I and the other lovely ladies of Speldosa are always keen to try new things, so we decided to take a (hopefully well-calculated) risk and book a stand to perform at a wedding fair! This post will be a little behind-the-scenes for what the experience is like for bands exhibiting at wedding fairs.
The event: Britain Does Vintage Ripon Cathedral Wedding Show
The Price: £125 for a stand
The Plan: To get as many bookings as possible!
Experience of wedding fairs
I’ve only ever been to one wedding fair before this event, and it was as a punter. However, I wasn’t engaged at the time (and to be completely honest, I wasn’t sure that it was my kind of thing), I was along to keep my friend and her soon-to-be mother-in-law company. I’m sorry to say it, but I was pretty disappointed by the whole experience – most of the stands were for venues (which my friend had already sorted out) and there was an extremely strange “groom’s area” which had a racing game chair, a pool table and a fake fire made out of material – what?! The vendors seemed either bored or overly aggressive, the only music was dull piano covers, and nothing was especially pretty. Oh dear.
Preperations to be made
Before we chose which fair we wanted to perform at, we had to take lots of different things into consideration – what kind of wedding fair should we go for? Is it important where in the country it is? How much time/energy/money should we invest in this thing? After a bit of research, we decided that alternative/vintage wedding fairs would be a good fit for us, rather than the more conventional ‘mainstream’ type of event. We also decided not to go too far afield – otherwise all the resulting bookings would also be far away, racking up travel costs and taking much longer to get to! Britain Does Vintage seemed to be a perfect fit, as they had different events all over the country. As the three of us all live in the North (Sheffield, Newcastle and Glasgow, since you ask!), we thought that Ripon and the surrounding area would be a good first place to try out.
On the subject of research, this article by alternative wedding guru Kat, of rocknrollbride, was indispensible. If you want to exhibit at a wedding fair, go read that first!
Making the most of ourselves
When we decided to do this wedding fair, and put down the money for the stand, I was pretty nervous! We’d never done anything like this before – this was a whole event just for marketing ourselves, that we had to pay to be at. Marketing myself is one of my least favourite things that I have to do as a self-employed musician, and here was a whole day of it?! Aaaargh!
But there’s no point in doing this sort of thing unless you put your best foot forward, so we decided to go for it and see what happened.
We put out a mailing list with a competition entry for signing up, took a bit of time to make our stand look pretty, and set out our CDs (any opportunity for a CD sale!) and a ‘playing again at’ sign to catch people who might not otherwise see us. We also decided to put a vintage twist on what we were wearing to add to the whole effect – headscarves and lipstick for days! We also got a load of fliers printed with our information to hand out to people on the day. Then we picked our most wedding-friendly repertoire (sorry, angry feminist songs – not your event!) played, sung and chatted our hearts out!
We came away with a load of new names and email addresses on our mailing list, enquiries coming our way on facebook, CDs sold (one to a table neighbour! A Tabour?) and a lush day had by all! One of the nicest things about the day was how cheerful and friendly all the other vendors were – huge shout out to Yorkshire Bartender (responsible for the deliciousness in the picture above, and for getting us a little bit drunk on samples!) and to the Four Shadows for their awesome singing and playing (and making us laugh with your drumming faces!)
In the end? Well worth doing, I would say!
P.S. Mailing list giveaway winner as chosen by cats: