Planning a virtual wedding fair? Read this first….

Virtual wedding fairs used to be a nice alternative to in-person tours for those who couldn’t make an in-person show-round. Today however, they are essential – they are practical, safe, within restriction guidelines and provide a great opportunity while your venue might be still closed. Just like an in-person wedding fair, organisation is key in order to make the most of the opportunity.

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Here’s our thoughts on what you need to consider for your Virtual Wedding Fair.

Delivery

If it’s your first time to put on a Virtual Wedding Fair, we recommend you keep it simple. Stick to the platforms that you know, and build from there. It can be as simple as being live on your Instagram or Facebook, if that is what you are used to using. Although, capturing contact details is not as straightforward so you might want to consider something more professional like Zoom or Webex with pre-registration. For larger higher production value events, you could consider other alternatives like YouTube or Virtual Event software like Hopin. There are many options to think about, breakout rooms, concurrent sessions and even virtual exhibitions. Do your research and make sure you have the support and resources you need on the day to deliver.

Key to a successful event is keeping an ordered agenda. Talks must start and finish on time and preparation is essential for ensuring interesting presentations and interviews. To make it simple, keep everything in the same divisions of 15/30/60 minutes. That way, attendees can easily dip in and out of certain sections and not miss what’s important to them.

Theme and Content

One of the first things to consider is whether you want to use a theme. Think about what would couples expect when they attend your Wedding Fair? You might, for example, base your fair around micro weddings, or outdoor ceremonies, or a combination of both. Maybe you’re promoting your traditional wedding offering for further along the line, in expectation of filling future dates. Whatever you decide will impact on which suppliers you use and what you film on the Wedding Fair day itself. Remember, a theme can be a useful hook in grabbing the attention of your audience.

When setting the agenda, put yourself in your couples shoes: What are the questions they ask you in the first instance:

  • Is there somewhere to do my hair and makeup?
  • Can we stay the night before?
  • Can we book lunch the next day?
  • What does the bridal suite look like?
  • What are the accommodation options for parents/bridal party?
  • How much wedding cake do we need?
  • Should we do an engagement shoot?

Think about how you can engage the couples during the Showcase. A mix of event type could work really well:

  • Interviews with suppliers
  • Online competitions
  • Promotions or deals (exclusive event discounts)
  • Live music intervals
  • Tutorials/demonstrations
  • Panel discussions on a particular topic with experts
  • Show-rounds/Venue Tours
  • Breakout sessions

Suppliers

Work with third party suppliers in advance to maximise the opportunity for you both; your wedding fair is a great opportunity for them to advertise so they should be more than happy to showcase. Work with them to really show off what can be done. For on-site suppliers, e.g. Flowers, Cakes, Photo Booth etc, have them work with you to set up in the room on the day so the couple can see the setup while on a virtual tour.

We would recommend only showcasing suppliers that you have successfully worked with before or that come highly recommended. Our research shows that couples seek recommendations from family friends and venues when making supplier decisions. Good suppliers will be good for your business, and will give your couples a guaranteed level of service.

Download our 2021 Wedding Industry Report for a full look at the findings from our survey of over 1,000 couples –

IRELAND EDITION | UK EDITION

Venue

Don’t be afraid to show off your venue. Think about the best order in which to bring your guests through your venue, what rooms have the features you’d like to emphasise the most. Walk them through the venue as they will go through it on their wedding day.

Think about the format of your tour; You could run several live walking tours throughout the day, but also you could produce a reel of slides, video footages and stills from a variety of real set ups to run at intervals throughout the day. This could be a good option with a preferred photography supplier for example. Consider incorporating a live Q&A.

If you go for the live option, practice your route and script in advance. Consider the device you are streaming on and the quality of the picture, and how the rooms look in that format. Make sure you maximise the light/candles etc. Unfortunately your rooms are going to be empty of people so you will need to work hard to create the ambiance. Think about music, lighting, time of day etc. Your preferred décor suppliers should be able to help you with dressing the whole venue as well as the main function room.

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Promotion

You want to make sure your wedding fair attracts as many couples as possible. Focus on content creation to gather interest around your Venue, decide and distribute the agenda in advance. Get your preferred suppliers on board early. Teaser Videos like insta live in advance will help to grab attention towards the event and ask your suppliers to co-promote through their channels too. Do up a variety of graphics/images in various sizes for all different social media platforms, and keep the messaging simple. Instead of putting every item into every graphic, drop feed the content over a number of different posts, building the story of the day and what people can expect and building the excitement. Don’t forget to ASK your booked couples who else they know – often, some of their friends will have gotten engaged. You can get them to share the upcoming event too. Maybe even consider getting some past couples involved on the day to share their real experiences.

Most importantly, put plenty of time into the planning. The more you put into the prep in advance will lead to a more successful event on the day and keep you sane!

This article was original published on LinkedIn by Ciara Crossan, Founder & CEO at WeddingDates

Image credits:Mateus Campos Felipe

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