If you're reading this you've probably just got engaged or are getting married soon, so first of all CONGRATULATIONS!
Secondly, we'll answer the question we have been asked a fair bit... Are wedding fairs useful?
Wedding fairs are great but can also be completely overwhelming and leave your mind frazzled. Having exhibited our wedding photography and wedding videography at a number of wedding fairs in Essex, we have a pretty good grasp on this topic.
There are three types of wedding fairs:
1) Small wedding fairs organised by the venue where you meet the actual recommended suppliers.
2) Small wedding fairs at a venue organised by an outside company where people bid to exhibit.
3) Big massive wedding fairs.
All of these wedding fairs have pros and cons which we'll take you through and then give you a killer tip that will help you get the most out of them.
Venue organised wedding fair
Venue wedding fairs are usually quite small and contain handpicked suppliers who are vetted and trusted by the wedding venue. You'll find us at Hedingham Castle, Barnston Lodge, Maidens Barn, and Ashfields Polo & Carriage Club.
If you've picked your venue or are interested in picking the venue hosting the fair, these are fantastic. You'll get to meet the people who know the venue inside out and you can see exactly what the particular supplier will make the venue look like or do on the day.
It's important to approach any wedding fair with questions, here's a list that we created when speaking to photographers or videographers - click here
THE CONS are that you're limited. You might go to a venue and not like who they recommend or get a bad feel for the supplier. The most important thing is that you meet the supplier first as you're leaving your wedding day in the hands of a stranger. Meeting them should feel you with confidence and have a similar personality to you. If not, maybe you should look elsewhere.
Third party venue wedding fair
These are very similar to fairs organised by the venue but it's organised by an outside company and suppliers pay to be there (it's a money making process for the third party). Some venues are too busy to organise their own fairs so they get another company in to do this.
It's still a great opportunity to meet suppliers and come up with new ideas for your wedding day. You can also take the opportunity to explore the venue.
These can be a good way to ease you into the larger fairs like the one at Chelmsford City Racecourse.
Massive wedding fairs
At fairs like Chelmsford City Racecourse, you will meet hundreds of wedding suppliers. You will see things that you wouldn't have thought of and definitely leave with some ideas.
The problem is that there is so much to see and you often get overloaded with information, leaflets, and free cake.
Yes, they are useful.
Our wedding fair top tips
1) You should always go to a wedding fair (particularly large ones) with a plan of attack. Don't get distracted and go and speak to the suppliers that you need to book. We'd recommend creating a list in order of importance and then working your way down (venue, photographer, suits, cake etc.).
2) If you know what you want, go with questions in mind. This'll help you choose which supplier to use. Here is our list of questions to ask photographers.