When you get engaged it’s pretty common to look forward to wedding fairs and get some inspiration. I however attended plenty during the times my sisters were engaged and as a journalist, and for some reason I always found them pointless. I’d spent a lot of time politely taking cards and details of people’s stuff I don’t like with the intention of never contacting them, and then leaving with no more clarity than I started with.
Maybe it’s because it wasn’t my time and I wasn’t invested, but I now realise the trick to gaining anything at a wedding fair to have some idea at all about what you want, and only attend ones with suppliers you’ve at least looked at online. This will save a lot of time attending a fair, especially if it’s a long drive away, just to see suppliers that don’t exactly have your vision.
Here’s an example: I am in no way planning on having a traditional Asian wedding, so attending the large Asian wedding fair seemed pointless to me, yet I’ve been dragged along before and all it did was make me realise how I DON’T want my wedding. Instead, I chose to attend ones in the rural areas of Derbyshire and quaint ones in Edgbaston because I knew the suppliers would understand the rustic, understated and simplistic styling I was looking for.
Before any wedding fair, I go online to check the suppliers so I can have a mental list of who I really want to go and see, and that way you also don’t waste your time. Not only are wedding fairs useful for inspiration, they can help you get started with the suppliers you need. Knowing what florist, Cake Company or even photographer to go for is so difficult, especially in such a saturated market, so I’ve compiled my top tips on where to begin and how to decide:
1.) Word of mouth! – You certainly won’t be the first person you know who has gotten married, so simply ask for recommendations. People are generally happy to oblige, especially if they’re family.
2.) Google! If you want to find local cake shops nearby, then google is your easiest place to start. Jot down the top 4 and do some research on them, check out their portfolios and if you like some previous designs, keep them in mind for inquiry.
3.) Apps like Bridebook– there’s tons of websites and apps out there where a neat list of suppliers from all over the country are compiled into an easy list for you to research. Lots are free to join with, and on Bridebook you can even email the suppliers directly with a pre-prepared email to save time!
4.) Be honest about what you want. If you have an exact idea in your head, tell your suppliers, because it’ll speed up the process and make sure you get what you actually want. If you have photos to show, then bring them to meetings and see which suppliers are confident enough to provide you with that. For example, I knew the exact design I wanted for my cake and I asked 2 different suppliers if they could do it, and the one hesitated a little on the design, and from my research I know they do not typical have the design I wanted , so I decided to end that conversation there!
5.)Create a spreadsheet with supplier information– this is really important because most suppliers will let you pay deposits with different time frames for their final payments, so adding their details on a list with the dates you paid the deposit, when the last payment is in and any other relevant information will help keep you organised.
6.) Just bite the bullet. What I’ve seen is a lot is brides who struggle to say yes to suppliers because of fear of finding something else. There’s always going to be another company that does sweet carts or flower arrangements, but at one point you need to just stop and say; yes this will do nicely. Waiting for the perfect price, design and person could leave you stuck, and from experience most suppliers are credible people to invest in and have supplied the same thing to another before you.
As an extra helping hand, here is a list of suppliers I am using for my wedding so far that I found through fairs and google mostly!
Taxisnaps- a photo booth with a little difference! Have guests take pictures to take away in a vintage taxi outside your venue. http://www.taxisnaps.co.uk/
Be Inspired florist- a quaint shop in Lichfield who are more than accommodating, and honest about which flowers are friendly on the purse if you are trying to budget. I found this florist by visiting my own venue and I saw Gillian setting up flowers for another wedding similar and decided to enquire with her. http://www.beinspiredfloral.co.uk/
Candyland Birmingham- All the sweets you can imagine, designed how you want! I found their vintage sweets cart on Facebook because of an offer they posted. Most companies will do deals on Facebook, so it’s worth liking some local places and enquiring. I saved around £200 with this deal! https://www.candylandbirmingham.com/
Kayleigh Read Hair- I saw Kayleigh at a wedding fair doing a demonstration and saw some styles I liked. Her website had clear pricing so I knew what to expect, and she does not book another wedding on the same day as yours. www.kayleighread.co.uk
Something Borrowed- 4ft light up letters, found through Bridebook and bought through a deal I saw on Facebook! http://somethingborrowedhire.com/product-tag/4ft-light-up-love-letters/.
It can be tough knowing where to begin, especially since it costs so much money! Hopefully these tips have helped you if you’re recently engaged and need some inspiration. To see my review of a recent wedding fair at Edgbaston click here!