Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wedding Fairs for Event Decorators... the preparation!

Preparation - where do I start?

Last weekend I exhibited at my first Wedding Fair for more than 10 years! Wow, what a quick and huge learning curve it was, as I only decided at the last minute to do the fair, so where do I start? I only had 2 weeks to get everything ready!

Although I am a competent balloon artist and wedding decor designer, being prepared for a wedding fair is another matter!

I started by asking some very good friends of mine who run a very successful balloon business for some advise...

“You need some literature to hand out”
"Literature... like a brochure type literature, with pictures, prices and all that”? I replied

"Yes, Brides need something to take away to look at once they leave, to show their future husbands and families, a reminder of you and your services”!

Of course, they were right, I would need to have something they could take away with them and thinking back to the blog I wrote recently about business cards (Benefits of Business Cards as a  Marketing Tool- August 2011) I knew that it would need to look professional and truly reflect my business and services.

I am very lucky, I have many great quality photographs of wedding designs that I have created over the years, so finding good pictures was not difficult for me, but I know that many balloon artists struggle to get great pictures, here are a few suggestions:
Downloaded picture from the QBN Resource Center

If you are a QBN member (and if you are not a QBN member... why not, join today)! There is such a great resource area as well as many other fantastic benefits!

On the left hand side of the Qualatex home page there is a side menu with purple writing, under Qualatex Balloon Network, there is a sub-heading, QBN Resource Center, click here, once inside,  click on Marketing Resources. You’ll now need your QBN number and password to go any further. You will now see QBN Marketing Resources Search, if it’s specifically Wedding resources you are looking for then under Theme, select Wedding, but if you have never visited before leave all the options at ALL and see whats available, you’ll be amazed at how much great stuff is there! You are allowed to freely download and use these images!

Downloaded picture from Bouquet Ideas -Everyday

Another great suggestion is again on the Homepage side menu, click on Bouquet Ideas - Everyday, then click on Love, again you’ll see some great bouquets that you can freely download and use for your marketing.

There are other resource options such as attending good quality balloon courses that not only offer a days training but portfolio quality photograph images of the designs being taught, such as the Qualatex Complete Wedding 1 and Complete Wedding 2.

Complete Wedding Series 1
Complete Wedding Series 2
Please do not be tempted to ‘borrow or copy’ pictures from other balloon artists websites, or Facebook pages, there are copyright laws and you would be breaking them, so only use pictures that you have permission to use, such as those on the Qualatex website or are given as part of a course... and make sure you have the ability to recreate to the same high standard any of the designs that you use :)

With  a good range of wedding pictures, I was now ready to design my brochure.
Now, came my next hurdle, my computer abilities are limited and designing a printable brochure is a little outside of my league... again I asked my wonderful friends to help me and together we created a simple but effective brochure, just an A4 folded leaflet (A4 is slightly larger than US Letter) this would give me an A5 (half of A4) 4 page leaflet/brochure, perfect size to give away, with enough space to give all the relevant information.
You might need to pay to have yours set up in the correct format by the printer, but as long as you have a good idea of how you want your brochure to look and all the information and pictures that you want printed ready then the cost should be minimal, most printers offer this service, but it will cost you, it may pay to get quotes from different printers?

There is another fantastic option if you are unable to put your own brochure together in time, once again as a QBN member you can download from the same resource area this Magical & Memorable  flier, perfect to show brides how elegant, romantic and magical balloons can be for weddings.

I decided to keep my brochure simple, a good selection of photographs, a little information about me and my abilities and a sample guide price list, just to give an idea of my pricing structure and of course all my contact details along with my website!

I have to admit, I was so excited when they arrived, it was a momentous moment opening the box!

Sue's brochure centrefold
Sue's brochure front and back cover
With my brochure ready, I now needed to get everything else prepared for my big day...

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