Well, we did it! We ventured into the world of wedding fairs (or fayres, we’re never sure either). Having been to many different wedding fairs when we were looking to get married and a few more to decide on where to do our first one as photographers, we finally plumped for the Bailgate Wedding Fayre in Lincoln. A series of beautiful Lincoln wedding venues & some amazing Lincolnshire wedding suppliers.
We made our first mistake before we arrived. Having hand made our beautiful new background, nailing, sanding, screwing (and occasionally swearing), we were ready to load the van. We pushed the first board into the back of the van (having been assured by Dad that they would fit) and we could not shut the door. Luckily after trying to arrange a way to hire a bigger van or to split the background down, Dad came to the rescue with his trusty trailer (aren’t parents brilliant!) and we were ready to go.
We met many amazing couples during the day in Lincoln and we witnessed the whole range of emotions, from mind blown bride-to-be in blind panic at the amount of things still to do, through to grooms-to-be with an air of I have no idea why I am here, I thought I just needed to sort the playlist (incidentally, they were how myself and Carl approached wedding fairs).
Having spent the day talking with many amazing couples about their weddings, we thought we would share with you our top seven tips that we learnt during planning our own wedding.
1. It’s OK to feel overwhelmed.
Have a taste, have this flyer, have you thought about.... The bombardment of questions never stops, from the second you arrive at a wedding fair, people are pushing flyers & occasionally food (this is a good thing) at you, trying to get you to notice them. if this is at the start of your planning stages, you may suddenly feel the panic of what have you gotten yourself into. There will be all sorts of weird and wonderful stalls, selling you things you may have never even thought about, all telling you they are the most important.
Try to remember, many of the things you are being told you need to think about, you really don’t, especially at the early stages. The three things you need to concentrate on at the start of your planning are your date, your venue and any other “must haves”. We would always recommend you look to book your wedding photography early. Many good photographers are booking up to two years in advance and if you really like a photographer’s style, it is always worth booking them. Photography is one of the few things that are left after the wedding day. As Rock N’ Roll Bride says, wedding photography is the one thing most couples wished that had invested more in when questioned after the event.
2. There is more than you thought to think about (and that’s OK).
Especially at your first wedding fair, you will suddenly realise that this planning a wedding thing is maybe a little more complicated than you first thought. This is fine, You have time. Once this feeling sets in though, you may begin to get the fear. What about chair coverings? What about balloons? What about this? what about???? You start to convince yourself that you need everything you see and it is all important to the wedding. The best solution is to take all the information you can and then after a lay down in a dark room, begin to think what is important to you both. Then, you can begin to think if there really is a need for those designer chair cushion and napkin combos or not. You will generally find not.
3. Don’t get caught up in fayre only specials
Today only! The simple marketing gimmick to try and get you to sign up there and then. It is something that really should not figure into your day. Firstly, these specials are not normally all they are cracked up to be and secondly, you need to make sure you explore your options before choosing any wedding supplier. Take your time and make the right decision.
4. Do have a wedding only email
Sign ups. Generally a great thing and some great little competitions are around on the day. We would advise though that you get a wedding gmail account made up for such occasions. Whilst many companies edit their lists of emails carefully, some will keep emailling you their offers, even after your special day. Having a wedding only email though has one, more major, advantage. Simply that all of your wedding details are in one specific email account. You have all your wedding planning in one place and it is easily searchable. A simple gmail account with your names & wedding is usually a great one. You can then even use the free google docs to make your wedding spreadsheets should you so desire.
5. Do sign up to things
As above really. Do sign up for competitions that you will find on the day, or sign up to find out more information about companies you are particularly interested in. You may win something cool and also it gives you some more info. If you use the wedding only email address we spoke of above, it also keeps any annoying email out of your day to day account, which is always a good thing!
6. There is time!
You can do it in whatever amount of time you have. Do not listen to vendors who tell you otherwise. While some take years planning their wedding, some like to do things more spontaneously and plan in less than a year. There is no right or wrong way to do things, there is your way and anyone who says different is wrong.
7. How to sort through the aftermath.
the last tip is possibly the most important, how to deal with the mounds of brochures, flyers and other things you manage to pick up at a wedding fayre. You will usually end up with bags full. This can be overwhelming, but a thing that we would recommend is as follows. Sit down with the whole bag and go through all the flyers and brochures, splitting them into three piles:
- The must haves. These are the companies that impressed you the most. Any company you want to look further into and are your front runners go onto this pile.
- The possibly/maybes. These are the companies that are ones that you quite like, but weren’t sure of. The second bests, the backup plans. These can come in really important if one of the suppliers in your must have pile are unavailable for your date, are outside of your budget, etc. Sometimes the companies in this pile turn out to be the best decisions you make.
- The definite NO! The people you didn’t click with, the ones who didn’t match your style, were too pushy when you spoke to them, etc. These are the ones that head straight to the recycling bin. You will generally find this is by far the biggest pile and the one that makes up most of the weight you lugged around the wedding fair for hours.
From here, you should have a manageable pile of information that you can begin to work with. Get those planning books, spreadsheets or however you personally are planning and add these to it.
That’s it. Our top seven tips for wedding fairs. Did we miss something? Feel free to add to the list in the comments below. We look forward to seeing you at more wedding fairs around Lincolnshire in the near future. If you see us, drop, say hello and grab some free sweets.