Over the last few years the number of wedding fairs I’ve been attending has dropped significantly. In 2014 I counted that I attended 18 wedding fairs, and that was about the number I’d do each year. However, in 2016 I only attended a handful of wedding fairs, and this year have yet to attend a single one.
- Filtering locationI attended my first wedding fair in 2006. Back then it wasn’t exactly a novelty, but there weren’t so many of them. Nowadays it isn’t uncommon for two venues within a mile of each other to hold a wedding each on the same day. Spread that timespan to a couple of weeks and there can be almost a dozen wedding fairs within a fairly narrow radius. You end up getting the same brides meeting the same suppliers!
Therefore I’m being more selective, and not double (or tripling) up with booking wedding fairs in the same geographic location within tight time periods.
- Filter wedding fair organisersWedding fairs are organised by different people. The main organisers are the venues themselves, and companies specialising in holding wedding fairs. This second category can be sub-divided into those that hire the venue independently, and those that are hired by the venue to organise on their behalf.
I prefer to attend the fairs which are organised by venues (or by a company on behalf of the venue). This is because the venue are looking to showcase themselves to prospective clients and therefore want to show themselves off in the best light. This means they also only want to be associated with quality suppliers they would be happy to recommend as they worked at that venue numerous times.
Unfortunately an independent company who is hiring the venue can be more concerned with selling stands to as many suppliers as possible (within reason!) and therefore those exhibiting aren’t subject to the same quality control.
- CostIt can be quite expensive exhibiting at wedding fairs; and as their popularity has increased over years, so has the cost of exhibiting at them. However, the way wedding suppliers can market themselves has also evolved over the last ten years. Google has grown in popularity, and social media barely existed when I first turned professional.
Using these avenues to get bookings can cost money – and that comes from a marketing budget.
- Other BookingsWedding fairs are normally held on a Sunday in the spring and autumn months. Although this can be convenient for suppliers who focus primarily on weddings, as a professional magician I get booked for corporate events and all sorts of private parties and functions. Many of these happen on a Sunday.
I can’t turn down the opportunity of someone wanting to pay me to entertain, so that I can pay someone else for the pleasure of promoting myself in the hope that someone would like to book me!
- TimeAlso, wedding fairs take out the whole day. I need to leave the house at about 9am so I can arrive and set up. I then spend 5 hours doing tricks and talking to brides, before packing it all up and going home. By the time I’m back home with a cup of tea it’s gone 5pm. That’s like doing a proper job! 😉
- RecommendationsBecause I’m quite good (no, honest, I am) many of my booking now come from people who have seen me elsewhere. Sometimes they are guests at a wedding and recommend me to their boss for their staff Christmas party. Sometimes they saw me at birthday event and want me for their own wedding. Sometimes a colleague is arranging an event and they suggest me to them.
Regardless, giving a spectator a business card is a lot cheaper and takes a lot less time than going to a wedding fair. I admit it, I’m lazy; and if my clients and their guests are going to advertise me on my behalf then great – it can only demonstrate they like what I do.
The reason(s) for attending this one are because Ufton Court is a great venue. Not only do I work there regularly – it’s the venue I chose to get married at myself back in 2013. Trust me, I work at A LOT of venues, and so a venue has to be good to be selected for my wedding.
It’s also quite local to me, so once I’ve packed up there it won’t be too long until I get home for a cup of tea afterwards. Bonus!
Oh, and not only that, I’ll be doing an exclusive special offer on the day too!
If you’re engaged make sure you pop along. Even if you have a venue booked for your wedding there will still be plenty of other suppliers there to give you ideas.