How to Get the Most out of Wedding Fairs – My Top 10 Tips

Well Summer is well and truly over, which can only mean one thing –  it’s ‘that’ time of year.  It’s wedding fair season *excited smile*! If you’ve meandered through the pages of this blog before, then at some point you will have come across a write-up about a wedding fair. From the designer, no-expense-spared to the smaller, quirkier fairs, I’ve tried them all. So how do you get the most out of a wedding fair? Here are my top 10 tips:

Tickle my fancy at The Designer Wedding Show.
1) What are you expecting from your visit?

Ask yourself exactly why you are going. Are you just going for a day out? Do you just want a browse around to see what’s on offer? Or are you determined to get some of your wedding list items ordered and deposits paid? Browsing is fine and a lot of fun, but if you’re going to a fair with specific items in mind then you’ll need to follow tip number 2.

2) List it out.

Make a list of all the items that you need and questions you want to ask each exhibitor (see tip number 4). Then stick to only accomplishing the tasks on your list. BE BRUTAL! Fairs are stuffed full of pretty and it’s really easy to get sidetracked. If you think you’ll be tempted to have a nosey around then go early and only allow yourself browsing time when your list is complete.

3) Hit the internet.

Check out each business you are interested in via the internet. You may very well find that they are not really to your taste before you even leave the comfort of your sofa.

4) Make a questionnaire.

Take a few sheets of pre-prepared questions with you. Really think about what you want / need from your photographer / venue / etc. Ask each exhibitor in the same category the identical questions and write down their answers. This really is the only way you can compare like-for-like.

5) Plan it out.

Try to get your hands on a floor plan a few days before you go, then sit with a list of exhibitors you’re interested in and mark off where they are. You may well find that there’s a whole area within the fair that you have no interest in seeing, saving you time and foot ache.

Jewelery at The Designer Wedding Show.

6) Do your research.

Each and every fair has something to offer but not all will be to everyone’s taste. If you’re short of time then you need to ensure that you don’t end up wasting it.

7) Think long and hard about who you take with you.

I’m a huge advocate of groom involvement, and I have strong feelings about how they are sometimes treated by certain sectors of the wedding industry. However, if your fiancé is just not interested then maybe, unless you are going to be making bookings, etc, it might be an idea to take a bridesmaid / friend – especially if you are just going for a browse.

8) Split it up.

If you are attending as a couple then are you able to ‘divide and conquer’? For instance: one of you may be passionate about the invites whilst the other may just ‘have’ to book the perfect transportation. If this is the case, then it would make sense for you to split these two categories and hit them alone. You can always make a shortlist then meet up to see each others whittled down list.

9) Don’t rush in.

There are many great ‘act now and save money’ offers at wedding fairs, but make sure that you are not just booking because you fear you will miss out. You should never book or pay a deposit if you feel rushed or pressured in any way. If you are positive you want to sign on the dotted line read the contract, then read it again – don’t skim the small print!

10) Feel you way.

Wedding fairs are a great way to get the ‘feel’ of the people that will be involved in your big day. How do you think you’ll get on with them? Would you feel comfortable spending a chunk of your day with a particular photographer? Does the person representing a venue really seem to care? If it doesn’t feel right then go with your gut and walk away.

So there you go, I hope you’ve learned how to get the most out of wedding fairs without tearing your hair out! If you have any more to add then hit the comment section.

Caricature of Michelle Lyndon-Dykes

 

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The Number One Mistake Wedding Suppliers Make At Wedding Shows

As a wedding industry supplier, a bride-to-be and a wedding blogger I have seen, or been involved in, over 100 wedding fairs. Some of these fairs charge under £100 for a stand, some charge £1000’s. In this new series of Wedding Fair Dos & Don’ts I’ll be exploring how to get the best out of wedding fairs and sharing some top tips on working your stand.

The number one mistake wedding suppliers make at wedding shows.

You’ve forked out your cash for a stand, you’ve got the design spot on and you know how to approach potential clients. You then work your butt off all day, you talk to many, many grooms and brides-to-be and you take contact details. You end the day with sore feet, your voice has almost disappeared – let’s face it, you’re probably knackered. You get home, stick the kettle on, put your feet up and reflect on how well the day as gone. But before you pat yourself on the back beware; in the days that follow a lot of you are going to make the biggest mistake a wedding supplier can make – YOU DON’T FOLLOW UP!

StickyA couple that meets you at a wedding fair and hands over their contact details are like gold – they have actively left you permission to get in touch. If you don’t follow up they may as well have left a door open with a a welcome mat on the step just for you to walk past it. You may think that the same door will be open in the future, and you’re right – but I can almost guarantee that you won’t receive a warm welcome. Most of those hard-earned, pre-qualified leads will have forgotten who you are.

  • A whopping 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • Event-triggered marketing could save 80% of your direct mail budget. (Source: Gartner Research)
  • Leads that are nurtured make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)
  • Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. (Source: InsideSales.com)
  • Businesses that are good at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Source: Forrester Research)

Statistics say that you need to follow up and you need to get it right.

Try to keep in mind that most couples will be inundated with emails from prospective wedding suppliers; you need to stand out from the crowd.

  • It doesn’t matter whether you follow up by email, phone or snail mail, you must reference the wedding fair where you met your prospective customers.
  • If you are given contact details for both the bride and the groom then contact them both – don’t just contact the bride. More and more grooms are getting interested in wedding planning and want to be actively involved. If you ignore the groom you’re already off to a bad start.
  • Don’t contact prospective customers at inappropriate times of the day. Email and snail mail is fine, but if you have a telephone number think about when you ring. First thing in the morning will find most of your customers getting ready for work, late evening will find them settling for bed.
  • If budget permits, and you have a list of addresses then send a postcard – we are getting less and less personal mail through our letterboxes so a hand-written postcard could come as a welcome change from a string of emails. If you do decide to go down this route make sure that your postcard relates well to your stand. You want recipients to instantly remember who you are; maybe take a photograph of your stand and incorporate the image onto your postcards.

post cards like this can help you avoid the number one mistake wedding suppliers make at wedding shows

  • Be organised. Think about how your are going to take, and keep your potential clients details – scraps of paper just aren’t going to cut it! When it comes time to follow-up (which is asap) you’ll need an easy to use, highly intuitive filing system. This is not the time for overcomplicated, triple indexed systems which will have you scratching your head and gnashing your teeth with frustration :)

I do hope that you’ve found these tips useful. Keep tuned because I’ll be sharing more Wedding Fair Do’s And Don’t’s.

Michelle Lyndon-Dykes

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A Chance To Win Your Dream Transport For Your Big Day

Are you dreaming of a Beauford for your big day? Or is the classic elegance of a Rolls Royce calling? Whatever your dream car, Cherished Vehicle Insurance are offering you the chance to turn up in style.

A win you wedding car poster
I think we all have our own ideas when it comes to perfect wedding transportation, for me it had to be a Bentley – I think they’re simply timeless. Do you have a favourite? I’d love to know so hit the comment section below.

What are you waiting for? Get on over to their competition, let them know what your favourite vehicle is and you may just be rolling up to your venue in it!

Good luck!

Michelle Lyndon-Dykes

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