Someone on Twitter recently asked “Has anyone ever been to a wedding fair? Are they awful?” and I made a few comments, but I felt like the 140 character limit wasn’t enough for the topic. I thought could write a bit about surviving (and enjoying) wedding fairs. Fairs (and trade expos too, for that matter) are big scary places full of people, usually crowded, usually noisy. It’s easy to give up all hope immediately, but chances are, there’s probably stuff in there you want, and you’re going to need to go, so you might as well try to enjoy it. Here are my tips for not going completely mad.
Have a plan. If you walk around a fair aimlessly, you’ll be there all day and you’ll get stuck talking to everyone you come across. That can be helpful if you’re just starting out, but it can be quite overwhelming. At the very least, have a mental hit-list in your head of people you want to see or things you want to find.
Don’t be afraid to say no. There will be times when people you’re really not interested in talking to will hassle you and give you their sales pitch. You can interrupt them and tell them you’re not interested - it’s ok. While they’re wasting your time, you’re wasting theirs too: it’s much easier for both parties if you politely tell them that this isn’t what you’re after and walk away. Also, if you’re interested but you don’t want to commit to signing up on the day or scribbling down an email address, just don’t, it’s fine, they won’t be offended. The people who exhibit at fairs aren’t expecting to sign up everyone there. Just be polite and move on. You have stuff to find, after all.
You don’t need it all. Your wedding does not need a childrens entertainer and a photo booth and expensive favours and fancy table decorations and flowers and a chocolate fountain and an owl. After talking to 10 people selling each of those things, it’s easy to convince yourself that your wedding simply won’t be complete without them, and that’s not true. Talk to them all, think it over, but don’t think that every company there is on your must-have list.
Get cool free stuff. For expos, I’m actually anti grabbing free stuff in general, because it’s usually tacky crap and most of it goes in the bin. However, for wedding fairs, you’re there to try wedding cake, wine, favours, and anything else you can get your hands on to figure out what you like and what you want at your wedding. Fairs are a great opportunity to try a bunch of things and figure out what you’re after. You won’t have many other options to see two similar companies side by side so get stuck in and don’t feel guilty about trying things. This is one of the perks of wedding organisation, have fun with it.
Don’t collect a million leaflets. To be honest, you’ll probably end up doing this whether you like it or not, but do try to avoid picking up anything you’re definitely not interested in. This will make your life a lot easier when you desperately need to remember the name of that flower company you saw at that last place you went to.
Enjoy it. Don’t forget that your wedding is supposed to be fun - even these bits. Use fairs to think about how amazing your wedding is going to be and figure out all the brilliant stuff you can do to make it yours. If you’re not having fun, go somewhere else and do fun things - you can find loads of wedding info on the internet and come to another fair when you know what you’re after, or just skip them entirely and meet people elsewhere. After your hard day at the wedding fair (sometimes they really are hard work), go out and relax, and reward yourselves with a nice cup of tea or something.