7

Jul

2010

Wedding Wednesday Discussions: Are wedding fairs a thing of the past?

So it’s Wedding Wednesday on twitter, so I have decided to start Wedding Wednesday on my blog and start a new discussion every week or so (we’ll see how we get on)
This week I want to look at Wedding Fairs and Wedding Exhibitions.

As a wedding supplier I am always looking for new brides and grooms to work with. I spend a lot of my time on marketing to attract new customers.
At the moment I am getting endless phone calls from a variety of wedding companies offering me stands at this wedding exhibition, that wedding open day………..it’s endless! But this has made me take a step back from it all and question if these methods of attracting brides and grooms is still working?

Do Brides and Grooms still want to go to wedding fairs; do they get much out of them? Do they like that one too one contact with the supplier? Or do the time poor couple now wish to do all of their research on the internet??

On the other side of things do the suppliers get much from these wedding exhibitions anymore? Are there enough couples to go around the ever growing amount of wedding fairs that take place every weekend? And does the rising cost of exhibiting put people off for the return they get back?

Personally I have exhibited at wedding fairs, some good some bad. Some I’ve had a good response from, some absolutely nothing!
I would love to be in the position to be able to afford to exhibit every weekend, to go through the huge list of fairs that are on and cherry pick the best ones, but at £150 – £200+ for the average stand it just isn’t possible. The sales call will say ‘well if you make one booking on the day, it pays for itself’…..that’s far enough but what if there are no bookings? What if the event hasn’t been publicised well enough and not enough people turn up? Then what??

And then there are the bigger exhibitions the ones that you have to pay to get into. Are these any better? There are fantastic ones that do a great job, where you can spend all day and really come away feeling as a bride or groom that you have got a lot of varied information and are ready to make some strong decisions on which suppliers you want to work with. Some offer a discount on the day if you book there and then. However there are other big exhibitions that just don’t take enough care to invite the right suppliers, or the right amount of each supplier. No bride or groom wants to go to an exhibition hall full of photographers and dress shops and not much else, they want choice and variety……and so does the exhibitor who has spent thousands for a stand!

I have found though that the type of bride and groom that will pay £7, £8 even £15 to get into one of these exhibitions’ is generally serious about making some decisions, they have come with a purpose and mean business.
I do ask myself though,how serious the bride and groom who pop along to you average run of the mill wedding fair on a Sunday afternoon is, are they just there for the free cake? The chocolate fountain?……and when you ask them about their wedding they reply ‘oh we’re not getting married’…………..well why are you here then????

I think people want more from a wedding fair these days, going into a venue and walking round a tired old room with a few people selling their goods and services, with tatty displays and not even a smile from the exhibitors, just doesn’t cut it anymore…….I do believe that brides and groom want more.

After visiting a very bad wedding fair earlier this year I decided that that there was a market for something different! Something more interactive.
I was asked to organise Sheffield pride’s Civil partnership wedding fair, which I did but I made every effort to make it different to make it something people wanted to come to….and stay! not only to get reliable information on Civil partnerships, but to meet suppliers who offered them something more. Interactive displays, demonstrations, entertainment throughout the day. Don’t just tell people what you can do….show them!!!

So Personally I have concluded from my findings that I will only exhibit if:
1) I have organised the event myself and I know that it is going to be a different sort of day, I know it has been advertised as I’ve done it, I know the quality of exhibitors as I’ve booked them, and I can follow up on the leads, as I have all the contact details
2) It is a large exhibition that has paid entry. BUT I have to have been to that exhibition before and trust the organisers to have done a good job and have a good variety of suppliers.

So I would love to hear from you.
Are you a bride and groom? Have you been to any wedding fairs? Have you found them useful, or not? If not what was the problem? What do you think would make the whole experience better for you?
Are you a supplier? Do you still exhibit? If not why? Do you find you get work from them? If you don’t exhibit, where else do you now find your customers?

Feel free to leave comments; I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks
Kelly xx

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Comments

    Alison Wren

    Hi Kelly,

    Great article.

    I’ve done good and bad fairs like yourself (although none recently), including one which attracted about 3 brides!

    My criteria would be:
    – established fairs only
    – preferably ones I’d had a chance to visit previously.

    I’d look for a good match between the venue/target bride and my product – probably no point going to a village hall fair if you are a very upmarket florist.

    I’d want to chat to previous exhibitors too about their experience.

    Talking to wedding suppliers I know, plenty do still find wedding fairs a good investment so I don’t think the phone calls will stop yet!

    Reply
    Kate

    We went to several wedding fairs, after the first few you tend to see the same faces over and over so we went to different ones. I wouldn’t pay to go to a fayre unless it was one of the massive ones in which case i’d be expecting a nice goody bag and plenty of choice in people.

    I think that they are a good idea for sourcing photographers because first impressions count a lot as they will be spending the whole day with you.

    The only thing I booked via wedding fayre was the wedding cars (and that was mainly from a recommendation from someone else anyway, they just happened to be there).

    I think a lot of exhibitors do the fayres so often they are bored and this really comes across to the bride/groom.

    As a bride I loved going to the fayres but as for giving the exhibitors my custom, out of five fayres and probably a hundred exhibitors only one got my business. The rest were based on personal recommendations and my own research online.

    Reply
    Ryan

    The big shows in the right places are worth doing and we pick up some very good clients from them.

    The small ones we pick up the clients but they are not generally in the same league as the big ones, if you know what i mean.

    Reply
    Kelly

    Oooh, I like this!
    As a dedicated events co-ordinator of three wedding and reception venues I’m really against holding wedding fayres within any of our venues. If you fill your spaces with stall holders and exhibitors, you’re not showing the venue’s full potential. I find hosting wedding fayres incredibly time consuming and very often I see little benefit.
    I also find, that during “peak wedding fayre season” there can be several wedding fayres in the local area on the same day meaning that it can be hard to get a good variety of suppliers to exhibit and to generate footfall on the day.
    However, I’m completely for exhibiting outside our venue as long as it’s not at another venue (as with the Rainbow Wedding Tent… which was fabulous by the way!). As an “alternative” venue provider without the big advertising budget this benefits us hugely. Although it’s incredibly unlikely that we would take any bookings on the day, it’s great to meet people that may not know about what we offer or haven’t thought about a less traditional venue.
    I also believe that there’s no better advertising than word of mouth and personal recommendation.

    Reply
    boho

    Thanks for the comments so far, great to hear what you have to say. It seems that I’m not the only one who things as I do!

    And thank you kelly for the lovely comments about the trainbow wedding tent, if I am going to do more wedding fairs (which I have been as ked to do since that last one) then i think they should be more like that one, fun and informative and not a fortune for people to exhibit!

    xx

    Reply
    Sue heyes

    Hi

    iv done lots of wedding fairs and to be honest most aren’t worth the money and are badly organised and advertised.
    I think they do need a re think as I think brides want more out of them these days.
    It’s frustrating as an exhibitor when you’ve paid £150 to exhibit, took the time to make your stand and products look nice then 4 people turn up.
    I’d love to do one of the big fairs like tatton park bit they are so expensive I personally can’t justify paying for it.
    There must be a better way to do them bit what the answer is I don’t know.

    Sue
    http://www.favourheaven.co.uk

    Reply
    Christine Staiduhar

    Fantastic discussion! In the US the brides that attend the bridal shows are usually just engaged. They have no idea what they are looking for or where to start.

    I have done a few shows. I only booked one client from that show 2 years later. But here is what I love about doing them. I adore the interaction with the brides. They help me to get excited about my business all over again! The second part I love is the connections I make with other vendors. I make more in sales off of those connections than I do with the brides.

    I do agree there must be a lot to entice the market of brides that we want to target. When a bride receives a “swag bag” at the start of the fair and it is filled with nothing more than business cards and flier it feels cheap. I think they should be treated more like red carpet events. Let’s make them feel like this is their special day!!

    Reply
    Laura at LobsterLove

    I’m in a muddle about wedding fairs, I’ve been approached by one of the biggest ones but the fee is ££££, however I really want to get out there and give brides the chance to look at my jewellery in person

    Laura

    Reply
    Fiona Pickles - Firenza Floral Design

    Hi Kelly
    I’m really interested to know what couples do have to say about this as it is the BIG question isn’t it?
    As a “top end” supplier we do attend the big exhibitions (several per year) and they more than pay for themselves – we find that most visitors are genuine and because flowers are so visual people do want to come and look at the stand – I understand it must be more difficult for less “visually appealing” exhibitors. As a bespoke wedding florist, we don’t have a shop so we use the stand as a temporary shop window and dress it with the latest designs and trends and we can gauge reactions from visitors. We also use a lot of scented flowers/foliage so this can only be experienced at fairs.

    We are also recommended supplier at a few venues so we support them by attending their fairs, which largely are worth doing, it can be a two way thing. I am sceptical of most free fairs as people can (and do!) use them as a day out/somewhere to get a cup of tea, but a well advertised fair with an existing reputation is usually worth doing. Is the venue inviting all their booked brides? A good fashion show is usually a bonus as well (as long as the models don’t look embarrassed as there is nothing worse!).
    Fairs for florists are exceptionally expensive as we have to buy all our flowers on top of the stand fees so we have to be choosy.

    Not sure that helps in any way, but I hope it does
    Fiona xx

    Reply
    boho

    Thanks Fiona yes that does help, I know what you mean about the smaller fairs I think to often they are just seen as a day out for some people!
    And yes some people benegit from meeting the brides and grooms more than others, as a wedding planner it is really important that I meet up with these people face to face as they are buying into me as much as the service I provide!

    Hope to see you at some of the big shows this year.

    xx

    Reply
    Katy Thomson

    A brilliant discussion topic to start your Wedding Wednesdays (great idea by the way!).
    I personally am not convinced by Wedding Fairs. I have been to a number to get an idea of what goes on and to check out the competition as well as to meet other suppliers. The impression I get from wedding fairs is that there are too many going on and very few offer something different for suppliers and couples.
    I have only done 2 wedding fairs as an exhibitor and if I was to do any in the future it would depend on the venue (is it somewhere where I would like to shoot a wedding? Is it looking to attract the couples who I am looking to market my photography too?). I am also looking at how well the wedding fair is publicised and how it is looking to be different and stand out from the rut that a lot of wedding fairs seem to have got into.

    As a photographer I feel that wedding fairs are saturated with too many photographers and feel that couples looking round get tired of seeing so many. If you’re not in the right location it’s easy for couples to have had enough of looking at wedding albums by the time they get round to you. You definitely have to be looking at creating a USP at wedding fairs so that you stand out amongst your competition. I get the majority of my wedding work through word of mouth and recommendations from previous clients or business contacts. As a result of wedding fairs costing so much these days it makes my decision easy, why should I exhibit at a wedding fair that costs a lot of money and can’t guarantee any bookings when I get plenty from referrals, recommendations and networking.

    There is definitely space in the market for alternative wedding fairs and after seeing your Rainbow Tent at PRIDE this year I really feel you are onto something. The atmosphere in the tent was great with the photo booth area, interactive displays, demonstrations, excellent suppliers and a real wedding. If you’re organising another wedding fair then count me in!

    Reply
    Sue White

    Hello Kelly ,good blog as alot of suppliers know we host wedding shows full -time and publish our own feature White Weddings magazine.We appreciate fully the hard work that goes into co-ordinating wedding fayres /shows throughout the region.
    I do feel the wedding show industry is seeing a shift towards more larger shows charging at the gate..were by the bridal party are ernest on getting in as if they were on a mission.Our big Pride Park stadium Wedding show in Derby august 29th East meets west is unique with a Bollywood style fashion show, this venue we have hosted now for 4 years and only recently started charging £3 we saw no drop in the 750 +attendance for the day.When wedding shows or fayres are well advertised and brides contacted with an incentive win a wedding, win a honeymoon or get the venue for free…you will experience more footfall.We are seeing midweek venue wedding open evenings were couples drive from work spend the evening looking around and relaxing with the suppliers often resulting in bookings for all.And yet the £50 wedding fayres not promoted can be dire for all especially when your suppliers have spent money and time getting there! as always you advertise your dates ahead of most with often 2-3 venues duplicating your date which sometimes gets in the way of footfall.Brides need to see suppliers across the whole year, that is why we are developing more midweek evening events in the summer of 2011 only at 80+ weddings a year venues.Half of the battle is getting your venue to e shot their enquiries and existing couples getting married to visit on the day , we send all wedding venue coordinators our adverts in jepeg format so they can email out to their data base.For autumn we will duplicate this method to all the suppliers attending our shows so they can in turn advise their brides to meet them at the event.If everybody pulls together the results will be healthier for all.Please feel free to ask any questions wether you are a bride or supplier as we can see both ends of the bridge…

    Reply
    boho

    Thanks for your comments Katy, I agree with you and yes the best way is word of mouth but hard when you have just started out. I guess wedding fairs are a good way to get yourslef out there and your name seen, but again it’s the wedding fairs you attend that set the bar for the sort of couples you want to attract.
    Yes the alternaive wedding fair is definately something I intend to look at more, I think people exect more these days!

    xx

    Reply
    Mary Jeremiah

    Hi Kelly- I think this is a great discussion and very topical as the time is fast approaching to start thinking about the Auntumn Fayres. So here is my humble response. Nobility used to do as many fayres as possible, employing staff to stand at one fayre whilst I went to another – however this was a couple of years ago now. What I have noticed is that the attendance numbers has been dropping significantly over the last 2 seasons and therefore I now question if they represent value for money – because so many of them are very expensive. My only concern a couple of years ago was, would the couples turn up, now my concerns are will the couples turn up and be interested or ready to book and be genuine. Many couples appear to be window shopping and browsing and when engaging in conversation they tend to be making a lot of things at home, stationery, cakes – family members making them etc etc – and all they use the fayres for is ideas!!! Like you mentioned Kelly, I think you have to be very selective about the ones you choose to exhibit at, but I still don’t think this offers any guarantees anymore. Times are a changing. Personally I find the demise of the wedding fayre very disappointing because products cannot always be accurately judged online and some items,( ie chair covers ) need to be touched and felt in order to access the quality and fit – which I know I am obsessed with!!! Anyhoooo I am very interested to follow this discussion.

    Reply
    boho

    Hi Mary

    interesting point you made about the window shopping element and people using wedding fairs to get ideas to make it themselves. It is such a shame that this is happening and footfall is a lot less than it used to be, but I guess this could also be becuase there are just so many each weekend now.
    When I was a bride I went to the fairs to find suppliers, to meet them and do the touch and feel thing that you talk about, I now use them to meet suppliers!
    And yes some things just don’t transfer well onto the internet!
    Thanks for your comments. xx

    Reply
    Christian Ward

    Interesting and useful thread! We’re not yet convinced about wedding fayres, either way. We have done one very poor fayre, we have one booked for November with a reputable fayre organiser, and we have done a fair bit of research on the fayres out there. We have actually found it very difficult to gain a space at fayres as many of them give previous exhibitors first refusal…so unless somebody drops out, then it’s difficult for us to get in. In my mind, all this means is that the same faces are at many of the fayres time and time again and brides and grooms don’t get to see the variety out there. It also does nothing to keep the market invigorated. I would like to see a move to fayre organisers choosing exhibitors based on quality rather than the current situation. I think if that move was made, it would boost the amount of business happening at fayres because couples would see quality rather than quantity. I have seen a number of fayres with excessive numbers of photographers exhibiting. I’m confident that our photography itself is enough of a unique selling point to attract clients, but when there’s a multitude of photographers exhibiting at a fayre then it’s pretty clear that many brides and grooms are just going to get bored and may not even bother to come to look. So in that case there’s absolutely no incentive to pay out of our valuable and limited marketing budget on something that’s more about cramming as many exhibitors into the venue as possible, irrespective of whether certain types of supplier are over-catered for, and what the quality is like.
    We now have our own showroom and consultation room, and for us that takes the pressure off needing wedding fayres to act as a shop window- because we have our own shop window and place where prospective clients can drop in at any time. We’re still going to give fayres a chance, but I can’t say I feel too confident.

    Reply
    boho

    Good Point Christian, I have had the same problem with some venues only invbiting the same people back year after year, not great for the industry especially how things change so quickly.
    Birdes and grooms want to see something differnt and that isn’t going to happen with the way things run at the moment.

    And yes again good point with the comment on to many of the same suppliers in one place.
    sometimes not enough care goes into finding the right suppliers for certain venues.

    Reply
    Sophie

    Hi Kelly

    Sorry I know it’s not Wednesday any more but thought I’d add my comments to your interesting article!
    This is a subject I’ve been very interested in for a while now. I set up my stationery business just over a year ago so exploring all sorts of different avenues for getting my name and products out there.
    I did one wedding fayre in Feb (mainly because I was getting rung by all sorts of people at that time so thought I’d try one out!) It was pretty poor, I didn’t realise just how much trust you are putting into the organiser of the fair in terms of their marketing, getting the word out etc etc.
    Our weekend in Feb was probably not helped by the snow (!) but the roads were clear enough to get there. Only 25 couples showed up, 50% of which literally turned up just before the fashion show, watched that and then ran out of the door (honestly!)… the rest walked around and seemed fairly interested but it was so difficult getting them involved. I found two sets of couples, 1) they weren’t getting married until 2012 so were just looking for ideas (and this is particularly where I think the previous comments on making it yourself come in) and 2) they were getting married in a couple of months, which begs the question of why they were there – the free goody bag or a glass of champagne?!
    The venue themselves also had brides visiting as they were getting married there, and they actually showed a few couples in the door so I don’t know where we would have been with numbers if the venue hadn’t done that.
    I had loads of great comments on the day, sent out some samples, got contact details and even ran a competition which we got everyone that we talked with to enter. I haven’t had one follow up unfortunately (yet – there may still be someone for 2012 to come back!) and our competition winners haven’t taken up the prize which I think is just crazy!
    I came away so disappointed, the price of the stand, the time and cost to make samples up and hand out, and the time to stand there really did add up! I just hope the lack of follow ups aren’t a reflection on my stationery…
    I’ve made the decision not to do anymore, ok I might have had a bad experience but I recently did some google adwords advertising for around the same amount as a stand and got 4 medium sized orders through it as a result.
    I would be very interested to know what a larger exhibition is like but can’t afford the £££ to exhibit there. And for me I’m just not sure whether people are ready to commit to stationery there and then!!
    Sorry if I’ve rambled on a bit – thanks to all the others for your comments it’s made interesting reading.

    Looking forward to your next Wedding Wednesday topic Kelly!

    Sophie @CardsbySophie

    Reply
    Celynnen Photography

    We LOVE wedding fairs! it’s always very exciting to us as it’s an opportunity to discuss with brides to be about their big day! And believe me when I say that we really do get as excited about the wedding as they do!

    Also, it’s a great way to show the brides to be our exclusive albums!
    It’s really hard to display the quality of the leather and of course, the wonderful textures of our leathers and silks… so the wedding fairs are really good to us in that way. About 30% of out non-refered new clients come from wedding fairs!

    Ioan of Celynnen Photography

    Reply
    Rebecca Jones - Ever After Designs

    Great discussion Kelly, something that us wedding suppliers are all interested in. I am also a little sceptical about wedding fayre’s i’m afraid. I think the bigger ones that are worthwhile doing (i.e. well organised, lots of variety, large visitor numbers) usually tend to be very expensive and personally I don’t have that kind of budget. The smaller ones I think have become a bit stale with the same exhibitors every time. I feel that there is also a lack of commitment from the visitors, it’s more of a day out just for fun.

    It’s a little frustrating for me because it’s very difficult to appreciate the quality of my cards from a small picture on the internet. I prefer for my customers to see the product in person, that is the main reason I offer a free sample for everybody.

    I would definitely be interested in an alternative approach to wedding fayre’s. I’ve heard great things about the Rainbow tent and am gutted that I was unable to get involved. I would be happy to get involved with your next project Kelly, just give me a shout! X

    Reply
    boho

    Thanks Rebecca, i will ccertainly get in contact for the next event I put on. xxx

    Reply
    Kelly Bettey

    Hiya Kelly,

    I supply chocolate fountains and balloon decorations for weddings and parties. I have done a few wedding fairs and insist on being the only chocolate fountain there, what annoys me is the people that are there for a day out! I recently did a wedding fayre at Pride Park in Derby, the stand was £200 and the day in all cost me £400. We had 170 odd brides enter but I didnt take one booking! I was absolutely gutted as the stand looked fantastic, I think I attended the show too early in the year and people were looking opposed to booking. The amount of chocolate and balloons that were wasted on the day was annoying as I had no business from it. I spend my money on yell.com which is £200 per year and I am getting lots of good business through there so i wish I had saved my money.

    I think people get fed up of seeing the same suppliers and word of mouth is always the best advertising!

    Kelly @ Crystal Charm Balloon Co & Chocolate Charm Fountains x x

    Reply
    Claire

    Fantastic blog post Kelly, and you’ve got some really useful comments here.

    I did wedding fairs when I started out; two little (local hotels), one big (posh countryside hotel) and one the size of Europe (Tatton Park).

    None worked for me, but I think it’s a combination of two things:

    1. People at fairs aren’t looking for stationery; they’re looking to book the big things.
    2. You need a big personality to do wedding fairs, and when I started out I was a bit shy, had some great conversations with brides but didn’t go out and out to sell my product.

    I wouldn’t do a wedding fair again, because I’m happy with my business the way it is, the website gets enough orders to keep me very busy.

    What I am starting to notice is that networking works an absolute treat. I think the opportunity to meet other local wedding suppliers is priceless. Wedding fairs can be useful to get to know people in your area, especially when you’re starting out.

    I think you’ve hit on something when you say that wedding fayres need to develop and be different, and I think you will come up with something fantastic along these lines.

    The way you’ve started out in business making so many contacts, learning about exhibitions and doing the Pride event is inspiring to me. I’m sure you’ll come up with your own take on wedding fairs and you’ll make them work for suppliers and for brides and grooms. I can’t wait to see what you do, but I know it will be fantastic.

    Great post.

    Claire xx

    Reply
    boho

    Thanks Claire, if I do decide to do any more, I certainly want to make them more like the pride event, add that something differnt to them, it’s all about getting them publised as well, you can’t just expect people tp turn up.
    If people think they are getting something differnt, then ti makes them want to come back.
    …………watch this space! xx

    Reply
    Leanne bowles

    Hi Kelly Lovely to chat to you the other evening! We host wedding fayres in the North West and no they are definitely not a thing of the past!!!! I work full time to ensure that every event is unique to the venue and unique to that season so both the Brides and Exhibitors do not get bored. Some companies or venues see wedding fayres as easy money, but that money is you the exhibitors hard earned cash!!! Maybe we are successful because I was an exhibitor first? I know what is needed to make the events work! We definitely exceeded all our attendance records last season and beat all the smaller venues and wedding fayre companies in our area. My advice to anyone in doubt or new to exhibiting would be to phone the organiser and ask about where it will be advertised, how it will be advertised what size adverts they will be using, how many exhibitors they intend to have and what number limit is put on each business sector. Still in doubt go along to see how well their events are run, for yourself before you book. Another great idea is to ask for references from past exhibitors!

    If you are from a certain business sector then larger events will serve you better and Kelly, you come under that umbrella, wedding planners need a larger platform to sell due to the small number that will have the budget to have a dedicated planner for their day. There are two fab large events in Cheshire, Chester Racecourse Wedding Show 20th Feb 2011 with 85 exhibitors and Tatton Park Wedding Show Jan 2011 with 150 exhibitors, try as I may I could not find any your area with the same reputation. Please if you organise events in the Yorkshire area this is not an insult but the web did not pick you up!

    I noted another comment about networking being a fab tool to get business, we agree, Weddings Wrapped Up is a dedicated wedding network group that I set up as a no profit organisation to help my exhibitors get more contacts. Our events are too busy to network at, so we had to have another opportunity to catch up and swap ideas. If any of you would like to attend we would love to meet you!!

    Take Care
    Leanne
    Flaunt Events

    Reply
    Julie

    Hi Kelly, to me personally I found going to wedding fairs can be informative by which it gives idea’s that I’ve not really thought about, having said that, as I am and plenty others are on a shoe string budget, I tend to find cheaper sources.

    When I started to plan my wedding 18 months ago, I went to 4 wedding fairs as well as attended three weddings to get as better idea as I possibly can. But due to my bussy scheduale I had to source most of my stuff to a wedding planner!!

    Again great post.

    Reply
    Dolores Tipton, Soiree Events

    Just happened upon your blog and love it! This discussion was very helpful to me since I am trying to decide about doing shows this season. I’m a planner and have been in business 1 year. I’ve done several small shows and one big show. The only benefit out of the small shows was networking with other vendors. I did get 2 really nice bookings from the big show but the cost of the show and decorating the booth and marketing material was so expensive I barely covered expenses. It is encouraging to hear that personal recommendations and networking work for so many people because that and the internet is where I have just about decided to put most of my money and effort for the time being.

    Thanks everyone for the very helpful comments!

    Dolores

    Reply
    Cindy

    I embarked on organising wedding fayres after having exhibited at a couple of quite frankly poorly organised ones where I didn’t even know which room to go in where to place my things and I even had to chase staff for a table cloth!

    My previous work experience was such that organising wedding fayres actually comes quite naturally to me and the first hand experience of exhibiting myself gave me great insight into what was required.

    I have to admit that since I began organising wedding fayres in June 2009, there has been quite an increase in the amount of wedding fayres in the region with new organisers popping up all over the place. There are some organisers that keep the same exhibitors which is frustrating to those suppliers wishing to exhibit and there are those that fill venues out with an abundence of photographers and not alot else.

    My aim was to ensure that even if the wedding fayre is relatively small that the variety in exhibitors is as wide as possible. Keeping a limit on the exhibitors within each category and ensuring that even if you have duplicated exhibitors that they are not all huddled together helps both visitors and exhibitors to feel that things are not repetitive.

    At I Do Wedding Fayres we use every marketing technique we can think of and are constantly updating this as we learn new things from each of our wedding fayres. I totally appreciate where exhibitors are coming from when they talk about the expense of stands and therefore keep stand prices down. However exhibitors must appreciate that the money they pay for their stands has to be spent on marketing, general admin costs, freebies we offer out in goodie bags and bubbly on the door and of course it is nice to pay ourselves a little something for all the work and effort we put into organising these events – the more funds we can get in than the bigger and better the advertising will be!

    Having previously worked in Customer Services, I put a great deal of effort into ensuring that when exhibitors book with us that they receive a high level of customer service which includes constant communication and providing exhibitors with as much information as possible about the event – and basically working my socks off to ensure that the wedding fayre gets a good amount of visitors through the door.

    Another point to remember is that this is targeted promotion that in any other form of advertising will cost much much more than the cost of a stand at a wedding fayre. As it is weddings, we must also appreciate that it is not the norm to get ‘bookings’ on the day and you may not get a response from brides until several months after the event – although I will point out that several of my exhibitors have been successful in achieving bookings on the day of the wedding fayre with a photographer getting 9 bookings at our most recent event.

    I do find that many exhibitors place too much emphasis on numbers of visitors through the door rather than the quality of those visitors – as one of my exhibitors quoted to me that he exhibited at a wedding fayre one week with only 12 couples and achieved 7 bookings, the following week he exhibited at a fayre with over 700 visitors but achieved 7 bookings! A comment I also received from a bridalwear company at my latest fayre was that as it was a smaller event than the big shows such as Tatton or GMex, the atmosphere was much nicer and she felt that she was actually able to talk to many more brides and actually got more out of the event. In addition as she pointed out that it was a pleasure to be the only bridalwear company at the wedding fayre and had found that in the past brides were often confused as which dress came from which store due to organisers allowing more than one bridal company to do the catwalk shows.

    Yes many brides-to-be will attend wedding fayres simply to get ideas for their wedding as they have only recently engaged and looking to get married maybe two years from now – but if your advertising isn’t quite getting the results through other methods – a wedding fayre is by far the best way to get up close and personal to your prospective customers. They can talk to you face-to-face and they have an opportunity to see your products and services, touch, feel, taste (all of which they cannot do via the internet or from a magazine) – word of mouth and face-to-face selling is always the best way of promoting your business.

    Finally exhibitors must remember to take responsibility for the amount of sales they achieve when at wedding fayres and not always blame event organisers for a poor response from visitors. I myself exhibit my jewellery collection at my wedding fayres and even with plenty of visitors through the door, I do sometimes struggle with sales. I talk to everyone and have a bubbly nature, everyone loves my jewellery and they love my wedding stationery – I have them in my hands, but when it comes to the crunch it is actually down to my lack of pushing that sale through to the end and I cannot place blame on anyone else for that.

    Reply
    Chair Covers

    We still go to wedding fairs, I think its like a networking event but the end user. I always recommend wedding fairs to poeple as they can get an insight of what is hot in the wedding world.

    Reply

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