Last Sunday I was indoors, exhibiting at the Wedding Fair at Preston Cross Hotel, Great Bookham. Yet it was another glorious Spring day. I could have been in the garden or with my family in the countryside. But no.
For me it was the last wedding show of the season. For the second consecutive sunny Sunday, I spent four hours standing in a hall, trying to attract the interest of people who mostly had no idea why they should even want to speak to me.
As well as travel and time, I have to pay for my stand, so it’s not a cheap pastime (even if I sometimes gain by striking up partnerships with other splendid business-owners also exhibiting).
So why do I do it?
Firstly, personal relationships are the life-blood of the wedding business. In an ideal world, if you are getting married, you want your ceremony to be absolutely perfect. If you’ve never met your celebrant before the day, there’s not much chance to build a rapport. That can affect your levels of stress and enjoyment.
And if you have met the officiant already, you need to be sure that you have confidence in, and are happy with, him/her (for the same reasons).
Spreading the Word
Secondly, most people have never heard of civil celebrants and don’t know what we can offer. I attend fairs because I want to increase awareness. Brides and grooms mostly have little idea that they can have a bespoke ceremony created for them and conducted by someone like me. They would really appreciate the freedom of choice, but simply don’t know that it’s out there. Just by being present, I can extend to them that choice, and answer some of their questions on the spot.
Meeting Each Other
Thirdly, let me stress again the importance of personal relationships. Better than my website, than my YouTube video, than my Facebook page, than my blogs is actually meeting people in the flesh. They have a chance, from the outset, to speak to me face-to-face and decide whether they even want to consider working with me. If they don’t like me, there’s no point them embarking on the process with me!
So I consider that wedding fairs are an important investment to make.
Of course, I now have to fill my time before the season restarts in September!
I’m delighted to report that I have some bookings to sustain me. Next week alone, I have the contrasting ceremonies of a funeral and a Vow Renewal to conduct. I’m particularly looking forward to the latter, as it’s a bishop and his wife who are renewing their vows in a Mayfair hotel after 20 years’ marriage. Should be such a joyous event!
Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made life-cycle civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe.