We’re approaching the time of the year when wedding shows are popping up everywhere, and if you’re engaged then you probably have a few already marked down in your diary.
Visiting a wedding show is a great way to find inspiration, chat to suppliers and check out potential venues. Here are 12 tips to help you make the most out of your visit.
1) Be selective.
You’ll have lots of Wedding shows to choose from, both locally and nationally. So unless you want to spend every weekend at one, you’ll need to be selective about which ones you attend.
If a potential venue(s) is hosting a show then this one should be on your list. It’s the perfect opportunity to see what the venue looks like when it is dressed up. Take the time to explore the place to check whether it really is ‘the one’ and visualise how you will make the space work for your reception. Have a close look at the décor to see how you will work with it, and check on facilities such as toilets. It’s also a great opportunity to meet the venue’s event coordinator and have an informal chat. You’ll also find that many of the other exhibitors already have a great relationship with the venue and with each other, potentially making for a smoother event if you use them.
If you have a certain supplier in mind, such as a particular photographer, it’s worth going to a wedding show where you know they will be exhibiting. Often exhibitors will run competitions or have special offers if you book at the show – so you could save some money.
It is worth visiting one of big national shows, such as the National Wedding Show http://www.nationalweddingshow.co.uk. Although you’re unlikely to find many suppliers who are local to you, the sheer volume of exhibitors and seminars means that it’s a great place to get inspiration and learn about the latest trends.
2) Plan your day
If there is a timetable available for the day, then check it out beforehand and make a note of the timings for fashion shows, seminars and demonstrations. If there is a musician or live entertainer that you’re interested in, check what time they will be demonstrating at; it’s great opportunity to see how they engage with an audience. Once you know what you’d like to do and see, you can plan the rest of your day around this.
In addition to browsing the stands, you may also want to try on dresses, have a makeover, or just sit down for a coffee. Arrive to the show early and allow plenty of time to get everything done.
3) Know who you want to see
Make a list of any exhibitors that you would like to visit, and think about what information you want to get from them. If you’re not sure who you’d like to see, have a think about what you’d like to tick off your to-do list next. The photographer? The caterer? This will help you to focus your plan.
Have a good breakfast or lunch before you arrive. Although most shows will have a café, these often get very busy. Pack some snacks, so that you’re not distracted by an empty stomach.
5) Ask lots of questions and gather information
The exhibitors will all have lots of wedding experience and will want to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask them for ideas and suggestions. It’s good to have an idea of your budget and style, so that you can search out suppliers who are a good match. At the same time, be open to new ideas, you never know what you’ll discover!
There’ll be a lot to take in, so pick up information and samples from the stands and browse these when you get home
6) Dress for the occasion.
Comfortable shoes are a must as you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
If you’re planning to try on some wedding dresses, then wear something that’s easy to change in and out of. Remember to bring some appropriate shoes and good underwear for trying on the dresses, so that you get a better idea of how they will look.
7) Travel light
You’ll need to bring a bag to carry all the leaflets, brochures and samples that you collect. A cross-body bag is ideal and will leave your hands free. You should also bring:
- A bottle of water and some snacks to keep you going
- A fully charged phone for taking photos, referring to your Pinterest board and finding lost companions!
- A pen and paper for jotting down notes
- Stickers that have been pre-printed with your name and contact details. These will save you time when giving your details to potential suppliers and entering competitions.
- If you’re trying on clothes, then don’t forget the shoes and underwear.
8) Have a makeover
A wedding show is the perfect opportunity to experiment with make-up. You may already have a look in mind, but why not ask the make-up artist to try out their own ideas? You might fall in love with a completely different look. Worst case scenario, you just wash it off!
9) Register your details and enter the competitions
Registering your details with the show host and the exhibitors is a great way to keep up with special offers and updates after the show. A reputable company will never pass your details on to a third party without your express permission and will allow you to unsubscribe at any point.
Many exhibitors run prize draws and competitions on the day and it’s always worth entering these. If you pre-print stickers with your details you can enter everything quickly and easily – and someone has to win!
10) Make The Most Of Special Offers
If there is a supplier that you are keen to use, then you make be able to get a discount if you book them at the show. However, don’t feel pressurised into signing up for anything just to take advantage of a special offer. If you’re not completely sure, then go home and think about it. You can always call them later and see if you can still take advantage of the offer, or visit them at another show in the future.
11) Pick the right person to go with you
It could be your Fiancé, your mum, your best friend, your brother, or all of the above. Take someone who is enthusiastic, whose opinion you trust, and whose company you enjoy. This is supposed to be fun!
12) Enjoy yourself
Get some inspiration, but try not to get too overwhelmed. At the end of the day, the marriage is the important part, and the rest of it is just party planning. Have fun looking at the different ideas and get lots of information to browse afterwards – maybe over lunch and a nice glass of wine!
If you’re planning your wedding and are feeling a bit overwhelmed, I’d love to meet you for a coffee and a chat about how to make it less stressful. There is no charge, and no obligation to use any of my services. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.