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Feature: After a Wedding Fayre: What the Heck to do With the Bag Full of Brochures

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Written by Hannah Collier, the Studio Manager at Graham Crichton Photography. Hannah has been working side-by-side with Graham now for 6 years and discusses what to do with all the bits of paper you receive when you go to a wedding show.

Did you go to the Wedding Journal Show at the Titanic Exhibition Centre last weekend? It was a great show and The Ulster Wedding Show at the SSE Arena this coming weekend promises to be even BIGGER and BETTER! You can even with a £28,000 wedding at it! – The BIGGEST wedding give away in the WHOLE of IRELAND (Not to be missed!).

We have been doing the show now for a few years and it never fails to surprise me how many new suppliers are there and how many people come in to see the show.  I bet if you are anything like me then it was all a bit overwhelming and after about 20 minutes in you had started to feel a bit dazed! It is hard to remember who you spoke to or what they said. All I ever remember is that after going to any show as a bride to be, my arm is sore from carrying a big bag of swag filled with brochures that I picked up!

With my other hat on, ss suppliers we understand that you will have spoken to lots and lots of people during the day and so we need to make sure that our brochure reminds you of us. This is who were were…

But what to do with the forest worth of paper you have?

Firstly get all the brochures out and sort them into categories. Photography, videography, Cars, Cakes, Stationary, venues, etc…

When we recently went to the Dublin Wedding Journal Show while trying to plan our own wedding as soon as we got back to the hotel we tipped everything out on the bed and did this. You’ll be surprised at what you will have picked up even if you weren’t looking for “that thing”.  For instance we weren’t looking for cakes, but we had 4 cake brochures in the bag – and a wee bit of cake too! 🙂

Now once you have them sorted into the categories you can start to go through each brochure one by one and see if anything jumps out at you. From looking at the mass of brochures, do you remember speaking to anyone in particular?  Do you what their stand looked like? Do you remember if the quality of their work was good (or awful)? Did they make a good impression? Do you think that you would like to work with them on your wedding day?

Once you have all those questions answered split them up to to two piles: “Possible yays” and “Possible nays” – that way you can see who you need to contact. Have a good read of the “yay” brochures.  Make a list of any questions you want to ask (if it isn’t already answered in the brochure) when you contact the supplier and remember to say that you met them at the show when you do make contact! Usually they will have a show offer. We have a show offer, but it only runs for a very limited period, so you need to get in quick!

Follow up emails

You didn’t think you wouldn’t get contacted after the show when you entered a prize draw, did you? Of course not. Look out for the follow up emails from all the vendors you left your details with.  These will have all the details from the show in them hopefully a handy picture of the stand and the people you might have met.   It will also remind you about the offers and their time limits.  This is a good time to go back to any of the vendors you were interested in and to take advantage of any show offers that they might be doing (and also to secure you date).  Especially if you are planning your wedding for 2016 or 2017 they will be filling up fast so even if you think it’s a long way off, remember, most of the vendors are working a year to a year and a half in advance so your date could well go much sooner than you would think.

Get Social

Look up the “yay” suppliers on social media!  Facebook and Twitter are great ways of looking up prospective suppliers.  It’s a good way to check out what they are like and what they get up to most of the time. Aare they really active on social media? if so then there is a good chance that they are busy and that they will have lots of happy customers (all of which will be singing their praises there). Have they posted anything since 2013?  Are they really still in business?   Also by following them on social media you will be the first to hear about any offers and deals that they will be doing!! And in our case who are the lucky winners of our cocktail night for two is after the show when we announce it!!

Blog blog blog…..

Look at the suppliers websites and read their blogs – most of the more interesting stuff is on websites rather than just Facebook! You might be doing that already, so, if so a high five you you! This method, like social media will give you a good insight into how they work too.  Also it will give you a much bigger idea of their style in the case of a photographer as they will have loads and loads of examples of work on there for you to look at.

Watch out for the sneaky tricks…

Remember to watch out for sneaky show tactics. Some suppliers inflate their prices on their show price lists so that they can give you a “good deal” at the show. Others have prize draws where everyone wins 25% off. How generous! Don’t be fooled.

And finally… Priorities!

And finally remember to prioritise the things that you really need.  There will be a lot of flyers in that bag from companies that are maybe in the “nice to have” pile. Just remember get the important things booked first and then sort out the little luxuries later (e.g. the sweety cart, the chocolate fountain – unless of course these are in your must have pile at the start!). If you went to the show to look at cars and a DJ/Band, then don’t be drawn in by the chair covers and sweetie carts and end up with no cars or band 🙂

Above all, enjoy it. I love planning my own wedding.

About GRAHAM

Graham Crichton is an award winning professional wedding & portrait photographer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With 10 years of experience and having photographed hundreds of weddings he has photographed weddings all over Ireland, the UK and abroad.

About HANNAH

Hannah Crichton is the principal photographic assistant, blogger and studio manager (and other half of Graham Crichton Photography). Hannah and Graham recently married themselves in Ynysybwl, Wales, where Hannah is originally from. Hannah loves “everything wedding"!

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