Attract customers with a tented experience at wedding fairs.
By Shereé Bochenek
Wedding fairs attract many types of vendors, but the exhibitor who provides tenting has a special opportunity to show clients the possibilities tents can provide. The challenge? Showcasing tenting while overcoming the unique challenges posed by the legal and physical restrictions of the venue.
Setting the scene
Often, the exhibit space available is smaller than the size of the tents. Apres Party and Tent Rental, Edina, Minn., purchases exhibit space that is 20 by 20 feet, but the local convention center limits tenting to less than 400 square feet. Consequently, the company has constructed a number of different tent groupings that will fit into the space and give potential clients a sense of what tents can offer their event. Currently, the company showcases the high peak tent—featuring three 10-by-10-foot connected high peaks or a single 15-by-15-foot high peak. The remaining exhibit space becomes an open lounge/seating area.
Frame tents and marquees
On a smaller scale, a frame or a marquee tent works well. Striped tops or clear tops are especially attention-grabbing. One option is to provide only the metal frame of the tent, (technically, this is not a “tent”) which satisfies regulations that do not allow for a larger frame. Covering all the metal of the frame—using fabric or Velon™ plastic—evokes a warm and intimate atmosphere.
Small exhibit spaces
As the exhibit size shrinks, the tent must morph to accommodate the space. A square structure, such as a chuppah, made from a 10-by-10-foot frame without the peak, can be the solution to small spaces. If the space is even smaller, such as 8 by 10 feet, creating a “faux” tent with pipe and drape can provide the feeling of a tented event. It should be at least 10 feet high to create the correct spatial atmosphere, and should be covered in sheer or specialty drape—not the waffle exhibit drape provided by the exhibit space.
For exhibit purposes, a tent is sometimes more of a “feeling” than a physical structure. Using 12-by-12-foot pipe/drape to form a square lounge is a great idea if there isn’t enough room to erect a tent. Adding flooring, furniture and decor create a relaxed and modern feeling.
Under the tent
Once the exhibit tent is established, it is time to create a story under the tent that tells the bride more about what the company provides. If space allows, add a table set complete with linen, tabletop, chairs and centerpiece. The addition of a high-top table, chandeliers and lighting complete the picture. It is wise to avoid the temptation of trying to stuff every item the company has for rent into the space. Careful selection of complementary items that complete a vignette, including the most requested items for weddings, create possibilities for brides and grooms, even if the setting is not exactly what they may want.
Underneath the small-scale tent that inspires a bride and groom visually, you only need to add a sales representative with passion and comfortable shoes to provide the welcome that accompanies the product.