This past Saturday, I welcomed this year's wedding season by attending the Happily Ever After 2014 Interior Wedding Showcase. This was the first bridal fair I had ever attended, both as a guest and as a vendor, and I was so pleased to be involved. Surrounded by the best wedding vendors Fairbanks had to offer, I had the opportunity to meet countless brides and grooms from not only Fairbanks but from the outer reaches of Alaska.
All that goes to say: it was a lot of work! There's no concrete guidebook (that I know of) that teaches vendors how to build a booth for a fair or expo like this. Because of that, I am more than happy to share the details of how I built my booth with the hopes of helping other vendors in the future. First though, I'd like to go over some of my more conceptual approaches to the bridal fair.
Through research I decided on a few things from the get-go:
- I didn't want to sit down or be behind a table. This forced me to engage and be present with every single group of people that walked up to me. Sure there were times that I awkwardly couldn't figure out where to stand, but that figured itself out easily enough! More than anything, I was present and ready to chat. It made the interactions feel less like I was trying to sell something and more like I was inviting others into a space where they could have fun and explore.
- Show the bride's their worth. While I knew most of the brides would likely be receiving some sort of pamphlet from every vendor, I wanted them to go home with something that they could personally enjoy, that made them feel valued. Quite simply, this was achieved through favors. All bride's that came to me received a business card in a clear plastic bag, packed with a chocolate and a bag of tea. Most of the teas were specialty teas from Harney & Sons, and for all the tea lovers out there it was a big hit! Ladies were most excited about the chocolate though. :)
- The booth needed to have simplicity. The most striking booths I saw while researching were simple and clean. Not only that, but my current web-site design is rather minimalistic and monochromatic. This meant that I had consistent branding between both my booth and my site, which is always a good thing! It made for a streamlined feel and familiarity with brides came to visit my site after the show.
Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty of how I built my booth. I'm no construction worker, but I certainly know how to use a drill and work a measuring tape. This took a few simple math headaches, but eventually I put a draft together that seemed doable. There's certainly a better way to build these things, so I apologize in advance for any and all glaring errors!
Here's my shopping & cut list:
For the Wall
- 7 - 2"x3"x8' boards
- 1 - 2', 2', 3'
- 1 - 2', 3', 3'
- 3 - trim off 3"
- 2 - leave as is
- 2 Panel Boards
- 2 ½" screws
I made a frame using the 2 untrimmed 2x3's as my top and bottom supports, and then I screwed in the trimmed boards as the vertical parts of the frame, with two flush at the sides and one up the center. With the frame laying on the ground, the shorter sides of the boards touched the floor, while the longer side stood up in a sense. All the boards laid flush against each other like they would in a wall built to code. Google "how to build a wall," and you'll see what I mean. :)
Once the frame was assembled, we attached the panel boards horizontally across the frame with screws in the corners and centers of each board. Then we stood the wall up and attached the supports so it could stand. For the bottom back supports, I created L-shaped pieces using the 3' and 2' pieces, screwing them together and securing them to the base of my frame on the sides and in the center. Once those were attached, I had (success!) a free-standing wall. To make sure the wall didn't tip forward, we made sure the tables where touching the wall as a front support.
While I don't have behind the scenes photos, I was hoping I could paint a picture with words for you! Hopefully this helps you with future bridal shows! I'd love to answer any questions in the comments, and if you have extra ideas, feel free to share them there as well!
Happy building, and best of luck to you as you meet new bride's and groom's and show them your best work!