Wedding events for inspiration
Nothing beats visiting a wedding event when planning your big day; useful online tools such as Instagram and Pinterest are brilliant when you have a spare half hour to search for new ideas, but they can be overwhelming when there are oceans of images to trawl through and even more so when you aren’t exactly sure what you’re looking for. Physically seeing, hearing, touching, tasting (and maybe smelling!) the products and services wedding suppliers have to offer is the best way of making the right decisions for your wedding – think of it as a bit of a rehearsal of what you and your guests will experience on the day itself.
Getting to know your suppliers
Also (and we can’t stress this enough) meeting your suppliers is invaluable! Building that relationship with them, feeling confident and trusting that they will deliver on the day for you and asking any questions you have. Of course, it is possible to meet a supplier you have found and booked online or via a recommendation, but most suppliers do not meet their potential clients before booking and if you meet after (if at all), it may be too late to cancel and get your deposit back if you’re no longer sure you want them to be involved in your wedding.
Showcases in 2017
Not that long ago, wedding fairs and shows were mostly full of rows of clothed trestle tables each displaying an uninspiring sign alongside piles of leaflets ready to hand out as you walked past. Fast forward to 2017 and there’s now a fabulous selection of established showcases and open days ready to inspire and excite brides and grooms-to-be! Today we’re telling you how to choose which to go to (after all, your time is precious and you don’t want to spend days attending every event you hear about!) and how to get the most out of your visit.
Finding events to go to:
- The first thing to do is a quick Google search for events (ideally in your area) so for example ‘wedding show in London’. Play around with keywords such as ‘showcase’, ‘fair’ and ‘open day’ or ‘open evening’. A lot of results will pop up but don’t stress…
- Look out for links to websites such as confetti.co.uk, hitched.co.uk or online magazines such as You London Wedding Magazine that will bring a lot of event listings together in one place.
- Skim through these lists and look for words such as ‘inspiration’ and ‘inspire’ (or even do a Ctrl + F) to keyword search the web page quickly.
- Avoid titles that just simply list the venue’s name followed by ‘Wedding Fair’ (unless you are considering this venue or it’s really nearby so wouldn’t be out of your way).
- Create a shortlist and look at each in more detail. Earmark it as a possible one to visit if it ticks some or all of the below:
- Includes a wide variety of suppliers (and perhaps some suppliers that offer a product or service you haven’t come across before);
- Shows you photos of previous showcases (perhaps check the venue’s social media for this too) and these look exciting and have a lot going on;
- Has a schedule of demos and/or talks from suppliers (a fashion catwalk is our favourite!);
- Suppliers are demonstrating where possible (e.g. music acts playing live, AV companies displaying lighting effects etc);
- Offers interaction in the form of food and drink tastings;
- Features styled tables (which are ultimately wedding breakfast tables that show design ideas for centrepieces, linen, chairs, tables, stationery, cutlery, glassware and tableware);
- A complimentary goody bag (sometimes only offered if you pre-register your attendance) – these normally include some lovely samples from suppliers!
- Pick 2 or 3 events that you think would inspire you the most and schedule your visit!
To note, open days can be great as these are usually representing the venue as it would/could be set up for an actual wedding. This can be really valuable and helpful if you have booked the venue already for your wedding or are considering it so want to see it in all its glory!
Getting the most out of your visit
Now you’ve decided on a showcase to attend, have a read of our tips on making it as productive and fun as possible!
- Before the event, think about 3 – 5 key things you are looking for specifically. Are you interested in the venue itself? Have you not yet found a cake designer you like? Will you need childcare at your wedding?
- Grab a show guide when you arrive (or online beforehand if you can) and skim through the supplier list – do any of these jump out at you? Also look for a schedule of demos & talks and star any ones that you’d like to see, so you can time this.
- If you’re pushed for time, aim to arrive as soon as the event starts. It will be relatively quiet to start with and you should be able to easily and quickly talk to the suppliers you want.
- Following on from the first point… Talk to the suppliers! You may be worried they want to sell their service to you – the good suppliers won’t pressure you and instead would be delighted to hear about your wedding plans, have a good chat about what they can help you with and maybe even share some initial thoughts and ideas with you.
- Be open to suppliers and wedding elements you may not be initially drawn to – this is a great opportunity to consider new ideas that you may love but would’ve previously ignored! So if you have the time, browse all supplier stands and exhibits on offer and try and keep an open mind.
As part of our other business, Kelly Chandler Consulting, we currently lead the organisation of two successful showcases – one at Waddesdon Manor and the other at Chiswick House & Gardens – and aim to make these as inspirational and creative as possible. I’ll post further information about upcoming dates on our Social Media pages, but for now, the date to pop into your diary is 4th March 2018 for the Waddesdon Manor Wedding Inspiration Day.
If you’d like help sourcing fantastic suppliers to create your dream wedding, amongst all other aspects of planning your wedding, get in touch with us to find out what we can do to help you make your wedding planning stress-free and easy!
Images: Kate Nielen // Florals: All for Love // Tabletop hires: Couvert // Stationery: Dimitria Jordan // Furniture: Academy Furniture // Cocktails: Ampersand Catering // Venue: Waddesdon Manor // Cocktails: Cocktail Maker // Venue: Chiswick House and Gardens // Canapes: Food Show // Table styling: The Bespoke Wedding Company // Furnishings: Elite Hire // Flowers: Signature Flowers // Paper goods: On Cloud Nine // Table rentals: Duchess And Butler // Cakes: Sherry Hostler Cake Artistry // Paper goods: Intricate Creations // Ellie Sanderson Bridal Boutique // Table styled by: Bo Chic Weddings And Events // Flowers: Signature Flowers // Paper goods: White Cottage Weddings