If you follow me on Instagram then you would have been spammed in May by my One Fine Day (OFD) Wedding Fair experience. For other celebrants considering doing a wedding fair, this is what I learnt.
1. Lead up
The lead up to the OFD Wedding Fair at the Royal Exhibition Building on 25-26 May, was long. It allowed plenty of time to prepare, envisage my booth, get organised, etc. Did I do that, no. Instead I went on a holiday to New York and came back with two weeks to get myself together. In hindsight I would have used that time more wisely.
However during the months of lead up the incredible One Fine Collective (OFC) team were on top of everything. Documentation was easily accessible through their portal, everything you could need instruction-wise was there, plus you had a selection of beautiful assets for social media promotion to choose from. Whenever I had a query I never waited more than a day for a response and the warmth within their emails was matched in person when I met the OFC team at the Fair.
Tip: Read through everything. Twice. It's better to know all the details of height restrictions, bump-in and bump-out, parking options and more before arriving on the day.
2. Sum up
Wedding fairs are pricey! Not just OFD (worth it) but all of them. It's not just the cost of your floorspace, your booth and hiring furniture, but your time too. Often fairs are held on weekends when we all, celebrants and vendors alike, could be at a wedding and that's part of the equation.
Tip(s): Make a plan on how much you are willing to invest and what your desired return on investment is. Start setting some money aside so that it doesn't hit you all at once. Oh, and keep your receipts - your accountant will love you for it.
3. Set up
You know how I just said I should have used that that time wisely, well that included having the foresight to book annual leave. You see these events need an additional day to set up (sometimes) and if you're a full-time worker and side-hustling celebrant like me, then plan your annual leave in advance rather than asking last minute for the Friday off.
Before the set up day, check the bump-in time so you can plan your morning around it. For example, I knew my bump-in was from 12pm. That meant I could spend the morning packing the car and visiting various florists to find the flowers I wanted for the booth so they would remain fresh for three days. And I had time to get a coffee, an obvious essential.
Then go in there with a plan. You may want simple elegance and understated perfection. In a way it might be easier. Or you may walk in like me and wing it knowing you are about to do a floral installation with no prior experience and make your life more complicated than it needs to be. Even so, I knew in my mind what I wanted it to look like and I'm grateful it worked out.
Tip(s): Make your stall clear in terms of what your business is. Don't rush set up if you have the time and while you're there get to know your neighbour (they may watch your stall when you need a bathroom break or second coffee).
4. Show up
When you wake up on fair day remind yourself that you've got this. A little positive self affirmation never goes astray. Grab your morning fuel on the way there (mine is in the form of a soy mocha) and go in there knowing your stuff so you can make a lasting impression.
One thing I was happy with was how I spoke about my brand and how I get to know my clients to conduct a kick-ass, personalised ceremony. For many other vendors there, they're selling tangible and visual products but as celebrants we are the product.
Tip: Bring your A-Game (and snacks) and know your business. Don't just own it, but OWN IT!
5. Buddy up
This isn't just an opportunity for the flocks of excited women (I don't mean to stereotype... it was my observation) to meet vendors for their big day, it's an opportunity for you to meet the amazing vendors you may cross paths with along the way.
Luckily for me I was near some very awesome and talented people. A couple I've worked with in the past and some new faces. These included:
GiftWell by Marta: A revolutionary way to have a wishing well for all occasions giftwell.com.au
Brothers In Harmony: Brendan and Michael could sing to me all day long! These guys are very talented and they'll have you singing along from the ceremony to late into the night. www.brothersinharmony.com.au
Little Stag Floral Coutour: If you're wanting creative floral styling that'll give your guests the wow-factor, then contact Juliet. littlestag.com.au
Next To You Films: Not only do they create visual masterpieces but you'll be working with such a bubbly delight - Alanna. www.nexttoyoufilms.com
You may even work right beside your peers too. I was stoked to be at the fair with:
Sam - The Bearded Celebrant | This guy oozes rad hipster vibes. Cheeky, playful and a killer celebrant.
Ben the Celebrant | He may be the new kid on the block but Ben is creating the memorable moments left, right and centre. Look out Melbourne!
Mine Forever, Melissa Fahey | You'll instantly feel at home with this positively warm and radiant lady. A ceremony you'll be talking about for years.
Amazing celebrants, amazing humans! Check them out.
Tip: Take the time to hear about their product/service and swap details so when a couple asks you for a recommendation you can say, "Oh! [name] is amazing, they were at OFD with me. You should definitely check them out for your wedding. Here are their details".
6. Follow up
Lastly and most importantly, follow up your leads. Everyone I met that gave their details probably spoke with 50 other businesses the day of the fair and were overwhelmed with information. The best advice that was given to me was to follow them up a couple days after the fair with further information.
Thankfully lead collection was made easy with the OFD lead app which scanned the QR code on attendee's tickets. I easily exported this list of emails into my email marketing platform so I could share more about my services days later.
Tip: People can be shy and not necessarily come up to you wanting more information. Don't worry about the slow burn clients. Them taking a card or flyer might prompt them later to look you up and maybe even drop you a line.
One Fine Day was an amazing opportunity to get my brand out there and meet clients in a new way. I'm not going to sugar coat it and say it was easy, but it was worth the effort and sore feet. My booth was made possible by:
Place Settings for having a white screen available with only two weeks notice and delivering seamlessly. ww.placesettings.com.au
Babylon Flowers for helping me order caged flower oasis and having some stunning florals to choose from. www.babylonflowers.com.au
Helen Bye Flowers for her wonderful advice on floral installations and dreamy array of flowers. This is where I got my gum leaves. Helen's Instagram
Vistaprint for delivering my fresh and swanky business cards and flyers in time.
Kmart, well that's where my furniture is from already so it went from my house to the booth.
ONE FINE COLLECTIVE:
Travelling around Australia and beyond, this talented and tireless team of women coordinate some incredible fairs that attract great crowds and fantastic vendors. I'm thankful to have been part of the day and look forward to more fairs with them in the future.