- There will probably be a welcome desk as you walk in. You may be asked to sign in and give an email address. If you’re uncomfortable with this, then just request that your details not shared. I’d also recommend setting up an email address just for wedding stuff, as you’ll give it out a lot (more on that in a minute). It only takes a few minutes, and it can stop wedding stuff overtaking your regular emails. Just remember to actually check the new account occasionally!
- You may get a goodie bag as you enter, generally mainly magazines and leaflets, but there can be some fun freebies and samples in there too. It’s also great for collecting the many leaflets and business cards you’ll pick up on your way round the fayre. Keep these somewhere safe, and preferably make some notes on the suppliers you met and liked, for example, what you liked about their work, where you met them and when, and what you discussed. This will help jog your memory when you start looking to book that service, and save you trawling through loads of websites trying to remember which supplier had the perfect cake/invite/flowers etc that you saw ages ago.
- There should be plenty of suppliers keen to talk to you about your wedding. These guys are excellent sources of information, and they’ll have lots of examples of their work to show you, and hopefully inspire you!. If you have some ideas already and you can’t see what you’re looking for, having a quick face-to-face chat at a wedding fayre can help you establish whether the supplier can create something to help you or not far quicker than by email. Often things that aren’t shown on the supplier’s website are possible, but the websites will be created to appeal to a wide audience, so quirky ideas might not be there even though they could be created for you.
- There may be some special offers on, but please make sure you actually want what’s on offer, i.e. you would buy it even if it wasn’t on special offer, and don’t get pressured to part with cash for something you may regret later. By all means, take advantage of these offers if they’re right for you (because who doesn’t love a bargain, right?), but unless you love it, leave it, no matter how much of a deal it is. Replacing something you don’t like is going to be more expensive than buying the more expensive thing you actually wanted in the first place!
- More and more fayres are having a bridal fashion show as part of the event. Even if you’ve got everything sorted out, these can be a real treat for the eyes if you love that kind of thing. Alternatively, if you’re all sorted or know what dress/suit etc you’ll be getting, this is the perfect opportunity to talk to suppliers, as it’ll be nice and quiet whilst everyone else is watching the show.
- Speaking of which, if you’re seriously interested in talking to suppliers (and possibly booking) rather than just looking for inspiration, try to go right at the start or towards end of the fayre. Don’t leave it too late, of course, else you may not get time to talk to everyone you want to, but the number of attendees to a fayre tends to drop in the last hour or so. This is best if you’re looking for a particular service/supplier though, as many of the stallholders will start packing up as soon as the fair ends!
- Lots of suppliers will have newsletters that they will try to sign you up for (I certainly do, as it’s a great way to build a relationship with potential clients, and offer valuable information about the service I provide at the same time. You can sign up to receive my emails at the bottom of each page on my website). Especially if you’re in the early stages of planning or are feeling out of your depth, I’d definitely recommend signing up to receive a few of these, as it’s a fantastic way of getting detailed, specialised knowledge right into your email inbox, as well as find out more about that particular supplier- because let’s face it, in the few minutes you spend chatting at a wedding fayre, you have very little idea about whether or not a supplier will be right for you. Also, there should always be an unsubscribe option in the email (most newsletter service providers build this in and make sure it can’t be removed. Something to do with anti-SPAM legislation and computer wizardry, I think)
So, there you have it, my rough guide to what you will probably find at a wedding fayre 🙂 I’ll be at 3 fayres myself this autumn: Eastwood Hall (NG16 3SS) on 2nd October 2016, Springfield Hall (NG10 5BD) on 23rd October 2016 and The Silk Mill (DE1 3AF) on 6th November 2016. Hope to see you there! xxx