Wedding fairs are big business for suppliers and wedding couples alike. Lately we have found ourselves doing more wedding fairs, some great, some not so much! Music is not always the top priority for people at wedding fairs, but it is still a great way for bands to get out and meet potential customers, and for couples to find some music options they may not have found otherwise. Below are our 5 tips for making the most out of wedding fairs for suppliers and potential wedding couples alike.
Fairs in dedicated wedding venues seem to be more successful
Unlike one off wedding fairs in hotels and business centres, wedding venues that put on their own fair have secured customers in attendance, meaning people are serious about booking. These customers are often visioning how a supplier will look in their venue, which is beneficial for both supplier and customer.
For suppliers, half your work is done for you! The clientele around are most likely further down the road in their planning, and are serious about making some bookings. You have the added benefit of them being able to see how you look in their venue. Make a good impression and your really on to a winner. A great looking stall set up in the wedding venue they fell in love with is a lot more likely to win them over than a website or other ways of advertising. They are also a lot more likely to trust you, as you have been invited to the fair by the venue they have chosen, often referred to as a preferred supplier.
There could be good reason why customers should trust suppliers at dedicated wedding venues. This is because wedding venues only use companies who have supplied at their weddings before. They also charge suppliers money to be there. These two things combined mean you know the suppliers at these venues are serious. When we performed at Southend Barns Wedding fair, we were only invited in because we had performed at a wedding the previous year, and were trusted by the venue. This takes a lot of risk out for customers, as they can book knowing these suppliers are familiar with these venues, and have done a good job there before.
Customers – know what you want so you don’t end up signing up to lots of mailing lists, wasting time and ending up getting hard sold something you don’t want. Making a list of things you are looking for before you get there will help you get to the stalls that are relevant to you, and not stuck for 30 minutes trying to get away from a hard selling supplier, or booking a magician that you never wanted! Usually the venue has a list of the preferred suppliers that will be at their wedding fair. You could always get hold of this list and check out the suppliers that will be there, and have a nosey at their website.
As far as being a supplier is concerned, this is vital. On one of our first fairs we were held up in traffic, which still gave us plenty of time to set up. However it did not allow for the fact our computer crashed every-time we tried to set up our power-point! Thankfully we managed to get ourselves sorted just as the first customer walked through the door, but it was a close call. I remember thinking at the time that the more experienced suppliers there were very prepared in the set up, and were ready to approach the first customer through the door. It was a good lesson learned and one we have stuck to ever since.
Don't be shy
This was a huge hurdle for us at first. Customers are quite often unsure how to approach stalls, and if a supplier isn’t confident, it can all become a bit awkward.
Suppliers need to find a nice balance between confident selling and not being too overbearing. The wedding dress supplier at Three Choirs Vineyards in Southampton told me she doesn’t let anyone pass her stall without saying hello and chatting to them. She was the perfect balance of friendly, but forward enough to break the ice. We found it useful to chat to other stall owners when we first got to the venue as a warm up for chatting to strangers, it was also a great way of networking with other suppliers!
Customers shouldn’t only talk to suppliers at these events. Often other wedding couples will be looking at the same companies as you. Chat to them and you may find out some great deals they have found, and hopefully meet some lovely new people. These events are usually a lot of fun, so make sure to chat to as many people as possible.
Take Lots of Photographs
This is a great way for customers to remember what they liked, and how certain suppliers looks will work within their wedding theme. It is also an ideal way to show friends and family who cannot make the fair what you saw, and get some feedback. Some suppliers don’t like their photographs being taken. I remember a cake supplier at Botley Park Hotel that asked people not to take photographs, presumably to protect their designs. Most suppliers are happy to have videos and photographs taken though. If you’re not sure, just ask; all the suppliers are very friendly and will let you know if photos are allowed.
Suppliers, this is a great way to build content. Don’t only take photographs of your own stall, but also get some snaps with some other suppliers. We teamed up with Colin at Botley Park Hotel to take this fun video of Colin performing a magic trick to Tom. Be creative and use it as an excuse to network with other suppliers. Remember a lot of these customers are going to check out your social media profile after seeing you at the fair, so make sure it’s looking healthy with lots of good quality snaps!
Hopefully these tips will help you navigate wedding fairs more successfully whether you are a supplier or a wedding couple. If you have any tips of your own please leave a comment, we would love to hear more about your own experiences!