Wedding Fayre Advice
‘Tis the season of wedding fayres, showcases, open days and open evenings. So, what’s the difference? Why do they have different names? Do they provide different things? Can anyone go? Do I have to book an appointment? The simple answer is that the main concept behind each is the same; each event is aimed at newly engaged couples to give them advice about different aspects of their wedding day and to help inspire you with things that you may never have known even existed before. They are also a great way for a venue to show you what it looks like dressed for a wedding without the worry of interrupting an actual wedding.
Wedding fayres and showcases tend to be a little larger with more suppliers and focus on suppliers as well as the venue. Wedding Open Days and Evenings tend to be more about the venue itself with a few suppliers dotted around the venue and a more casual atmosphere. The most casual type of event would be Open Evenings which are usually just a couple of hours long, after work, during the week, and open for you to walk in and wander around as you please with no interruptions unless you have questions for them.
If your wedding venue is holding a wedding event like this, I definitely advise that you visit even if it’s just to see them in action and get an idea of the venue dressed for a wedding. My advice is to contact your wedding planner at the venue and ask which rooms they will be setting up so you know if the room(s) you have booked will be dressed or not.
If you don’t yet have a venue, make sure to look around the venue as well as the event itself. Take lots of pictures and speak with the event manager for the venue to see if they can give you any information. They often have a sign in sheet of their own so that they can send you more details after the event and they are usually providing show rounds on the day so would be more than happy to help. They may even book appointments in advance so if you are interested in looking around the venue too, make sure to contact the event manager in advance so they know to expect you – you never know, this could turn out to be your wedding venue…
Wedding events provide the perfect opportunity for you to make a day of it. Lots of couples bring their bridal party with them for inspiration and to offer different opinions before committing and booking something. A lot of couples also visit more than one event on the same day. When going to more than one, make sure to plan your journey between the venues and keep an eye on the clock. You don’t want to be caught out and arrive when an event is closing down. The most common timing for this kind of event is 11am to 3pm but a lot of venues are now extending these times or amending them slightly so always make sure you know when each event starts/finishes. It’s helpful to visit more than one because not every event has the same kind of supplier there; you may go to one event who don’t have any florists but the next one you go to may have two. Most venues will try and have at least one of each supplier and will host local suppliers to the venue in which the event is being held. For example, when we hold wedding events here at Cosener’s, we will invite local suppliers from Abingdon and surrounding areas.
So, I’ve mentioned suppliers quite a bit – what is a supplier? A supplier is someone who can offer a service for your wedding such as a photographer, florist, cake maker etc. There are many suppliers popping up that you may not have thought or even heard of. Donut walls for example, are becoming very popular so some venues will showcase these. Another example is a photo booth which has now evolved into things like photo mirrors instead. Each supplier is a brick, helping you to build your perfect wedding day.
Helpful tip: On the day of the event, lots of suppliers will have deals and discounts valid for the day of the event (or with a deposit deadline of not too long afterwards) so keep your eyes and ears open!
When speaking with suppliers, the one thing they always want to know is your wedding date. If you don’t have a date yet, it’s always a good idea to at least know the time of year and the year itself. This is simply because you may spend 20 minutes speaking with someone, only to find out later on that they are already booked on your wedding day with another event. It’s also great if you have an idea of guest numbers for some suppliers such as cake makers – so they know how big the cake needs to be! (Though it’s not the worst thing in the world if there’s too much cake… is too much cake even possible?!)
Most of these events will have goody bags on arrival and most of them will also provide these for free to anybody arriving. However, some organisers will require you to pre-register for the event in order to claim a free goody bag. (This is simply so that the organiser has a better idea of how many people to expect through the door. With this information, it allows the organiser to prepare enough goody bags and information for everybody – so is totally worth it!) If it’s not made clear by the advertisement then I would advise that you ask the organiser if you need to pre-register simply to save any surprises on the day. I always advise that you have a quick look inside as sometimes, there are vouchers in these bags that you may be able to use on the day – you never know unless you look!
Another helpful tip: Some events, especially the smaller ones, may not provide goody bags so it’s always helpful for you to bring something such as a tote bag to put brochures and leaflets in as you collect them – saves on the arm ache! And speaking of aching, make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you may be walking around the venue and standing with suppliers for a while, especially if you’re having a chat with them about your wedding day…
Wedding events are not scary things, I promise! If you know what you need, it can mean that you tick a lot of boxes in a very short space of time. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s a great way to gather some inspiration and start building your wedding day together.
Good luck and remember… have fun!