Saturday, 15 September 2012

Wedding Fayres - Our Do's and Don'ts

Hello all.  Well the new season of Wedding Fayres has really kicked off in earnest again and next week I shall be at the very gorgeous and very prestigious Designer Vintage Bridal Show and so I thought I'd bring you a florist's perspective and some handy hints on what to look for.  
This post was first guested by the lovely Sara of Under the Vintage Veil earlier this year, but I'm sharing it with you once again as it seems quite timely. 

Wedding Fayres are a popular as a way of giving a Bride the chance to look over a venue and meet a number of suppliers in one convenient space.  They can be a bit hectic, and for those who have never been to one before, a little daunting.  I've also noticed that Brides can be a little shy in coming forward and chatting about flowers, so here are my helpful tips and advice about what to expect and ask - to get the most out of your visit.

Most florists will do their best to ‘put on a show’ to try and give you some idea of what they can do.  They will spend a good deal of time planning what they will make and will order carefully chosen, interesting, beautiful flower materials to work with.  Designing and making up will take a good part of the day before, with an early start on the actual day to finish off and check over designs.  A good florist will showcase examples of a full range of their wedding work and will typically include the following:-

-         A large, creative, often technically demanding showpiece such as a candelabra, pedestal arrangement or focal table decoration
-         Several Bridal bouquets, usually in different styles such as hand tieds, shower bouquets, waterfall bouquets or structured bouquets.  
-         A couple of Bridesmaids’ bouquets and one or two novelty items which might include a circlet, Alice Band, basket, wand etc (the possibilites are endless!)
-         Corsages, wrist corsages and buttonholes
-         A range of small, medium and large table decorations

Don’t be nervous about approaching and talking to the florist, after all she or he might be nervous too – a good florist will put their heart and soul into their designs and so go with your instincts.  A good starting point is to talk about the venue you have chosen to get married in and discuss the style, theme and any chosen colours of your wedding.  As you all know, I have a passion for seasonal flowers so I'm particularly interested in when you're getting married. That should get the conversation started nicely! 

Some Brides are attracted to a particular design and often will want to talk about that.  The florist should be helpful, friendly and knowledgeable and you will know very quickly whether or not she or he ‘gets’ you.  Do remember to ask about seasonal availablilty particularly if you are at a wedding fayre in Spring but getting married in December, again the florist should be able to guide and advise you on the right flowers for your colours.

The main thing is to have a nice, informal chat and if you feel you like the person and they’re not too pushy, then take their details or, if you know you love their work, book a consultation there and then.

Here are some tips on what to look for:-

-         Look carefully at the style of design – does it feel right?  Will it work with your theme?  If the overall table looks very ‘corporate’ then it might not work with your Boho wedding.

-         Don’t be put off if you don’t see your exact colour scheme, remember the table is only 6ft and the designs only represent an idea of what he/she can do!  If you can imagine the designs you see in a different colour-way then you’ll be fine.

-         Ask to see their portfolio (they should have it with them) and check there are plenty of photographs of ‘real’ weddings.  It’s very easy to make-up a portfolio full of designs which haven’t actually been ordered.  Or even, horror of horrors, copy and paste a photo of someone else’s work.  Make sure there are lots of pictures of happy Brides!

-         Check how the designs are finished, has thought gone into the details such as carefully co-ordinated ribbon on the bouquets?  Is everything in tip top condition and well put together?  Does everything say good quality to you?

One thing to bear in mind is that unlike photographers, accessories designers and many other suppliers at wedding fayres, florists have to pay not only for their stand, but also for their perishable flowers.  The event will cost them at least £150 more than everyone else there, and that doesn't take into account a day spent making the designs.  So, if you like what they do – please let them know, you can always book a consultation after you’ve had a chance to check out their website.

Above all, don't be afraid to chat and give feedback.  At my last wedding fayre I had one Bride come over and in answer to my question ‘Is there anything in particular that you like?’ replied ‘Yes, everything!’  (you know who you are Kirsti!). 

Hope that's helpful - if you need or want any further advice, get in touch.  Did you find your dream supplier at a wedding fayre or were they not all they seemed and you had a lucky escape? What was your best and worst experience?

Tracey x
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