Attending wedding fairs can be very enjoyable. Engaged couples often plan many trips to wedding fairs in their local area while looking for inspiration for their wedding.
Once the search for the perfect venue and the best wedding suppliers starts, the idea of finding a large number of local businesses all under one roof sounds very practical.
The personal touch is extremely important when it comes to weddings. Meeting each supplier in person saves couples lots of time as browsing websites and reading online reviews can be time-consuming.
Wedding fairs often have many perks and freebies… cake tasting, goodie bags, special offers and giveaways. Large wedding fairs can attract thousands of couples and are often a great day out for the whole wedding party, including all bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Online Wedding Fairs
Online wedding fairs are becoming increasingly common, due to social distancing. When I logged into Facebook earlier this month, on a Sunday, a few online wedding fairs were already in full swing, on Facebook and on Instagram. Sunday is the most common day for wedding fairs to take place, as most suppliers are available.
I briefly “attended” a few different virtual wedding fairs, including Eco Friendly & Vegan Virtual Wedding Fair (hosted by Love of All Weddings) on Instargram, Online Wedding Fair (hosted by Visionary Veils), Leeds Virtual Wedding Show (hosted by Cristello Couture by Lisa Marie), Virtual Chester Wedding Fair (hosted by Bliss Wedding Shows – The North West Wedding Show) and West Midlands Ultimate Online Wedding Show (hosted by Nothing but Wedding Cars).
Each online show had its unique features and was very enjoyable. All organisers have clearly put a lot of effort into organising these e-events. Each show was impressive. Some of the hosts were not even professional wedding event management companies. They were just local wedding suppliers, supporting engaged couples and other small businesses during the Covid19 crisis.
We spoke to Julie Beresford, the owner of “Nothing but Wedding Cars” www.nothingbutweddingcars.co.uk, the host of West Midlands Ultimate Online Wedding Show (View the event on Facebook >>>) Julie said: “ These are challenging times for couples planning their wedding as they are unable to visit venues or attend wedding shows and fayres for the foreseeable future, and due to social distancing, meeting the suppliers in person is impossible. We want to bring the largest selections of the top regional suppliers together in a virtual show giving them the opportunity to showcase their services and connect with couples. Since starting our wedding car business several years ago we have gained a reputation for challenging the norm and are always looking for new ways to bring our services and the services of other great wedding suppliers to couples, we will not allow Covid19 to prevent us from doing this.”
The Format of Online Wedding Fairs
Some online wedding fairs have the form of a Facebook live or an Instagram live video. Wedding suppliers introduce themselves and tell the viewers about the services they offer. They might even prepare a demonstration, so that you can see them at work. A florist might tie a wedding bouquet in front of the camera, a cake maker might show you cakes in a few different styles and a photographer might appear with his or her camera.
Sharing pre-recorded video is another way of participating in an online wedding fair. There might be a video by a catering company, giving you the chance to see how the different food options look at real weddings. This might be followed by a video of someone’s first dance, the toastmaster in action, the surprised faces of wedding guests when singing waiters appear on the scene or a video of an aerial view of the grounds of a wedding venue.
Online wedding fairs can also have the form of a moderated discussion on Facebook. The advantage of reading individual posts rather than watching videos is that posts include direct links to suppliers’ websites and / or facebook pages.
Attending an Online Wedding Fair
Most virtual wedding fairs are accessible for least a few days after the event has taken place. If you miss the live video or the moderated discussion, you can come back later, at any time that suits you. Don’t feel that you need to limit yourself to events organised by your local wedding suppliers. Many wedding experts are happy to travel nationwide, some even internationally. Plus wedding fairs are not only about hiring suppliers. It is also about finding inspiration for your wedding day, discovering what the latest trends are and picking up various wedding planning tips and trips from the pros.
All you need is a pen and paper to make notes while watching videos. The shows I attended were packed with useful tips. While visiting the above-mentioned virtual shows, I learned about vegan catering, about eco-friendly weddings, bespoke veils, and watched a video about what is typically included in a toastmaster service package.
Organising / Taking Part in an Online Wedding Fair
And now, just a quick word to all wedding suppliers. If you are thinking about hosting a wedding fair, or maybe just attending one, time management might be the most important issue to consider. If you feel nervous about joining online events, just keep in mind that you do so to help couples plan their special day. Switching a camera on and talking to couples online might not seem that much different to talking to couples in person at a wedding fair.
Plus, online presence is not just about videos. You could put together a photo slideshow to showcase your services. Or you could write a blog post, perhaps in the form of questions and answers, addressing various areas of your niche couples often ask about.
Facebook and Instagram seem to be the top two choices when it comes to online events. But if you are more comfortable with a different social medial platform, you might be surprised how many couples will be keen on joining your event if it has the form of a YouTube live or a Twitter chat. There are many online events you can attend, looking for inspiration.
2021 / 2022 Weddings
It might be slightly more difficult to find suppliers for 2021 and 2022 weddings, although in most areas, there are plenty of venues, event planners and photographers. While some couples have decided to hold a simple ring exchange at home during the lockdown, most are re-scheduling from their 2020 date to a later date. This means that wedding suppliers might be more difficult to get hold of, as there will be an increased number of bookings.
If you had something specific in mind, such as a venue you always wanted to get married in or a vintage car you want to travel to the ceremony in, it might be worth making some phone calls now, to see what the availability of your local wedding suppliers is.
It will be interesting to see whether virtual wedding shows will keep enjoying their popularity once the lockdown is lifted. Even though online events are very convenient, direct interaction is probably the first choice for most wedding suppliers. Feel free to share your views and leave a comment below.