There’s a difference between a Wedding Fair and a Wedding Open Day. Open Days are usually the venue setting up as it might for a wedding, with several tables decorated differently to give you an idea of what it could look like, and often has a selection of their key suppliers on hand to chat with. These are likely to be the DJ, table and chair decorations, flowers and sometimes a Master of Ceremonies. Highly recommended if you’re still in the venue choosing stage and want a bit more info. You can meet the wedding planner and sometimes the operational team and get a feel for how your day will go.
A Wedding Fair is an entirely different day out! Aimed at giving you ideas for your wedding whether it’s table decorations, sweetie carts, entertainment, the dress, the bridesmaids’ dresses, hair adornments or a magician, you will find a huge array of suppliers who all want to share their wedding wonders with you.
Fairs can range in size from around 20 suppliers to up to 200! Sometimes held in a wedding venue such as a hotel, they can also be found in places like town halls, arenas and exhibition centres.
Apart from being a fun day out, wedding fairs are a great way to get some ideas for your big day. Even if you plan to do a lot of it yourself, they’re full of inspiration and certainly get you into the wedding spirit.
But are they worth the effort (and sometimes the cost)? We chatted to a cheeky selection of brides and got the following responses:
♥ “I went to a few – the one my wedding venue was holding and a biggie at the NEC. It was a little pricey but it was a great day out with my bridal party (the girls!); we sampled cakes, tried on dresses and had our make-up done. Did we book any suppliers? No! Did I buy anything? Well, actually I found my perfect tiara!”.
♥ “My fiancé and I weren’t too bothered, we have busy weekends and since they’re almost always on a Sunday (why aren’t they on a midweek evening!) we chose to do our research on-line”.
♥ “I went to a few local wedding fairs but I wasn’t about to pay a fortune for a ticket for one of the big national ones. I figure they get enough money from the people displaying their stuff, and the cost of a coffee or lunch is shocking. By the time you add in fuel and the ticket price it’s a costly day out! Local and venue worked for me, and I found every supplier I needed”.
♥ “We went to loads – what a great way to spend a Sunday! I did feel a little sorry for the suppliers as I had no intention of buying from them. That said I did recommend a few to friends who got married after me and were looking for stuff for their weddings”.
♥ “I literally only went if there was a goodie bag on offer, and sadly most times I was disappointed by what was in it. Is that bad?!”
♥ “I avoided any where the supplier list was small. And I checked out who was exhibiting before I went – I didn’t want to see 15 photographers and only 2 cake makers. For the most part I found that there was a set number of each supplier, so no area was over or under represented and often there was a good choice. Do too many locals ones though, and you’ll come across the same people”.
♥ “I already had my photographer, chair covers and flowers. I used wedding fairs to find something different for my favours and entertainment. I wasn’t always successful and resorted to the internet and recommendations for a lot of it. But it was a fun day out!”
♥ “I used them to meet suppliers I’d booked by recommendation! If I saw they were going to be a wedding fair I’d go along. Oddly, none of them told me they were going to be at wedding fairs or invited me along – it’s a good job I’m nosy!”.
So there you have it! It’s very much down to cost, location and who is going to be there. And now, our handy guide to finding the right wedding fair for you!
♥ Check the list of exhibitors. If there’s nothing different there to what you’ve already got booked it’s probably not worth the trek.
♥ Have your budget set before you go. It’s very easy to get caught up in the wedcitement and before you know it you’ve booked a magician, a caricaturist and a harpist and blown your budget!
♥ If you’re going national check out Groupon, Wowcher and other voucher sites to see if there are any deals. Got a lot going? It’s always worth contacting the organiser and asking for a discount if you’re buying 10 tickets. Then make a day of it, book a mini bus and get some bucks fizz and pastries for the journey!
Fairy Wedmother is a big believer in Wedding Fairs. They are fun, informative and build the wedcitement in the lead up to your big day ♥
Want to know where to find one (September and October for some of the biggies)? Check out these links: