Before I beging, you can find me next at:
Ingliston Country Club on 19th October
Fifteen Ninety Nine in Glasgow on 2nd November
So, as I was sitting in the Corinthian Club in Glasgow on a sunny Sunday afternoon I took to contemplating wedding fayres. These fayres multiply and breed all across the country throughout the year and draw different suppliers to them to show their wares to any unwary brides who step through the doors.
We suppliers sit perched at our stalls waiting for that moment of eye contact or that pause in their stride that give us the opportunity to pounce and give our spiel, force a card or a leaflet on them and hope they retain some memory of us when the decision time comes. The canny suppliers will extract an e-mail address or even close the sale there and then if they can.
There are big shows every year at the SECC, Hampden, various race courses (all prohibitively expensive for all but the big suppliers) and then smaller shows at hotels and other wedding venues. Some offer a wide selection of different suppliers, some a very narrow one (band showcases).
We wedding suppliers have a range of ways to approach you brides:
1 - Print magazines, which can be hit and miss as the advert is one amongst many and is easily flicked past. Tied to adverts in bridal magazines are the occasional feature articles, which only usually happen if you have advertised.
2- Wedding Fayres, which allow us a little face time with prospective clients, but once again can be hit or miss, depending on the footfall, the number of competing suppliers at the show and whether the brides coming through the door are looking for your particular service.
3- Word of mouth, probably the strongest leads any of us get will always be from previous customers that we've left happy in our wake. The broader your client base the more chance that this word of mouth will spread. Everybody at every wedding is a potential promoter of your work, not just the bride and groom. So you kind of need to stand out and be counted if you can.
4 - Leafletting, which is a shot into the abyss as though you can target a geographic area most leaflets go straight in the recycling and not all the readers in your chosen area are in your target market. Leaflets within a targetted magazine will still suffer the recycle/shredder fate.
5- Facebook ads, with FB becoming increasingly commercial the need to boost your posts to get them seen increases. Some targetting of your adverts can be done and if you choose your categories and keywords carefully you might find a susceptible clicker.
6 - Website, essentially a passive tool as it will crop up if the bride searches the way you think they will. It can give you something to reference to though if someone wants to see more of your work.
There are others of course, but one should never blog excessively according to all the blogging guides!
So I kind of like Fayres because I'm a great believer in getting face to face time with couples. They need to see if they can get on ok with their photographer as they'll be stuck with them throughout the wedding day, they need to see that the photographer has some social skills for dealing with family and guests and they need to see a certain professionalism in amongst all that approachability. At the same time though, if nobody turns up to the fayre in question, it's time that could have been spent more productively elsewhere.
From my experience if the groom is in attendance it is somewhat under duress so a little extra charm is sometimes needed to interest them in the proceedings. When mother and daughter are along it's often the mother that is left to negotiate the nitty gritty and will ask the difficult questions. When bride and bridesmaid arrive together the bridesmaid sometimes acts as guardian and other time as enthusiastic cheerleader for the suppliers they like.
I'm still dithering about Fayres to be honest. I've had some that went well and quite a few that have looked like ghost towns with the suppliers swapping cake recipes to pass the time. I want to make sure I give my brides the best price I can and the bottom line is that frittering money on things that do not attract new business is just extra expense that must be accounted for somehow.
My wife insisted on this last picture, we were all outglamoured by the ladies promoting Virgin holidays for honeymoon getawars!