Monday, 24 October 2011

Planning a wedding?

Whether you are a couple recently engaged and looking for ideas for your big day or you are a wedding supplier and want to be able to get in front of your target market, wedding fayres are a great way to do both.

Wedding fayres for you, the bride and groom will be very helpful. There is so much information available to you through magazines and the internet now that you will have some quite clear ideas as to what you want for your day (even if you don't realize it at the moment!)  Yet these don't always give you the comfort you might need when buying something that is for such a special occasion. You can't handle and see very well the quality of the stationary or the photo album.  You can't taste the cake or see the detail clearly.  You can't really touch the wedding dress to get a sense of the quality of the material.  You can't hear the piper or the harpist playing to be sure they are just what you are looking for. A wedding fayre however can give you all of this.  You can meet the owners of the companies or the performers in person.  You can see, touch, taste and hear all the things you might have been looking for to help you decide if they are right for you.  You can use a wedding fayre to get all your questions answered by the professionals, to gain tips on keeping costs down and to discover the latest trends.

As a supplier you ought to consider attending wedding fayres to make sure you are getting your product or service in front of the people who really need it.  Get to know these couples and show them what you can do, why you are the best person to help them plan their day and how you can solve any problems they might have. Share your experience and expertise with them and help them through the jungle that is planning a wedding.

Wedding fayres for venues are important. In our case it gives us a chance to show you the hotel set up for a wedding, (civil ceremony room, bar, dinning room and your dance floor) as sometimes it's difficult to imagine, especially as certain rooms might be used for other events during the week.  We can build upon those relationships we already have with suppliers, and most importantly of all, we can give couples advice and help them create their dream day in their ideal venue.

We first tried our hand at planing a wedding fayre back in 2006 with our sister hotel, the Burlington in Folkestone.  We had to work out how many suppliers we could fit in, make sure we had at least one exhibitor from every sector, ensure there was enough room for visitors to walk around, have plenty of staff on duty to help couples and answer questions, arrange all the goody bags, book all the advertising, and the rest!

On the actual day we had around 20 exhibitors attending, show casing everything from balloons to stationary, photography to chair covers and wedding dresses to cakes.  The function room was laid up for a wedding breakfast, the ceremony room was laid as it would be on the day and our DJ was there playing some great tunes.

We did a huge amount of  promotional activity, so with this along with the help of the exhibitors, word spread about the fayre and we had a fantastic turn out.  All the exhibitors took at least a booking or two away with them, with various leads to follow up on.  We offered couples added extras if they booked on the day (for instance 10% off their total bill) so everyone found themselves in a win win situation and the feedback was positive with couples and suppliers asking about the next one.  Off the back of this event and its success, it made sense that we went ahead and planned some more.

5 years on and all three of the Castlewood Hotels have wedding fayres twice a year (Spring and Autumn) with the most recent being ours!  We had some great suppliers in the room and met with some really lovely couples, all very excited about getting married and all of which loved our new refurbishment we are happy to say!

Wedding fayres aren't easy to organise, and at all times when planning we try to make sure we are providing what the couples are looking for and hopefully taking some of the stress away by bringing some fabulous services into the room for them to meet. People want to take their time when walking around, they want to chat and perhaps even sit down with a drink to talk it over, so we provide areas for this and hope to make the experience enjoyable for all involved.

Whatever your reason for needing to find a wedding supplier wedding fayres are a great way of doing just that in a no-pressure situation.  If you're planning your wedding, look out for wedding fayres in your local area, go along and have a look around, there are some bargains to be had at them.  If you are a wedding supplier and want to try your hand at exhibiting, have a look around your local venues, give them a call and see if they have space for you.

We are already looking to arrange the next ones, perhaps with a twist.

In the mean time the Burlington's wedding fayre is happening this Friday from 4 – 9pm in Folkestone, not your normal Sunday fayre.  The Best Western Abbots Barton in Canterbury is having theirs on Sunday the 30th October from 11 - 4pm.  This time not in a marquee but in the Old House and the Cathedral perhaps we will see you there.

Either way....Happy planning!