Yes, it's that time of year again - after all the proposals of Christmas and New Year, it's time for wedding fairs! Eager to grab all those new brides and grooms with their new budgets, there are wedding fairs aplenty every weekend with suppliers all out to make a good impression.
Wedding fairs can be great - you get to speak to suppliers in person, sometimes there are great deals to be had and sometimes you find things you didn't know about. But some fairs are guaranteed to set stress levels soaring when you've got no room to move, a poor selection of suppliers and that horrid 'hard sell' attitude that some people still think is the way to get business. I don't know about you but being hassled makes me want to run away, not stop and spend money!
So, to make weddings fairs something to love not loathe, check our ILMW's top tips and get out and about this January!
1. Lots of venues list the suppliers that are going to attend on their websites so if you're looking for, say, a cakemaker, check before that there are going to be cakemakers there! And there's no point going to a fair when you saw all the same suppliers at the one you went to last week!
2. Take your diary - you can make lots of follow-up appointments with suppliers when you'll have more time to talk with them than at the fair itself.
3. Check what else is going on - is there a fashion show or a talk you want to catch? Is there a 'groom's room' or something else you want to see? Make sure you don't miss anything important!
4. If you're out to buy some items, take cash or, at a push, a cheque book - it's unlikely suppliers will have a credit card machine and you might be able to pick up some discounts if you buy on the day BUT...
5. ... Don't be pushed into buying something you hadn't planned on having at your wedding. All those impulse purchases can tip you over budget really easily.
6. Some of the big wedding fairs have entry fees - you can save money if you buy your tickets in advance.
7. Check the websites of suppliers you like - they'll quite often list fairs they're exhibiting at so it's a great way to find out about what's happening where & when.
And if you want to make a trip to a fair a bit more of an event, use a site like www.thegoodpubguide.co.uk to find somewhere for a celebratory drink afterwards!