate of your numbers and just get a deposit down. Why you ask? Simple – it’s the dullest job of them all. At least it is to me. It’s so… persnickety. Far too much detail for my liking. It’s also rather difficult to make any decisions when you can’t hold or feel a sample (you can order a sample pack but if you end up leaving it as late as I did you’ll find there’s no time). Invitations are also robbery. When I eventually managed to pick a supplier I couldn’t believe the price we were being charged. I double checked with Yoda in work (my trusted wedding guru for those who have just joined) and she confirmed that it was around on par with most companies. Don’t even get me started on stamps.
So there you have it, that’s my very knowledgeable opinion on how best to handle a wedding fair.
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