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Are Big Wedding Shows Fun?
P. Millen Feb 11,2019

Is a big Wedding Show fun?

Hmmm…. This is a tough one to answer. There is sooooo much to do. The staff turn up happy (hopefully) ready to greet all the potential customers on the day with a fully made up stand for them to stand in front of, but what goes on behind all this? I will go through the basic process of our recent Wedding Show at Tatton Park.

Well firstly before it even starts, you must pay for it well in advance and though it’s not a gamble it is certainly a calculated risk and a big outlay of cash. A company should not do these bigger shows without thinking it through. This cost then doesn’t stop! Its great you have a space which is paid for by the metre but now it’s time to fill it as well as looking professional. This is where the real work begins. The first year I did it I arrived with 4 letters spelling LOVE and 4 crates to sit them on. I look back now and cringe haha

In your Shell you have 5 panels to fill behind you. You must come up with a marketing plan of what needs to be pushed and basically go for it. Explain to a designer what you want and get it printed. The prices for this vary at a ridiculous rate from 75 pounds per panel to 300 pounds so please compare prices at this point. Leaving them looks awful though and puts your potential customer right off. A counter would be great to work from so that adds to the cost especially when branding it with The Added Extra logo and website. At this point we are over 2000 pounds and then you realise we have no carpet, signage or electric at this point!!!

You speak to the company who are making your shell unit spending a further few hundred pounds in carpeting which may as well be in your company colours at this point so that adds to the cost, and paying for the hire of 1 plug which always seems harsh. Exhibitors moan but this would be a lot of work for the organisers and to be fair they have never let us down, so I accept this. We then have our own designer in Hannah to touch up and do the frilly bits to make it welcoming but she needs controlling as she loves an endless budget.

THEN…

We need to fill it with something. So, after endless meetings of what to push and why and then changing it all again and then again when you realise you have just covered all the marketing posters you paid to get printed you are ready, or nearly.

The items need to be checked and bubble wrapped as not to bash them when walking across a muddy field in the dark the Friday night before. Staffing arrangements must be made to ensure all the above can happen never mind the actual days when convincing staff that working all weekend is good for their future. So now you would think we are ready….NO!

There’s all the marketing to do. We need to make sure we are in the brochure and on the Archant website ensuring the current write up makes sense. You have to push the actual Wedding Shows on your own various social media while updating your own website keeping it current. While all this is going on, I’m still controlling the spending or trying to and doing my actual job, while staff throw in ideas like “we should maybe have sweets on the counter?” The leaflets should be designed and ready while making sure there is enough.

It does seem to be endless prep and every year when I set off, I realise I bloody need petrol just to add that bit more expense. A staff member will then ask despite all the worry “how much can I spend on my lunch?” I agree I should feed the staff, even treat them but be warned that big shows result in big food prices…a bottle of Coke this year was nearly 3 pounds and no not a litre!

So back to the original question, is it fun?

Oddly I would say yes, but not in a cheesy way like “yes it’s great to meet new people” or “We love meeting Brides”…of coarse we do, but that is the job.

I actually take great joy in completing all the above and seeing the end result. The staff enjoying the experience and even learning from it for future shows. The fact that the items I offer people enjoy especially when I’ve been part of the design and making of them. Granted some people say it’s not for them, but this is fine. If everyone wanted the same, then no wedding would be unique. The shows are simply to show future couples what they can do for their wedding day.

After all this, the staff enjoy a show with a difference, I do get to network with fellow suppliers and my company is part of a fabulous weekend organised by Archant. Thankfully all the money spent does come back to me, so what seems huge amounts is good investment and keeps the company strong. It is also important that customers see you and know you exist and not going to go bust anytime soon. 

And so....the whole process is repeated again. You come away thinking what can be improved and think "I'll do that next year". I must also say i love my staff, they work so hard and i appreciate all they do for me. Like every supplier in Tatton Park that weekend, each lift there game year on year, surely this benefits us the companies but more importantly the wedding couples.

See you Tatton next year :)