We visited the Wedding Fair at Bluewater and wanted to pass on some words of advice about what to expect from a much larger wedding fair (with an admission charge)!
DECIDE YOUR REASON FOR GOING AND WHO TO BRING
Firstly, I think you need to decide what you are going for… Are you at the early stages of your wedding and looking for ideas? Or are you on a mission to secure bookings and take advantage of discounts? Once you have made that decision, you can decide who to bring with you. For me, it’s not on my fiancés top list of things to do; but if you are going to make bookings I would advise bringing your partner so they are on board with what you have booked and have no surprises on the day. Some of the stalls are small so bringing everyone is not necessary, unless you’re planning on splitting up and briefing them with a task each!
PHOTOGRAPHY WINDOW SHOPPING
I found it was the best place to find a great photographer – lots of different options and styles of photographers ranging from the traditional to quirky, some with beautiful posed soft images and some with bright bold photos to capture the mood of the day. It’s also a really good opportunity to get chatting to them, with no strings attached, to get to know what they’re like.
My biggest advice is; if you have a wedding date in mind check availability first before you fall in love with any supplier – you don’t want to waste time talking to suppliers who are fully booked on your date!
LOOKING FOR LIVE ENTERTAINMENT?
If you are looking for a band but don’t know where to start look out for a performance stage so you can hear (live!) if they really are good and what you are looking for. At Bluewater there were also some great stalls with live performances and a list of tracks to choose from, The Dotted Crotchets had such a varied playlist, I loved them!
WEDDING DRESS SHOPPERS
If you are looking for a dress be warned it is not quite the tranquil atmosphere of going to a bridal shop – although every effort is made to make it a comfortable experience, you will be stood in front of many members of the public oo and ahhing at you and as ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ good underwear is a must because this may also end up on display!!
MONEY SAVING GREATNESS
The best area for us was the creative brides vintage village – a regular feature at the Bluewater wedding fairs. We were invited (free of charge) to learn how to make various pieces of wedding décor – not only to help save some pennies for your big day but still have the wow factor as well as the personal touch. I loved the simple double sided paper cones, easy to make and very versatile (could be used for confetti, table favours, to hold a gift or food sweet cones around your sweet table). This would be a great chance with your bridal party to chatter and make things together or even make your children feel more included in the day! Craft hen parties are becoming popular ranging from creating fascinators to flower arranging and suitable for all ages.
TIME SAVER TIP…
If you are short on time or already have your wedding dress; skip the catwalk shows! The crowds all gather for these, so it is a quick way to get around a lot of suppliers and feel like you can stand back and look more at what is on offer.
There were some interesting stalls with fresh ideas such as booking an archery session to keep your guests entertained after the ceremony and before the evening. There was also a beautiful vintage store selling hair pieces, jewellery and tiaras but the difference with this stall is that they are all hand made to order. Tiaras by julia beazley you can even make requests to include a family heirloom such as your Nan’s pearls on a hair band, your “something old” covered in a beautifully sentimental way. Also a great gift idea for bridesmaids, or family to give to you, as a really personal touch. Might drop some serious hints for my wedding, although not a cheap option – something that is worth the splurge if you can.
LOOKING FOR A VENUE?
This was an area where the internet could be of the same use. Although it makes you aware of venues, because you are not actually at the venue itself it’s just pictures and leaflets to judge the venue. A lot of stalls advise it’s better going to their own wedding fairs or booking an appointments to view instead.
Some of the stands are clearly labelled but some just have company names so ask what service they provide if it isn’t clear so you don’t miss out! Then they should take over with informing you what they provide. If you are shy or feeling overwhelmed ask a confident friend to do the approaching for you!
We had a great afternoon and felt inspired by the creative bride section, so if you are looking for a photographer, ideas or live entertainment I recommend attending a bigger wedding fair with a few friends in tow. Please feel free to share any of your wedding fair experiences or tips with me, and I hope to see some of you at our Wedding Fair & Open Day on the 28th of Feb!