I am attending my very first one as visitor would you believe! I have picked Brides, in London, but there are

lots of wedding fairs you can pick from

– depending whether you prefer to visit a big National wedding fair, a small fair at a venue you might have earmarked for your wedding or an alternative wedding fair like WedFest in Sussex or A Most Curious wedding fair in London.

 

Anyway, as I took quite a lot of time to plan my visit to Brides this autumn, I thought it might be

useful

to share it here, in case you are  planning one too.

I am assuming here you have already researched the fair and decided which one is the right one for you to attend. Now here’s the list I have compiled, a list of

21 key points to tick

  1. Book early and save – you might be able to get an early bird ticket or shop around for promotional codes or special offers
  2. Visit the show website to get familiar with venue, exhibition, special features, facilities….
  3. Plan your day, prioritise – you might not be able to see everyone and everything, especially if there are also live events, catwalks, experiences that you want to attend. Make sure you highlight your top 5 must see wedding suppliers for example.
  4. Plan travel with some buffering time. If the wedding fair you are attending is in the countryside, it might be in a venue that’s quite remote, or down a double carriage way with entrance only on one side (like at Castle Goring for example, near Worthing in West Sussex. This stunning venue, owned by Lady Colin Campbell, is only accessible from one side of the road. Miss it, or arrive from the wrong side, and you’ll have to drive a few more miles…)
  5. Arrive early. I attend a lot of wedding fairs as an exhibitor, and I can tell you that the first hour is normally the quietest. People rarely arrive on the dot of the opening time. Now, this might be different at big national fairs, but either way, the earlier you are the more time in you get.
  6. Choose what to wear – yes you want to feel stylish but you are likely to walk miles, especially if the car park is a little further from the venue itself, so think comfy too, especially shoes! And layer it up, as the westher might be cold or breezy outside, but the temperature is likely to rise with the amount of visitors inside.
  7. Have your “Mary Poppins bag of essentials” with you. My rather large handbag always has: plasters, a bottle of water, a measuring tape, colour swatches/mood board of whatever project I am working on (obviously for you it might be your wedding palette….); my little black book (mine’s silver but hey!); pen and paper; mobile phone; diary; mini make up bag; good snacks as I don’t always want to stop or don’t like the lunches on offer (anemic sandwiches are not one of my favourite food, and there can be a lot of those sadly at fairs or exhibitions)
  8. Take a friend or two for company, more fun and a second opinion (especially if you are on the lookout for big purchases like your wedding dress)
  9. Take a spare phone battery – I love having one as it means i never have to worry about saving up on how much I use my phone, in between taking pics, videao, looking up information online, being able to meet up with friends on the day….
  10. Empty your phone pictures and videos – It happened to me recently at a gig (not a wedding fair but the principle is the same). I had forgotten to clean/clear my pics and videoa for a long time, and my phone started to refuse to take snaps 🙁
  11. Ramster Hall wedding fairMeet lots of suppliers under one roof at wedding fairs – like at Ramster Hall (Surrey) Wedding Fair every January
  12. Take lots of pictures and videos –it’s  often quicker, easier and more memorable than taking notes
  13. Take a sturdy, foldable carry bag inside your bag – why? in case you buy accessories on the day, it saves you on bringing back lots of plastic home; to keep all the literature you’ll collect together too. I love my LONGCHAMP “pliable” – a large week end bag that folds into the size of a wallet.
  14. List your goals for the day – what do you need to find? what do you want to tick off your wedding planning list? What’s really important versus “nice to find if you have time”?
  15. Sign up for the newsletter of the show- you are bound to get more offers and information that way. Worried about getting drowned under emails? bringd me to my next point…
  16. Create a dedicated email address for your wedding. Lots of people do this, I can totally see why. If you do however, check out any mailing list you want to keep receiving and update your email address to your regular one before closing the wedding email address account.
  17. Print labels with your name and address to give to all the suppliers who ask for your details. If will save you so much time and writing and spelling and potential contact mistakes
  18. Sample! From make up to food, cake, edible wedding favours, street food vans menu, ….it’s so much easier than organising individual tastings.
  19. Talk to suppliers. All the exhibitors are specialists and can advise you about planning all the details of you wedding. Make sure you write down all the questions you want to ask, and also simply ask them general advice like “what would you do? What would you go for?”. I am always surprised when I attend a wedding fair, at the fact that, whilst some couples come up to me and ask lots of questions about wedding cakes, others seem to hover carefully around, without saying anything. I (like all wedding fair exhibitors) are here to HELP YOU. I am not going to make you buy anything you don’t want.  So do come and chat and ask about tips, ideas, trends, prices…..that’s what wqe are here for.
  20. Make the most of special offers from the show – most retailers will have “on the day” or limited time offers at the show. Don’t be afraid to ask either, even if they don’t, as you might be able to get added value extras thrown in (for example, I don’t offer discount when I attend a wedding fair as an exhibitor, as I believe I price my wedding cakes and favours fairly – but I often offer something extra like free hire of my cake stands).
  21. Bring cash – not everyone might take card payment, especially food and drink stalls. Sometimes also, there might be a shorter queue for “cash payment” option
  22. Finally, don’t forget to write down when each special offer ends. You wouldn’t want to do all this and miss out.

(ah yes, my list says 22 points because it insisted on counting the picture of Ramster Hall wedding fair as a separate point!)

Anything else I have missed? Let me know in a comment or join the conversation on Twitter with #sharedeliciousness – I’m @lauremoyle on the tweetosphere.