How to make the most of wedding fairs

Without losing track of your original budget and ideas

When you just get engaged, you will undoubtedly be looking into wedding fairs. While you may find that some are more traditional, and others are more directed to modern bridal couples.

In this day and age, you are already influenced a lot by online services like Pinterest, so trying to keep true to your original wedding idea can be quite hard facing so many different (international) options. Going to a wedding fair will have the same effect, and can potentially blow up your list of ideas and your budget. So today, I want to help you with some general tips on how to make the most of wedding fairs, without losing track of your original budget and ideas.

Photo credits: Nomadic Newlyweds

Photo credits: Nomadic Newlyweds

 

Visualize your ideal wedding

Before you go to the first wedding fair, try to take your time to visualize your dream wedding day. Sit down with your partner with a hot chocolate or a cup of coffee and try to picture the day you both see. Try to make a list of some of the key points, like the people you see most clearly, the location (this can be quite general like beach or forest or mansion), and the feeling you get when thinking about your ideal wedding day.

Make sure you list the things you see most prominently. These will be the "non-negotiables", like I call them. The things that you don't want to change, no matter what. The things you cannot imagine your day without. Keep these key points in mind when strolling the wedding fair, and make sure you stop yourself each time you see something new and ask yourself if it would fit your vision.

Take your time

Take your time to stroll through the stands slowly so you can absorb the atmosphere. Take your time to really look at things and think about your ideal wedding day. Take your time to really speak to vendors. 

Not sure what I mean with a wedding ‘vendor’? A vendor for your wedding day, can be anyone from your florist to your photographer to your cake artist. They are the parties you will hire to make sure your day is everything you ever imagined it would be.

If you squeeze a wedding fair in between other appointments, you will not only miss half of the interesting vendors who are out there, you will also leave frizzled and completely de-energized because you had to absorb a huge amount of information in a very short amount of time.

When you take your time to really talk to the vendors who are participating, you might also find out that they are actually doing more than what they are displaying. So definitely engage with the vendors who intrigue you and make sure you ask questions on the spot.

Look for inspiration, not for potential vendors

When you visit a wedding fair with the thought that you will use this primarily to gather inspiration, you will give yourself permission to only speak to the vendors who really intrigue you. For some reason, this will alleviate the pressure you might feel that you have to get x-amount of suppliers by the end of the day which – again – will make sure you are more relaxed throughout the day.

Every little trick you can use to alleviate some pressure, will help you to stay sane and relaxed throughout your wedding day preparations. After all, this is a time you should be enjoying.

Participate in fair giveaways and promotions

At every wedding fair, you will find a few vendors who offer a special promotion which will only be valid for visitors of their booth at this particular wedding fair. You will need to give your email and personal information and in exchange, you will participate in their promotion or giveaway.

A promotion is usually a discount or additional service offered to all bridal couples who book an initial meeting with the supplier at the wedding fair. The promotion can also be limited to bridal couples who save their date on the spot.

A giveaway is a promotion limited to a certain amount of people. The wedding vendor will collect information from bridal couples and from these collections, they will select one or more winners. Wedding vendors who want to promote a service or product of great value will usually opt for the giveaway.

Please be aware that you are giving the wedding vendor your contact details by participating in a giveaway so they will contact you even if you did not win. If you do not want them to be able to contact you afterwards, don’t enter the giveaway. Just know that you might potentially miss out on an amazing (free) service.

Giveaways and promotions can be very interesting if you are interested in working with someone who would normally be out of budget for you, but who now falls into your budget range through the promotion they are doing. These promotions, as mentioned above, will be limited to the day of the wedding fair and are therefore one of the primary reasons bridal couples attend these fairs.

Do your research

This brings me immediately to the next one: do your research! Make sure you check out the vendors before visiting the wedding fair so you know which ones you can skip and which ones you really need to pay attention to. Doing your research will make you more attentive to promotions from those wedding vendors who seem to be the most interesting to you.

Of course, you don’t need to do a thorough investigation but a quick peek at some websites can help to get an impression of the vendors you feel most drawn to. Try to get a sense of their style and services, and if you can get a price range that's even better.

When doing research, keep in mind that you will be able to speak to these vendors in person at the wedding fair. Don't spend too much time on this and make sure it fits your schedule. If you're short on time, just skip this step and check out the different stands on the actual wedding fair.

On a small budget?

If your wedding has a limited budget, definitely take your time to go through the steps above. Researching the vendors in advance can help you see which ones will be out of range for you anyway, so you can skip them on the wedding fair day. No need for you to fall completely in love with a service you cannot really afford, right?

Also, watch out with handing over your contact information. Saying no to a service you really like once is already quite hard, but being reminded of this great offering you’re missing time and again will only soften your resolve. I know I would cave after a few reminder emails. I mean, we’re human after all…

A final tip I would like to give you, is not to book on the spot. If you are interested in a certain service from a certain wedding vendor, try to first complete your tour of the fair, have some lunch or have a drink in between, and discuss again with your partner whether or not you are still convinced that you both want to book this vendor. You may meet an even more interesting vendor later on, or you may start to realize that booking this particular vendor will blow up your budget too much.

When planning your wedding, it happens so often that you are swept away by the beautiful picture that is painted for you and the possibilities you have. I know it’s hard, but try to take some distance during your lunch or when you take a small break, to make sure you really consider your personalities and budget. Keep in mind the key points you defined in the first step and you will be able to choose your vendors with care.

Choose a wedding fair that suits you

There are a lot of different wedding fairs. Some are more traditional while others are oriented at the modern bridal couples. Make sure you look up some vendors in advance to make sure the wedding fair suits the kind of wedding you would like to have.

Personally, I love the smaller and more personal wedding fairs. We just had one in my hometown, Antwerp, last weekend. Hereby a small sneak peak of what it looked like.

Do you have some additional tips for fellow bridal couples? Share them in the comments below.