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Wedding Fairs or Fayres… who knows?

Wedding Fairs or Fayres… who knows?

An image of a wedding fair setup
Wedding Fairs – an excellent way to spend a Sunday.

Hi!

With wedding fair season well and truly kicking off we thought we would give you a bit of information about how to get the best out of them. We did our first fair of the season in Essex earlier In the month and this past weekend we helped to organise and exhibited at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester, Dorset.

An image of a wedding fair setup from the Corn Exchange
Our stand from the Corn Exchange Wedding Fair in Dorchester from last weekend.

First of all, there are generally two seasons of wedding fairs in a calendar year. First at the beginning of the year and then another season later in the year. For us personally, the first season is always the one with the busiest footfalls and I believe the reason for this is;

1) People who got engaged the previous year tend to think ‘let’s get Christmas out of the way and start wedding planning in the New Year.

2) There are so many proposals over Christmas and New Year and people can’t wait to get started with their ‘wedmin.’

An image of a pinterest board
Pinterest – is anybody else’s ‘pinning’ addiction out of control?

When planning your wedding, (the real one, not your ‘money no object, blow the budget Pinterest one’), you obviously want everything to be perfect. If you aren’t employing a wedding planner, (which by the way can often pay for itself), you will need to become a wedding planner yourself. You will need to do your research and a wedding fair is the best place to start. There are hundreds of wedding directories, Facebook selling pages etc but like lots of things online, you have to use your instincts. Do your research on your providers, check their reviews, are they active in the wedding community? When did they last post on their FB page (and what did they post?). If all they post are other people’s ideas and not their own work how busy are they?), do they do fairs?

I think it’s generally safe to say if they have a good website, an active social media presence, good reviews, and are known by other local providers and venues then you should be on the right track. Also if a company has a large enough marketing budget to advertising on the big directories they must be doing pretty well and have lots of customers, however that isn’t to say a supplier who doesn’t use all the big directories isn’t any good, it is just a consideration. We certainly don’t advertise on every single directory available. The kind of questions you should be asking are how many weddings do they do a year; how long have they been trading? A good way to gauge their credibility is to ask who they would recommend as other suppliers?

An image of crowd at a wedding fair
Wedding Fairs – can be busy but so useful.

 

An image of models posing
Our beautiful models from the Milton Abbey Catwalk Show.

So what is a wedding Fair or Fayre? The correct way of using the word is widely debated amongst the wedding industry and not one I dare to enter in to so we will call it a Fair for today, (although if anyone has any ideas or indeed the definitive answer then please do let me know in the comments).

So we have Wedding Shows, Wedding Fairs, Open Days, Bridal Boot Sales and Bridal Festivals. You have huge events at the UK largest exhibition centres and small events at the local village hall.

Some shows/fairs you have to book in advance for and some you can just turn up on the day, so always check before hand, though generally if it is a big fair/show you should expect to pay. Prices can vary from a few pounds to £15-£30 for the large scale events.

An image of Maldon's wedding fair setup
Maldon all setup for one of their recent wedding fairs.

Large Events

Wedding Shows – if you are wedding crazy, love the buzz, want to make a whole day of it and want to see some of the UK’s top wedding brands you will find them here. Book your tickets, get your entourage together (take a few strong bags for life or one of those small wheelie cases – you WILL need them and you can thank us later). This is a great experience and if you are only just in the newly engaged glow then it will only heighten your excitement. There are literally hundreds of suppliers. You have food outlets, champagne bars, entertainment, catwalk shows, Q&As with professionals and designers and magazines…so many magazines…oh and the freebies are immense! Check out the exhibitors list before you go so you know who to head for and make sure you don’t miss them out. Oh and wear flat shoes!

An image iof magazines and a goodie bag
Going to a big show is worth it just for the amazing goodie bags alone – you get some fabulous freebies. Oh and if you go VIP then you get fizz too! What’s not to love?!
An image of a busy stand
We get inundated with information hunters at wedding shows – all looking for their dream dress.

Hotel/Venue Wedding Fairs – some you pay for but not all and not a huge amount. These fairs usually have at least 20-100 stalls and mainly full of your local suppliers and when having a wedding you will generally use local providers who supply to your area so it’s also good for the local economy! #winwin. You can expect to spend an hour or two at these kinds of events. Again make sure you get round every one you want to see. Make a list of what you need to do and find the suppliers. Make sure you chat to the supplier, this is your chance to see if you not only like their product or service but that you like and trust them too. Your wedding is very important to you and it should be very important to them to as you are their livelihood. Listen to the talks, have a good look at the products and take their card/flyer and research them when you get home.

Take a look at our events page to see the local fairs we attend in the areas where we have Bridal Reloved stores. www.bridalreloved.co.uk/events

An image of a VW Camper van
VW Camper Vans on show at a wedding fair… they are all the rage these days.
An image of flyers and magazines
Flyers, magazines and business cards – you will be picking up loads of these – you should bring a bag!

Open Days – these are more often than not organised by the venue, the purpose is to showcase the venue setup as you would see it in all its wedding glory. You can expect to see a few suppliers there like a stylist, florist, local cake maker but you would probably visit an open day if you were venue hunting rather than supplier shopping.

 

An image of a florist setup for a stand
West Dorset Wedding Flowers all setup for a fair. www.westdorsetweddingflowers.co.uk

 

An image of a cake company setup for a wedding fair
Lisa Notley Cakes all setup for a wedding fair.
www.cakesbylisanotley.co.uk

 

An image of a wedding fair setup at Market Place Farm
Market Place Farm had a beautiful Open Day in 2015. It’s a stunning venue. www.marketplacefarm.co.uk

Bridal Boot Sales – these are a relatively new phenomenon where it works like a normal boot sale. So if you got married and bought all your centre pieces, bunting, candle holders etc. you now have no need for them so you can go and set up a stall and sell all your wedding paraphernalia. We have known brides to actually make good money at a boot sale, contributing to the honeymoon fund. You may find the odd supplier there but generally you will find brides selling to brides to be. You might even find your dream dress (but obviously you must visit us here are Bridal Reloved!)

You will more than likely find these advertised in your local paper or on Facebook Wedding Pages. In Dorset/Hampshire a very good company called VA productions organise them.

www.v-a-productions.com

An image of a bridal boot fair
A Venue Open Day by Coastal Tents.  www.coastaltents.co.uk

Wedding Festival – So much fun! These are usually ticketed events. With outdoor weddings being one of the most popular ways to celebrate weddings you will need the companies that can cope with the UKs ever unreliable weather and the logistics of outdoor events. So this means, marquees, tipis, outdoor bars, outdoor caterers, outdoor entertainment…. You will find them all here. And they love it! They know how to deal with whatever Michael Fish throws at them. **Tip…..take your wellies just in case. Prepare to spend the day there, enjoy the surroundings, listen to music and have some food all at the same time as planning your big day and meeting the suppliers.

An image of a bridal festival
A Bridal Festival – pack your wellies for the Great British Weather!
An image of pimms and ice cream
Ice-cream and Pimms on hot day? Yes please! The food and drink freebies at fairs are BEYOND DELISH!

So, good luck with the wedding planning, I hope this introduction to our world helps you and your wedding adventure. If you would like our advice or you would like to ask us about our recommended suppliers, then please just ask or take a look at our Facebook pages.

Here are a couple of links to get some more information about shows and fairs.

www.nationalweddingshow.co.uk

www.theweddingshow.co.uk

www.weddingfairs.com

Image of a wedding show flyer
Here are few more upcoming shows

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Zarina xx

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