With the Wedding Fair Season upon again, I thought I'd write a blog entry to give some tips and guidance.
It will come as no surprise that UK Weddings are big business. Massive. Huge! And whilst now in the 21st Century we have the wonders of the world wide web and a mass of information at our fingertips, there is still nothing better than getting out meeting suppliers, getting ideas and seeing what is out there.
If you search "Wedding Fairs in my area" in google you will be presented with a multitude of fairs, shows and showcases spanning across the first four months of the year. The majority will be held on a Sunday, purely because the venue is less likely to have sold a venue room on this day and also because attendance figures tend to be higher due to working commitments of those Brides and Grooms visiting.
Wedding Fairs come in all shapes and sizes from the small boutique hotels with and handful of suppliers through the really big shows such as the National Wedding Show or The Bluewater Wedding Fair which attracts hundreds of wedding professionals and thousands of visitors. For the wedding suppliers and vendors of the world these fairs are expensive exercises with exhibiting fees ranging from £100 through to several thousands of £££ for exhibiting dependant on the show. And of course that does't include time and money spend on marketing materials show furniture, displays! On the day of the show exhibitors often arrive early to set up, making sure the display is perfect and then spend all day on their feet with a smile plastered on their face in the hope they might catch a sale or gain some business in return for all their hard work!
I know! I have been there, done it and got the T Shirt!!! Although I have to say I love wedding fairs, you get to meet loads of lovely people, network with other great wedding professionals and get to work in some lovely venues!
This my stand at a recent fair, complete with flyers and chocolates for the prospective clients!
Wedding Toastmaster / Master of Ceremonies at Four Seasons Hampshire.
That all well and good, but with the plethora of shows for you to visit which one should you choose, and mores to the point why should you visit and what can you get out of them.
First and foremost, you get a chance to look around the venues at your leisure with out been rushed by a member of the sales team who has only allotted you 30 minutes. You can imagine the rooms with your theme, take time to discover the grounds and discuss it with your fiance, and bridal party if they are with you. And if you do have a question or two, the venues wedding team will have more than enough time to talk to you as unless they are running an appointment system, and there are no time pressures
Idea's are king! When my wife and I got married, we did the rounds and visited a number of shows and whilst we did indeed find some suppliers who we ended up working with we got tons of ideas to take home. From floral arrangements to how a cake decoration looked We took pictures, collected notes and gained lots to take back with us and help put our own spin on things
As mentioned earlier the shows available come in all shapes and sizes, aiming themselves at different markets and different budget. Its all about finding the right ones for you, your guests and your wedding. If the wedding fair is at an expensive venue such as a 5* country hotel, then chances are the exhibitors will be more high end with higher prices. On the other end the scale if the venue has wedding packages of around £7k- £10k (and these fairs tend be more common), then the suppliers selling their services will also be perhaps towards the middle to lower part of the price scale. Its worth noting this when choosing which fairs to visit. If you have a budget of £16,000 for your wedding you may wish to think twice before visiting a venue charging around £30k for their packages, and visa versa.
If nothing else then there is usually a glass of fizz and some canapes to enjoy!
London Master of Ceremonies / Toastmaster,
Institute of Directors, Pall Mall London
One of the many national Wedding Fairs