10 Wedding Fair Tips To Become An Exhibition Master
Wedding fairs can be daunting, but with a little preparation they can become gold mines. Use these 10 wedding fair tips to become a wedding fair champion.
Wedding fair tip 1: Check out which shows are near you
First up is searching for wedding fairs. There’s two approaches you can take here: either look for fairs in your local area – if you are in a well populated area, there should be at least one a couple of times a year; or find a wedding show at a venue you are interested in. If you go for the latter, be aware of the difference between wedding fairs and open days. Open days tend to just be for the venue to show you around and won’t feature any other suppliers, or perhaps just a couple of preferred ones.
If you are attending a wedding fair (also branded as wedding fayres; wedding exhibitions; wedding shows and wedding expos), then its worth having a look on the website before you go and noting any companies that will be there that you definitely want to speak to. Add them to a checklist so you don’t leave having missed them.
Tip 2: Have a plan
It can be easy to turn up and either follow the floor plan or wander aimlessly speaking to a some of the suppliers. but the second of my wedding fair tips is that it’s far more effective to have a plan.
First up, know what you want. If your style for your wedding is Boho Bride, you probably won’t be buying from a Bridal Shop that specialises in traditional dresses. This means that when you are approaching a stand for a supplier you need, you can quickly establish if they are a good fit and then get into more details about what you are looking for, or move onto the next without spending valuable time at the wrong booth as you won’t have time to visit every supplier.
Next up, find out if there is a catwalk or band showcase – build that into your schedule and set a reminder on your phone so you don’t miss it if it’s of interest.
If it’s not, this can be great time to visit the vendor you are really interested in as the floor does get a little quieter and the person at the booth can spend a little more time with you.
Most fairs will have somewhere for refreshments. Build in 20 minutes around halfway through your visit to grab a drink and review who you really like so far with your group. you can then think about who you still need to see before the day ends and highlight anyone you want to go back to.
Tip 3: Build a team
There may be lots of friends and family members that want to visit the show with you, but if possible keep your group small and choose your allies wisely.
make sure they know what you want and will stay on mission rather than pull you to this an that vendor because it’s their style.
As the show will likely be busy, keeping the group small will mean you can stay together, and discuss what you like easily.
Take advantage of your teams strengths too. If you have a super organised bridesmaid, give them the list of everything you want to book and have them keep you on track. Or maybe your Mother-in-law is detail oriented and they can take the lead on questioning the suppliers.
Wedding fair tip 4: On the day
Don’t worry about dressing up for the event. Wear comfortable shoes or trainers and layers that you can easily change and carry if needed. It could be freezing cold outside and toasty warm inside the fair so you want to be able to adjust as needed without being burdened with lots to carry.
On the subject of attire, do note how the vendors present themselves. Are they a high end venue promoting their country house? They should be dressed to match that. Or maybe they are a folksy band – you would expect them to be more casual. It doesn’t actually matter if they are dressed in suits or heels though, just that they are presentable. Some suppliers don’t need to be dressed to the nines to do the job you are hiring them for, but you do want them to have made an effort towards that aesthetic.
Bring a couple of things too depending on what you still need. Swatches of material or colours can be useful for cake, dress and kilt makers for example. Bringing your diary is also a good idea to book further meetings with anyone you don’t book on the day but want to learn more about.
Tip 5: Look out for deals and offers.
Many of the attending services will have special offers and deals on the day. These are often wedding fair exclusive as booking several couples in one day is highly beneficial to their marketing budget. You may not want to book anyone on the day or commit to anything, but if there is a particularly good deal on offer for someone you will be considering booking in the next few days once you’ve digested everything, make a point of arranging a follow up call with them and asking if the offer will extend until that meeting. You’ll often find they are happy to accommodate you.
Wedding fair tip 6: Expect a sales pitch
Wedding fairs are great fun. There’s bubbly on arrival, cake samples, bands playing and beautiful dresses everywhere you look. But don’t forget that every supplier is there to make some sales and bookings. You will get a sales pitch from everyone you speak to, but hopefully it won’t sound like the dodgy second-hand car salesman in every movie you’ve ever seen (if it does – run!) Dont be offended if you are asked if you’d like to pay a deposit now or buy something there and then. Hopefully if you get to this stage, both you and the person you are chatting to have had a fun conversation and there is some mutual interest there.
In terms of making bookings on the day, it’s up to you. you don’t have to and should not feel pressured into it, although some vendors will book up quickly or have limited space – venues are usually at the top of that list, so keep that in mind, especially if you are getting married on a prime date.
This is also where your team can step in too. If you are happy to book certain services, let them know and your budget so they can keep you on track. If however you don’t want to commit to anything on the day, your friends can easily step in and cut off any pushy suppliers for you if needed.
Tip 7: Ask questions and interact.
Expect to be chatted to as you move around the floor. Staff in each booth will be keep to interact with you, so take advantage of that and ask all the questions you have or take that chance to compare them to someone else you just spoke to offering the same product.
At the same time, be ready to share contact details too as some companies will mail you offers and information after the show if you’ve not yet made up your mind.
One of my favourite wedding fair tips, in terms of sharing your contact information is that it can be worthwhile picking up a PAYG SIM just for the event and giving out that contact number as well as a dedicated Gmail address (like JeffandGeoffsayIdo@gmail.com) so you can keep all the messages after the show in one neat place and don’t need to worry about your own phone getting overwhelmed.
Tip 8: Trust your gut
Probably the best advice I can give you in this whole post. If you are talking with someone and you’re not feeling it, walk away.
You don’t have to abruptly turn around and march to the next stand, but just by asking for a card saying “Thanks, I’ll keep you in mind” and turning to your group should be enough.
Now I don’t mean to suggest that you would feel uncomfortable at any point – although some pushy sales can feel that way – I simply mean that you’ll probably speak to a couple of folks that you just don’t click with, and that’s absolutely fine. There’s plenty more fish in the sea as they say. Take whatever they offer, like business cards or leaflets and once you move on mark the card with an ‘X’ so you know when you’re sorting through them later than they can go on the no pile.
On the flip side, if you are vibing with someone make sure you give them your info and mark that card with a love heart or capital ‘YES!’ so you can put them to the top of your follow up list.
Tip 9: Check the Spam folder
This is one of the easiest wedding fair tips to do, but equally easy to overlook.
Check your email spam folder a few days after the show. Email clients are great at filtering genuine spam messages, but some genuine ones do slip the cracks on occasion.
Wedding fair tip 10: Follow up
So the event is over, but it’s not the end of my wedding fair tips!
Depending on your personality type either, sort through everything you collected that night, or take a few days before you sit down and analyse your haul.
Either way, once you are ready to take the next steps, here’s what they should be:
First of all sort them into groups – photographers, venues, florists, etc.
From there take a group at a time and split them into yes or no, based on your needs. This is where those little heart annotations come in handy. They go to the top of those piles. You probably want to call all the hearted ones first, to find out if they are still available.
Now, work through the groups, in order or importance and either arrange a follow up call or meeting – if it’s a venue you probably want to arrange a visit for example – and take it from there. You can just call one from each category and only move onto the next best if the original choice is no longer available, or you may want to to speak to a couple as a final comparison.