Images by Naomi Kenton Photography.
You’ve got your wedding to-do-list waiting, your budget spreadsheet is up and running and you’ve created a few (okay, hundreds) of Pinterest boards. You’re officially prepped and ready to embark on the wedding planning journey, right?
Hold on a second… Where do you even begin?!
The venue search of course! Autumn is a great time to venue hunt because there are Open Days and Wedding Fairs galore and this is the topic I’ll be tackling today.
Open Days, Showcases and Fairs are brimming with incredibly talented suppliers, often hosted at gorgeous venues and it’s almost guaranteed that you will leave feeling inspired and full of ideas. But before you start pencilling tonnes of dates in the diary, make sure you’re clued up on how you can actually make the most out of these road trips. After all, if you go in feeling clueless, chances are you will also leave feeling clueless. And then you’ll be back to a to-do-list that’s not had a lot of action.
If you’re wondering what the difference between a Wedding Fair and a Venue Open Day is – you’re not alone. Wedding Fairs are specifically designed to showcase the talents of suppliers, from florists to photographers, cake makers to bridal boutiques. There can be anything from 10 to 100 – depending on how large or established the Wedding Fair is. A Venue Open Day is hosted at a venue with the aim to offer couples the chance to explore and wander around. It’s a lovely opportunity to picture your celebration at the venue and you can have a natter with the team about your big day. They’ll usually have a few of their preferred suppliers on hand to chat too. Both Wedding Fairs & Venue Open Days are a lovely way of basking in post-engagement glory and feeling the wedding love, all while discovering new ideas and styles.
There’s no need for a Wedding Fair to be stressful, but it can easily become quite overwhelming if you don’t know what you want to get from them. While a Wedding Fair may not seem right for you, they offer the opportunity for you to get a head start on the planning and make for a lovely day out with your partner, bridesmaids or even mother of the bride / groom. There’s often a glass of fizz waiting for you at the entrance, so it really does have its perks!
Exhibitors are there to show you just how incredibly talented they are, so they’ll be grabbing the chance to have a chat with you and show you their work. We recommend going in with a list of suppliers that you want to get organised – so if you already have a stationer and florist in mind, focus on other suppliers that you need to book. Look strategically at the exhibitor list and work your way around the Wedding Fair so you ensure you speak to everyone you want to. The suppliers will be armed with plenty of wedding wisdom and can introduce you to things you didn’t even know existed!
Bring Someone Along
Whether it’s your husband or wife-to-be, a group of your best girls or your sister, always take someone with you. There will be so much to experience – Wedding Fairs have catwalks, prosecco parlours, beauty pop-up shops and more. It’s more fun doing it with someone and it’s all part of being engaged. Plus, it’s always handy to have a second opinion about suppliers and it’s likely they will spot things you’ve missed.
Front Row Fashion
Make sure you grab a glass of something lovely and head straight to The Catwalk! Firstly, it’s such a buzz and you’ll really feel like you’re at a London fashion show. Secondly, you’ll be immersed in aisle style inspiration galore! From the dress to the suits, the bridesmaids to the accessories, make a note of any outfits that you love. It makes such a difference seeing them on someone else too!
Wedding Fairs have SO much going on, they really are brilliant. From live music to magicians, food trucks to fashion, welcome the wedding industry with open arms and enjoy every second of it. Fairs offer the perfect excuse to have some fun with your #BrideTribe and obsess over your big day, what’s not to love?! Plus, you’ll be able to nab yourself plenty of scrumptious samples and goodie bags!
Venue Open Days
If you’ve been browsing through the Venue Finder and have added a number of potential venues to your shortlist, keep your eyes peeled for any upcoming events. While you can book in a private show-around, a Venue Open Day usually involves having particular rooms dressed ready for a wedding, such as your reception or ceremony. You’ll be able to get an idea of the atmosphere and ambience, while exploring the venues and its gardens and grounds. The whole team will be there too, so if you have any niggling questions you can ask away!
The images that are perfectly illustrating this feature were taken for Caswell House by Naomi Kenton at their Open Day earlier this year – super pretty right? And the best bit is they have their next one just around the corner on Sunday 22nd September! You can read all about it here.
So back to it – if you think you’ve found ‘The One’, we suggest taking your parents or loved ones along to a Venue Open Day so that can experience for themselves ahead of the wedding. Don’t forget, Venue Open Days usually also have rather lovely special offers for potential couples who book on the day, which is a bonus if you’re watching the budget.
What to bring
There are a few things it’s worth taking along to a Wedding Fair or Venue Open Day, including:
- A tote bag: You’ll be given lots of flyers, freebies and samples, so you will need somewhere to keep them safe
- Your diary: You may want to book in trials, tours and consultations, so bring along a calendar in your bag
- Cash: For tickets (if needed), refreshments and just in case the suppliers don’t have card facilities
- Comfy shoes and blister plasters: It sounds ridiculous, but you’re going to be covering a LOT of ground, and you want to ensure you’re suitably dressed while doing it
- Heels: Not to wear! But if you want to try on any wedding dresses, it’s worth popping a hair of heels in your bag to slip into
- Water and paracetamol: Yep, Wedding Fair headaches are a thing
Now you’re feeling ready to face the music, swing by our Events Diary where you’ll discover all the latest Venue Open Days, Fairs & Events to help create an unforgettable day.
Featured Venue Caswell House
Photography Naomi Kenton Photography
Stationery Lou Paper
Flowers Haze Lea
Lighting Oakwood Events