Why you shouldn’t bother with national wedding fairs

Since becoming engaged I have been absolutely bombarded with wedding spam. I’ve had friends and family throwing recommendations at me (this isn’t a bad thing – it’s been super helpful) and even all of my Facebook adverts are in reference to “vintage weddings” – although I’ve never specified that is something I’d like. But clearly I’m a target for big money.

One thing I struggled with early on is finding local businesses. You can have all the adverts and glossy features you want in the wedding magazines, but if you’re a bride-to-be living outside of London, quite frankly, these magazines would be better used to start a bonfire.

So, off to the local wedding fairs we went. I think I visited 2 or 3 local ones with my sister (Maid of Honour) and another 2 with Joe, and I can’t stress how helpful they were. We actually found our suit hire company at a local fair, and at another we found almost all of our ideas for table and venue decorations.
However, we intended these to be “warm ups” for a big national wedding show. Originally we wanted to visit London in the spring for some fairs, but this was when we were planning a 2014 wedding. Now that it’s in only 5 months (!!!) we decided to go to the Manchester Wedding Show on my birthday instead, hoping to have a nice morning out of the house and make our final bookings.

But, it was utterly awful.

We are fairly organised. At the point of the fair, we were 6 months away from the big day, and knew exactly what we were after: DJs, centerpieces and bridesmaid dresses. The day was a failure for a number of reasons.

  • They had 1 person there who did DJ’ing on the side, no bridesmaid dresses at all, and the decorations there were all by one sole supplier (we had already enquired with this venue dresser previously who quoted us just over £4000 to decorate our venue. Pardon me, but I didn’t pay that much for my car.)
  • Nearly all of the exhibitors were venues, photographers or wedding dresses, all of which we already had arranged.
  • This show was no bigger than any local fair and I felt that it was completely and utterly mis-marketed.
  • They charged us £9 for the privilege. That’s right. 18 quid it cost us to be let down. Not including the £7 parking.

Here is Joe looking relatively unimpressed with his ‘Groom’ badge…
I thought that perhaps I was just too far gone in the planning process to go to these fairs, but today my sister took me to another local one at a venue which she used to work at, in the hope of seeing some old friends and perhaps even getting some finishing touches arranged. It was fantastic. There was free champagne, wine and food, and it looks like we found a DJ as well as our centerpieces.

Karen x

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