I love you because you are EXACTLY like everyone else,” is not a marriage proposal to set the heart beating faster. We love each other for our uniqueness and quirks and, as such, traditional wedding receptions involving crisp white tablecloths, salmon for starters and a three-tier white cake aren’t for everyone. Couples are crying out for new ideas and quirky, inspirational suppliers who ‘think outside the box’.

Certainly when I was planning my wedding this time ten years ago, I went to a wedding fair with my mum and we had to flee offers of tacky cars, chocolate fountains and cream chair covers and vow that we would do it all ourselves. Which we did…  I think that’s where I got the bug (pardon the pun!).

Family and friends were involved in making a day that reflected Joss and I. My mother-in-law designed and made me a beautiful 1950’s style lace dress, which I will treasure forever more. My boss drove me in his jeep (and arranged champagne and mixed a brilliant CD!) A friend arranged our photographer and another organised a Moroccan menu. Everyone we loved joined in to create our dream day.

Since then my mind has often happily drifted off into thoughts of planning another wedding and if my big day was coming up in 2014 I would be thrilled at the imaginative and original companies that are out there now. Two years ago I launched Belles Events running unique, quirky, vintage weddings fairs across Sussex & London. When I planned my own wedding I would have loved to have found any of the inspirational, talented, and friendly suppliers I now know because they are all committed to thrill brides who want something a little bit ‘different.’

As wedding fair season begins, I thought I would share my top ten tips for visiting and exhibiting at wedding fairs.

My top 10 tips for visiting Wedding Fairs:

  • Look around for fairs that suit your style, there is no point going to a fairy tale wedding fair if you want a gothic wedding. There are so many fabulous fairs out there, a few of my favourites feature on a previous blog. Click here.
  • Take your time, don’t rush, remember that the suppliers have paid to attend and are there to talk to you and find out what you want.
  • It’s easy to get overwhelmed. You can often leave the fair by getting a stamp on your hand. Sometimes taking a break is a good idea, go for a walk, and come back after you have thought of what you want to find out.
  • Take business cards of suppliers you like the look of so you can contact them after the day and tell them where you saw them. Find their Facebook Pages and link up with them on Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Ask if the supplier is offering a discount for bookings made that day, often you will save yourself up to 15%.
  • Take people along that want to be there. If your partner isn’t up for it, don’t drag them along; it will just annoy you, and them! Equally, if your partner does want to get involved don’t whatever you do leave them out of it.
  • Take cash, you never know what you might find. Some suppliers take card payments on the day but wouldn’t it be awful to miss out on something special?
  • Don’t feel pressured, but don’t miss out, if a photographer you adore has your date available, consider paying a deposit on the day.
  • Don’t freak out! If you have always dreamt of one particular hairstyle for example and you see someone doing demonstrations, get involved, open your mind and you might be surprised about what you could achieve.
  • Remember this. You only get married once, hopefully, enjoy this, don’t get stressed; all that matters is that you are marrying the person you love.

 

My top 10 tips for exhibiting at Wedding Fairs:

  • Look around for fairs that suit your style, there is no point paying to attend a wedding fair that won’t attract the couples that will love what you do. I have to turn away businesses that I know will not do well at my events, it’s a hard thing to do but I don’t feel that having a very traditional dress company exhibiting would be fair.
  • Before you book for a fair speak to the organiser and find out how they will be advertising, how they run the fairs, for example do they have limits on services such as florists and cake makers, do they provide parking?
  • Make sure you have business cards available with your Social Media details on them.
  • Think about offering a discount to couples that pay a deposit or book on the day.
  • Consider getting a card payment devise for larger fairs or allow couples to pay deposit my Paypal on your phone or iPad.
  • Use fairs as networking opportunities, there are lots of other suppliers feeling like you, make fiends, before the fair opens walk around and exchange cards, offer to get them a cup of tea if they look nervous.
  • Make your stall stand out, bring beautiful fabric to cover your table, adorn it with things that make a statement about your company, think of your stall as your little shop for the day.
  • Don’t expect bookings/sales on the day, couples like to go away and discuss what they have seen on the day. If they liked what you had to offer they will contact you after the fair.
  • Remember that couples can sometimes be nervous, make them comfortable by asking about what they have planned already and where the are getting married.
  • Help with advertising the fair, use your social media to talk about the events and maybe you could display a poster for the organiser. After all, every little bit of advertising help you and them.

I hope you find these tips helpful!