Are you needing a fundraiser idea? Do you want to raise money for your college organization, sorority or non-profit agency? Just searching for some charity fund-raising ideas? One suggestion is to host a Bridal Fair.
Also known as a Bridal Expo, a Bridal Fair will allow brides to learn about various wedding vendors in the area. You will make profits by charging the vendors. Wedding vendors such as florists, musicians, photographers and more will have booths for brides (and mothers of the brides) to browse.
This fundraiser requires lots of hard work and dedication. However, it might be the perfect fundraiser for your organization. If this is your first time organizing it, consider keeping it small and low-key. Even a small Bridal Expo for just four hours on a weekday evening could be a success.
Here are a few tips on planning a fundraiser bridal fair.
Research the demand for one in your area.
All cities and most large towns have a Bridal Expo at least once a year. However, there could definitely be demand for another bridal fair in your area. For example, if the large Bridal Fair is only held once a year, an expo six to nine months later would be great. In addition, most Bridal Expos are held on Sundays. However, some brides cannot come on Sunday, but would be able to on a weekday evening.
In addition, some vendors cannot afford to rent a booth at the large Bridal Fairs. In many cities, the cost of a Bridal Fair booth can run $800 or more. Sometimes, it can be over $1000. Many vendors, such as photographers and wedding consultants, cannot afford it. However if you charge more reasonable fees, they might consider having a booth at your fundraiser bridal fair.
Ask some women if they would be willing to attend your bridal fair. Also, if you have a personal relationship with potential vendors, ask if they would be willing to rent a booth. Remind them that it is for a good cause. As a general rule, if your city has more than 185,000 residents, a 2nd (or even 3rd) bridal fair in the area would do great. If the city’s population is less, it could still do very well, depending on some circumstances.
Decide on a location and date.
After you’ve officially decided there is a demand for one, the next step is to pick a location and date. If you are a college organization or sorority, it is best to host it somewhere on the college campus. Some other location ideas include community centers, shopping malls, church fellowship halls and even a school gym. If it is for a local charity, many places might consider providing the location at no cost.
While choosing a date can be difficult, try to avoid sharing it with another big date such as a football game, community event, etc. However, your bridal fair should not happen shortly after a large local Bridal Expo.
Do not choose to host it on a Saturday. Most vendors will be busy with weddings. Instead you might choose a Sunday afternoon, or even possibly a weekday evening. With good advertising, an evening bridal fair could do very well.
The time frame of the bridal show is up to you. While most professional bridal fairs last all day, your fundraiser will be on a smaller scale. You could have it last only three hours, or it could last as long as eight hours. Brides, bridesmaids and others can come at their convenience. However, vendors should be there for the whole time period. (Some may choose to only set up a booth for advertising only.)
Decide on vendor prices.
Next, you should set the booth rental fees. If there is a yearly professional bridal show in your area, find out the cost for their expos. Make the fee significantly lower, but still enough to receive adequate profits.
If you are hosting the Bridal Expo in a free location (lets say on your college campus), a reasonable fee would be no more than $150 per booth. In some cases, it might be better to lower the price to just $50 per booth. If there is a fee for the location, you will need to charge higher prices. Also, you should keep in mind that a portion of the fees will go to advertising.
Next, it’s time to form committees to plan the event. If you are a sorority, assign each member into committees. If you are a non-profit agency, board members and employees will serve on various committees.
Some of the committees you will need are Vendor Recruitment, Advertising (for Brides), Door Prizes, Tables and Decorations, Welcome Table and Clean-Up. If possible, try to have at least three people on each committee.
Let the committees get to work.
Each committee is now responsible for fulfilling their duties. With lots of teamwork and dedication, the fundraiser can fall into the place.
The vendor recruitment committee will contact possible wedding vendors. These might include cake decorators, harpists, wedding singers, photographers, caterers, wedding planners, florists and more. In addition, they might contact non-wedding related vendors that might be interested in having a booth such a realtors, Mary Kay consultants, interior decorators and insurance representatives. The vendor recruitment committee will also be responsible for collecting payment from the vendors.
The advertising committee will be responsible for getting the word out to brides.. If the fundraiser is for a charity, some places (such as a radio station) might be willing to provide the services at no cost. There are numerous places where you can advertise. Read “Where to Advertise a Fundraiser Bridal Fair” for some suggestions.
The door prize committee will find door prizes for the brides. Door prizes are necessary to help entice brides to come. You might be able to get door prizes from vendors, in exchange for paying the booth fee. Some door prize ideas are a free engagement photo session, massage gift card and free makeover session. The brides will receive a raffle ticket when they walk in the door, and then the tickets will be chosen randomly later.
The tables and decorations committee will be in charge of renting the tables and tablecloths for the booths. They will also help coordinate some decorations at the entrance. One idea is to have an ice sculpture by an artist who creates sculptures for weddings.
The welcome table committee will coordinate a welcoming center for the brides at the entrance. All guests should be given a warm welcome and handed a flier for the booths or even possibly a goody bag.
The clean-up committee will see that the facility is left in good condition. This will ensure that the agency or group will be able to rent it again for possible future bridal fairs.
Have the Show!
All of your hard work will pay off on the day of the Bridal Expo. Be prepared for a few kinks, but be optimistic about the event. After the show is over, try to send a survey to wedding vendors. This can help you prepare for next year’s fundraiser.
If this is the first time your agency or sorority is hosting the event, it might be a good idea to consult with an event planner. Many wedding planners are happy to help with fund-raising events as well. You might even be able to obtain services at a discount, in exchange for a booth rental.
Needing another fundraiser idea? Please read “Host to Host a Kid and Family Expo” for another suggestion. You might also read these articles here.