Getting married is one of the top five most stressful events in life, after bereavement and divorce. But for those who choose to tie the knot, simple is not an option. Couples are increasingly on the look-out for new inspiration to create their own memorable and unique day and to celebrate the event in style.
Top of the wedding planner list is which venue to choose for the ceremony and the reception that follows. Once upon a time couples would attend a religious venue to be married by a vicar or minister and then move on to another location nearby for the celebrations. But as non-religious civil ceremonies have become more popular so too have widely diverse venues where the service and festivities can take place all under one roof. The choice, it seems, is not exhaustive. If your venue has plenty of room, is open regularly to the public and can provide car parking for visitors, then a license for civil marriages and partnerships can be obtained.
The UK Wedding Report 2018 lists an interesting and varied choice of wedding venues awarded wedding licenses:
- Stately homes
- Converted railways
- Public houses
- Pier buildings
- Animal Parks
- Sporting venues & stadiums
- Town Halls
- Places of Worship
- Golf Clubs
- Cruisers & yachts
- Warehouses & factories
- Museums & attractions
Which one applies to you? Have you considered using your business as a venue for weddings? If you have already obtained a license, why not host your own wedding fair to create awareness and increase your ROI? There are many benefits in doing so.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS IN HOSTING A WEDDING FAIR AT YOUR VENUE?
- They create a general awareness of your wedding venue and increase business potential.
- They provide a viewing opportunity for potential clients. Visitors will be able to peruse your facilities at different times of the year, decked up in various themes.
- You are able to connect with fellow suppliers, creating networking opportunities to offer ‘packages’ to the attendees. Not only can existing business relationships be enhanced but new ones will be developed.
- Group viewings are more cost effective in terms of staff showing people around and assisting initial enquiries.
- A wedding fair promotes a stress-free environment for couples to meet up with a variety of suppliers in one hit and draw on their expertise.
- The customer will be able to clearly see the potential of your business as a wedding venue and not as a hotel, attraction etc.
If you’re convinced that a wedding fair is the way forward for your business but aren’t sure how to get started with the planning process, then read on.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Decide on a date for your fair. Sundays are good as this gives vendors opportunity to attend without losing precious ‘commercial time.’ It’s also a good idea to check there are no other wedding fairs locally on the date chosen.
Identify your ideal customer. This will depend on the nature of your venue as to whether it is modern and quirky appealing to younger couples or traditional and historic which are generally the option of older couples. A motto to remember in all your fair preparations, as suggested by Eventbrite is “cater for the audience you expect.’ You can’t go far wrong when focused in this way.
Calculate the ticket price based on numbers expected to attend, how many vendors will be on hand and whether food and drink is to be included on the ticket.
Set up a website specially dedicated to the fair giving details of location, ticket price and who will be attending. Include an online registration form and facility to easily purchase tickets.
With your customer in mind choose local wedding suppliers, no more than 3 from each sector, to give them a feeling of exclusivity for those attending. But who should you invite to the Wedding Fair? Make sure you select the essential players:
- Bridal Salons
- Bride Boutiques
- Travel Agencies
- Musicians &
An eclectic mix of exciting and interesting stalls is what will draw in the punters, so make sure you invite a good variety of regular and unique suppliers, something for every taste. Couples like to include a quirky or original feature in their special day and there are some interesting options available to fit the bill. For example, an inflatable assault course, a magician or even live animals! Don’t dismiss anything that could be a little novel and interesting as this may be exactly what is needed to lure in the visitors.
CONNECT WITH YOUR VENDORS
Email or personally visit the selected vendors, (if possible), with their special invitation detailing the date, time, location and costings. Encourage them to purchase a booth space suited to their budget, with incentives to commit such as reductions on the cost if they put up raffle prizes or are willing to demo their products or services. Give detailed costings showing clearly what is included and what isn’t. For example, electricity, WiFi or table covers? Provide a list of all the legal documentation needed for exhibitors to attend, including insurance.
Once your vendors are signed up, work with them during the lead up to the fair to help create an original and eye-catching booth to draw people in. Be on hand for practise runs of catwalk or product displays, ensuring continuity of the show’s theme. An attractive and welcoming environment that will help the visitors to ‘get in the mood’ is developed when all exhibitors work together with common ground. And if the customers are happy and relaxed, they are far more likely to commit and purchase.
ADD A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA
A little incentive goes a long way to persuade individuals to attend so offer something to make them curious. Maybe include educational seminars or workshops so the brides and grooms ‘to be’ can be hands on and truly experience the products or services on offer. Suggestions might be to inform them about the different themes of a wedding, colour schemes or how to set up a wedding list online. Or the chaps can be given insight into how to give an interesting speech. A fashion catwalk is always a crowd pleaser and gives the ladies an idea how the gowns look on. There could be a craft room where visitors can have a go at making their own wedding invites and place settings or afternoon tea can be enjoyed in a quiet corner to sample the cakes.
HOW CAN YOU PROMOTE YOUR WEDDING FAIR?
Facebook is where brides and grooms connect with friends to ascertain the best wedding suppliers, so this is an effective way to announce and advertise your wedding fair and all it’s details. Make sure you clearly state the location, date and time of your event and add hashtags with the exhibitors.
You can showcase your venue using images on Instagram and Pinterest which is where potential customers tend to go for wedding ideas. Put together an array of well chosen photographs of your venue as a location to get married, highlighting the key factors that motivate couples to choose a certain place; the environment and special features; friendly staff, facilities and natural beauty of the site.
Twitter is referred to for research on specific suppliers so again hashtags linking your venue to other wedding businesses will ensure you get noticed.
Approximately six weeks before the event send out a press release to local newspapers and area guides announcing your wedding fair and details. Also include how many are expected to attend, which exhibitors will be present and any special features such as prizes, displays and giveaways.
Follow up with a less detailed release serving as a reminder about 2 weeks before.
You can advertise the fair in bridal magazines and local newspapers, on council websites and leading wedding blogs.
Invite couples who have already booked your venue for their wedding by special invitation. Not only will this give them a sense of VIP treatment but their presence at the fair may motivate others to sign up if they perceive competition by other couples for the venue.
FOLLOW UP AFTER THE EVENT
- Give all attendees the opportunity to receive your next newsletter or details of any special offers.
- Agree to promote any offers from suppliers that may be of interest to visitors throughout the year.
A tip from Bridebook App:
“Respond to couple enquiries on the same day as couples will judge your response speed as an indication of your attentiveness to their wedding and will view quick responses more favourably.”
Some useful statistics
- Nat average wedding spend 2017 £17,913 (ex honeymoon)
- Average amount spent at venue
- Of those interviewed 40% had
attended a wedding fair at their chosen venue
- Over half of respondents (60%) are
choosing to have their wedding ceremony at their wedding reception venue
- The most popular venues are
Country/Manor houses (28%) & Barns (16%)
(Soure: UK WEDDING REPORT 2018)
Roller Banners UK are happy to assist with all your wedding fair design and printing.