It’s wedding fair season and if you’re a bride or groom then no doubt you’ll be heading off to one or two each weekend until you’ve exhausted all the local venues and tried enough cake samples to jigsaw-piece together you’re own 3-tier creation!
So are they useful? I’d debate it and do quite openly.
I think if you are a bride or groom, visiting a fair at your chosen venue and you haven’t yet chosen your suppliers, then a showcase of recommended vendors can be very helpful. But – you should be aware that not all ‘recommended’ suppliers are actually that, some well known venues will charge a high fee to wedding businesses to be given a place on their suppliers list and some don’t actually know anything about the level of professionalism of the company or person paying. I carried out some research and found more than one high end venue hadn’t seen any of the photos from one of their ‘recommended photographers’ !! How can they list businesses that brides will trust to be perfect for their day, yet not know anything about them?! Check with your venue, ask questions and quiz them before you book someone from their list and of course don’t just take anyone else’s opinion, do your own research first.
As a wedding planner fairs have never been the best place to advertise, many people visiting fairs are resourceful and looking to plan their own weddings from scratch. Therefore as pretty as my stand might be sadly no one felt the need to visit me for fear of getting into a conversation about coping with the stress or losing control over their plans.
I also fear that the fairs themselves are quite hard sell, I’m not sure this is the best way to chose people with whom you’ll entrust your precious day to. I wonder how many brides go to these fairs and pick someone because they wanted to take advantage of a ‘show day exclusive offer’ that would only be available for that one day. Is this the best way to make such an important decision? I like to go home and think about what I’ve seen, who I’ve met and what I thought before deciding on who to give my savings to.
Are fairs loved by suppliers? Not really. The suppliers I know do them either because it’s the only form of advertising that enables them to show case what they do and it’s also a necessity if you are on a venues recommended list and they are holding an open day. It’s very competitive however and the whole ‘fight to be heard’ cattle market feel has most of us running for cover.
Surely there has to be a better way? And there will be next March! I’m working with a wonderful group of final year uni students (where I’m a part-time lecturer) who are developing a wedding show for me with a difference, a fake wedding as such, where brides-to-be will truly see suppliers in action instead of behind a stand. Hear the music, see the flowers being designed, taste the food and witness a ceremony. It’s going to be amazing!
Having said all this however, we are off to the Brides Show this weekend in London. As a planner fairs are a great way to network so I can’t knock them for that. I only hope that couples take them with a warning label – don’t rush into anything and do your research!
Have a great weekend guys, come find us if you’re at the show on Saturday 🙂