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Getting the most out of your investment.

After 10 years of organising wedding fayres and 9 years of owning my own wedding fayre business, it still amazes me how many great little businesses fail to get bookings from wedding fairs because they have simply not prepared for the day.

So heres my top tips to really get the most out of your investment.

  1. The first rule of business - if you know nothing else, learn this. Make it EASY to do business with you.
    • Simple forms, a paypal account, pens and paper, your correct details on all your flyers/cards (it’s called sales collateral).
  2. The second rule of business, make it EASY to pay you
    • Paypal, invoice2go, an iZettle, cash, bacs, cheques - all of these need to be on offer and they are all really cheap. 
    • Receipt pad.
  3. Tell the world! A wedding show is a great place to meet those customers who have spoken to you, but not met yet.
    • It's a neutral place, they've not come to you, you're not sat in the living room, it's nice and open and you can chat.
    • Get on Facebook, send emails, tell everyone “Hey, pop in and see us at the  xxx wedding fayre, so many great suppliers I want you to meet” 
    • Of course, your potential customers might come out and book someone else, and theirs might book you! so be ready.
  4. Shout out “I’m HERE!!!”  We all have pop up banners and at 25 why not? But why stick it at the side of your table?
    • IF you have a high ceiling, put it ON the table -  the top of it will be way above everyone’s heads and seen across the room.
    • Try putting it behind you on the boxes you use, or even a chair. 
    • Your banner needs to say on the very top rows who you are and what you do.
    • Always take a spare one and look for an opportunity to put it near the entrance to the fayre
    • Magnetic signs for the car and get it away from the doors, just inside or outside the car park
    • Get on facebook and check in, with a photo!
  5. Stand Presentation.  Clear the kitchen, borrow a table and set it up. No table?, mark out the floor with PVC tape ( a 6ft table is 1.8m x 72mm-75mm ).
    • So annoying to see some very smart displays that simply don't fit on a table or look like a collection of photo albums thrown down.
    • Better yet, get rid of the table altogether!
  6. Personal presentation. Buy a mirror. There are two types of wedding supplier, those who are at the wedding,
    • Attendees like Photographers, DJs, Chauffeurs, Caterers, and those who aren’t,
    • Absentees like  - Cakers, Florists, Venue Dressers, product suppliers. 
      • For attendees, Personal Presentation is absolutely key.
        • Dress as you would for the wedding because, this is the very first thing the potential clients see.
        • Yes, that old cardigan might be comfortable and warm and of course you wouldn't turn up to a wedding like that... would you?
        • You can't tell them how you'll be dressed because they have already decided not to talk to you. 
      • For absentees, looking qualified is where it's at,
        • Branded workwear is good,
        • Business attire is good,
        • Jeans and a footie shirt is terrible.
  7. An entry strategy. Please get away from “Have you booked a photographer yet?”  Try something new.
    • Walk up and say “Hi, I’m xxxxx, it’s good to see you today” or “Hello, are we having a good day?”
    • Try some open questions like “So what are you guys looking for today?” and “Which venue are you using?” 
    • Brides love to talk about colours, grooms love to talk about anything other than colours.
  8. An exit strategy. A silence becomes difficult at 1.... 2..... 3..... 4..... seconds.
    • So when the conversation is drying up, count off a 3 second silence and use your exit strategy. 
      • Familiarise yourself with the stands around you and comment on them positively.  “I love these carnations” “have you seen that canvas of Alfreton Hall?” “Hey, it’s coffee time” 
      • follow it with “It’s been lovely chatting to you, here's my card, if I can help you with anything else, just ask, have you got any more questions?”
      •   Work it into your own words, become friends with your strategies and nurture them until they sound like polite conversation.
  9. See eye to eye. The only person in business that makes money from being lower than the customer, is a street beggar.
    • Even big issue sellers stand up. 
    • Get out from the table, stand out front and smile like you own it.
  10. Remove the distractions.  I used to hand out lollipops, a great icebreaker, except,
    • I spent more time being interrupted by children and other suppliers that should know better than was useful.
    • Children pestering mum for a lollipop while you were chatting to her
    • Talking to someone who's eating.
      • Have nothing on your stand or about your person that invites distraction away from what you do.
      • Always have something that distracts from something across the room, or ATTRACTS!
  11. Harvest data. Get a notepad, take email addresses and note names and what you were chatting about and always have a reason to get in touch.
    • “I’ll email you photo of that if you like”
    • “I have a phone number for that venue let me email it to you.”
      • Follow up, Once is polite, Twice is enough, three times is pushy, 4 or more is spam.
  12. Nothing is too far in the future. I cringe when I see suppliers ask when the wedding is “2 years from now” and then go cold, how RUDE! What you have just said is, “ it's pointless talking to you because we might be out of business by then!”
    • Don't let it phase you, “2027, that’s great, you've got plenty of time to plan it properly, of course, the prices will go up...”
  13. Don’t waste time on lost causes. This is the last tip! 
    • We have to accept that some of the people that we talk to are simply time bandits, some people have daft ideas that won't work and some people have already decided to go cheap
    • Only you can decide when it's time to fire them off, but be clear on this, they are NOT your customer. 
      • A Time bandit ( a Tab in old retail parlance) will talk for hours about the difference between Cyan, Aqua and Turquoise and then say “I'll think about it”  Easy ways to get rid of them is to ask THEM to provide some new information “well if you can bring me a swatch”  “if you have an idea of how the cake should look”.
      • Daft ideas are harder because pointing out the stupidity of real live fish in bowls, or the brides dad doing the photo's will make them think about it, but pride will not let them come back to you, just let them go in their smugness.
      • Budget Blinkers. “You are not too expensive, they simply cannot afford you!” 
        • The power of the unfinished sentence is quite useful. “There’s always someone cheaper, but I guess....” 
        • and the rhetorical question “I wonder why they are so cheap...” “Is he any good?”.

Your payment for a stand is an investment in your business. The time you spend doing it is an investment in your business, make it your mission to get a return on that investment.

What does your sales collateral say about you?

Sales Collateral = Flyers, cards, price lists, leaflets, brochures, promotional items.

This is the bit where I lose friends, sorry, but you need to look at what you are handing out!

We’ve been loading info bags with leaflets and cards for about 10 years now and most of them are a fair reflection of the business they represent, but some are just embarrassing. Before I go into specifics though, lets just touch on the main points.

Passive advertising - this is stuff like Facebook, billboards, business cards and handouts, you plan to get as many out there as you can and hope that 0.1% will return a booking, but only after...

Active advertising, this where a potential client has come to you, possibly as a result of the flyers and needs more information and a better understanding of what you do - a website is more active that facebook a brochure or a glossy double sided bifold menu is active  and

Information. Price lists , detailed service guides etc.


For the sake of this article, my only interest is the passive handout, the one designed to catch the eye and invite the reader to desire more information.

  • Handed out on its own, you can get away with most things, cheaper paper (but not too cheap), a simple clip art graphic, a few sample prices.
  • Handed out in the company of many other flyers, however, you need to avoid filling up the bins with your “tat”

Quality - The importance of Paper quality is inversely proportionate to the size of the document, so thin paper on an A6 flyer will look and feel utter rubbish compared to the same paper used in a bifold brochure, it’s the overall weight that has more bearing. If all your competitors are using smart folded A4 handouts and yours is a tidy tiny A6 on flimsy paper, well what are you telling your potential customers about your business?

Language - Grammar is important, most of us will speak differently to how we should write.  Classic traps like “Could of” and overuse of hyperbole identify you to many clients as an idiot. What on earth is a “wow moment” anyway, the bride falling headlong into the church font is about it.  Avoid local sayings and use BBC English, if you can’t imagine Trevor McDonald saying it, don’t use it, it you CAN imagine the one-star burger flipper at McDonalds using it, bin it!

Be clear about what you do -  Big fails on this front have included “Lifestyle photography” (what on earth is that?) and “Wedding flowers and venue specialist” a florist?? a hotel owner?? a food critic?  and a “Dream enabler”! (vodka then)

Be positive - you are talking to brides who want a big happy special day, I’ve seen a few awful examples of “your wedding will be terrible, you need me there!!” negative advertising, it kills the message stone dead - read the following two sentences

  • Weddings can be boring places with lots of awkward moments where people generally feel uncomfortable, a juggler will make it better.
  • A Juggler is a great way to break the ice at weddings, adding interest, bringing the quests together and getting the laughter flowing.

Ok - we all know a Juggler is a nice to have (erm... possibly) but no one is going to book anyone who thinks weddings are always lacking in some way.

Spelling - this is my sin!  The problem is, none of us can proof read our own work because we know what it’s supposed to say.  Print it and ask someone to proof read it with the TV off. Then rewrite it, and do it again. Don’t depend on the spelling checker because it sees two, to and too as all being correct.

Never Stretch a photo or a font.   They look awful and distract the reader

Professional email addresses - never end in  if you own “weddingposy” dot com your email address should be in that domain

Make it easy to contact you and find you - OK, Handmade_Chocolates_for_weddings.moonspace.wix/ is so much easier to tell everyone than the 2.99 per year isn’t it?  Still have the big long one for SEO, just divert the short one to it.

So NEXT YEAR we're going to be even better, right?


Print costs are at an all time low, sales collateral is dog cheap

NEXT WEEK we are all going to be better.






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