Today I want to talk about something a little closer to home for us here at I Do.

As you know, we host large scale wedding exhibitions four times a year and promote local wedding suppliers like you to couples getting married. We’re asked time and time again from suppliers who’ve never done the show before or even just want a refresher, what’s the best way to dress my stand?
So, with the exhibition season getting closer, it’s a great time to start thinking about how you’re going to come across at not only our wedding shows, but any wedding fayre you showcase your services at.
Let’s face it, in no time at all, the wedding planning season will be back in full swing and time will slip away so quickly that, before you know it, the shows will be here.
As a graphic designer of 20 plus years, I have witnessed at all of our shows, the variety of different layouts, styles and themes of the stand design that suppliers have chosen at our wedding exhibitions.
We have had photographers and photobooth companies create a living room in their stand, venues laying laminate flooring and bringing furniture and plants from the venue to recreate the hotel, decor companies backing their walls with twinkle curtains, bringing 2-metre-high trees to give the instant wow factor, then to the more simply styled stands who opt for a clean look to showcase their cakes, stationery and jewellery. The list is endless.

The one thing to remember is, on the day of the show, your stand is your shop front with 1000’s of potential buyers walking past. Your stand needs to shine brighter than the rest and there’s no room for error. This is your one chance to grab a couple’s’ attention.

Just imagine, if you had a shop on the high street and was told you were going to have 1000’s of potential customers in one day visiting, you would do everything in your power to make sure your shop was in tip top condition.
A show is no different. This can make or break your entire day! 
Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing and hopefully lead you on the right path to having a knock-out stand.

Basics of the stand
I’m sure you know by now, but just in case, a shell scheme stand is effectively a metal framed booth with panels to create your own shop front style window to promote your business within.
Most shell schemes are either a white plastic or have Velcro friendly panels. At the I Do Wedding Exhibitions, we use the Velcro friendly option. This gives the exhibitor more freedom to attach Velcro printed panels, pictures and other things to them. It also means you can then reuse them for future exhibitions.

Designing the backdrop
There are many ways of covering a shell scheme stand; this can range from designed & printed panels, wallpapering to material and twinkle curtain backdrops. 
Top tip – If you’re going to be showcasing lots of different ideas that need to be seen, avoid a fussy backdrop. Remember, more isn’t always more.
For example, a clean simple logo in the centre of your shell panels can really compliment a product. You do not want to take the attention away from your products with an over fussy design as potential customers won’t know where to look if your backdrop is overpowering. This can then result in them walking away from your stand as they don’t know what to think.

Also, remember that if you opt for panels that are printed, not to treat them as a leaflet, by cramming as much information on as possible to get your money’s worth out of them. It will not work. I say this as I have designed many panels, with the best ones opting for the simpler design.
If, however you are an entertainer, Photo Booth, DJ, or a supplier who generally offers something that excites your potential customer and is a fun product/service, a brighter, more patterned backdrop would work well as it will help create a livelier stand to draw the customer’s eye.

This is one of the areas that is always missed by exhibitors. I do see some venues opting for a dance floor or laminated flooring within their stand space, which looks great and really finishes off the look. However, most people overlook this.
So why not think about the flooring and go for something to compliment your product. This could be laminate, carpet, fake grass, a dance floor; just remember you need to make sure it’s not a trip hazard and secure it correctly.

Accessorising your stand
It’s a great idea to find a space and mark out the size of your stand ahead of the show. This will give you a good idea of the area you have to use.
From here, you can set up how you want the stand to look, and it will also give you the flexibility to swap and change things around, so you have no nasty surprises on the day. It’s never a good idea to just turn up at the show in the hope that what you have put in the car will work. 9 times out of 10 you will wish you had sorted this before; this only leads to a bad start to the day.
There is a whole host of options if you need to display your products; for example, a cake company may opt for tables and white cloths with a simple tiered system to display their cakes. Similarly, a jeweller may display their jewellery cabinets in this way.
Some companies bring furniture to create a look of their venue. Decor companies may opt to dress a round table and chairs in their stand to showcase a wedding theme. A magician may opt for nothing but a leaflet stand so they can perform magic tricks to passing potential customers. Bridal companies may opt to bring mannequins to fill their stand with different styles of gowns.
It really is the opposite of a one size fits all approach and what may work for one supplier, won’t be correct for you. We wouldn’t usually advise that bridal companies have a large table in their stand for example, as they have long flowing dresses to display. A large trestle table would just cut off prime space.
It’s a good idea to Google Shell Scheme designs; you can get some great ideas from the web and it’s a great place to start your research. We also have a few images of past stands to send you to show you what other suppliers have done before.
If you are booked into one of our shows and would like some free design advice on dressing your stand, please call and ask to speak to Me, Heather. I will be happy to give you advice and ideas for your stand design and if you want panels designing and printing, I can help with that too!