We're just four weeks away from the Great Lancashire Wedding Show's Big Wedding Weekender and plans will be afoot all over the county for displays and offers for the show. But what if it's your first time exhibiting at a show this size? If you're used to a six foot table at a wedding fair then a shell scheme can seem like a daunting step upwards!
So here are our 10 Top Tips for taking the stress out of your exhibiting experience. (I exhibited at the first Great Lancashire Wedding Show last April so I've been there and know how scary it can feel!)
1 Plan your space in advance. Whatever stand size you have opted for if can be hard to visualise how much room you have until you measure out that space. To start with it seems enormous! And then as you start planning it can feel smaller and smaller! I taped out the floor size at home to plan a set up in. It might sound extreme but knowing exactly what was going to go where made it so much more straightforward to set up the real stand on the day. It also helped me decide which furniture to take too
2 Think about what furniture you might need. You'll get a 6 foot trestle table with your shell scheme so think about if this is going to be enough. Park it in the middle of a 3mx3m space and it's going to look a bit lost. So how else are you going to put together your display? This depends a lot on what your business is. If you are a chocolate fountain business then you're half way there with the fountain itself, but remember you'll need space for food prep and also for photo displays and business information. For something like a stationer or a cake maker you'll likely have a style of set up that you've developed from smaller fairs - maybe this can translate onto a larger scale. We've seen exhibitors set up mini spa settings, mobile bridal galleries, bring haybales and all sorts of inventive ideas. You need to stand out - it can be the smallest detail that will capture a bride's attention on the day. Beg and borrow furniture from friends an family if you need to!
3 Remember to think vertically! The walls of your stand are black. Consider how your display will look against this background and think about options for using the walls as part of the display. The walls are made of the furry side of velcro so you can attach pictures and signs to them using strips of stick on hook side velcro. There are all sorts of options from smaller photo shots to full wallpaper! You could also consider suspending things across the 'roof' of your stand - maybe bunting or paperchains. Also think about how your pull-up banners will fit in - if it's near the edge of your stand it might get in the way; if it's at the back you might not be able to see it.
4 Take enough leaflets, postcards, business cards. It's busy. Very busy! Last November's one day show saw over 1,300 registered brides through the doors and over 3,500 people in total! It's hard to gauge how much promotional material to take. Some people will collect cards from every stand and others only if they're really interested in what you're displaying. Sometimes mums take leaflets too! It can be tempting to take show-specific leaflets; I had a limited number of these and a back up of my usual promotional postcards for once they'd gone.
5 Be prepared to talk. A lot! At a normal wedding fair it can feel like you've said the same thing hundreds of times. This is even more so! At last April's show we were inundated with brides asking us questions. At one point I was pinned into the back corner of my stand! Some people are reluctant to start the conversation with you though so have you're opening line ready: 'Have you had any ideas about what'd you'd like?' is always a good one.
6 Don't forget you are part of your stand. Be smart but comfortable. Flat shoes are a must as you'll be on your feet all day! If you run a food business maybe a branded apron would be good. Try and stand out as part of the business - when your stands full of people it could be hard to tell who you need to talk to! Even a badge with your logo on would work.
7 Pack a survival kit. Lots of water is a must. My own kit also included a sandwich cut up into small pieces so surreptitiously when it was a little bit quieter. Then a few biscuits or some mints for a quick sugar hit. Paracetamol too as I always get headache. Then practical things like tissues, sellotape, string, scissors, pens. Oh and don't forget your diary to check available dates!
8 Promote the event. Little White Books promotes the event heavily with advertising campaigns to raise awareness across the North West. You can help though by promoting via social media and on your own website. The more we all talk about the event the more people will come.
9 Collect your own data. Maybe think about a special offer to run or a competition on the day - we gave away a big chocolate cake! Names, contact email and date of wedding on a slip of paper was all that was needed to enter. We collected lots of information; it seemed the lure of all that chocolate worked!
10 Enjoy yourself. It's a fabulous experience exhibiting at a show of this size! Go round and meet the other exhibitors before the doors open and have fun talking to lots of excited brides!
If you've got any questions about exhibiting at the show please get in touch with [email protected] or [email protected] We can help you with any queries and we'll be there as you set up too for any last minute questions.