354MC Professional Photographic Portfolio – Networking Opportunity at That Alternative Wedding Fair

On Saturday 18th April 2015, I attended That Alternative Wedding Fair that was held at the Fargo Creative Village in Coventry with my friend and peer Jenny Stonely. Over the weekend there was due to be up to 30 different stalls that were all showcasing their work in association with the Wedding Industry, and I therefore thought that this would be a very good opportunity to network and find out more about the Industry I wish to go into after university. Below you will therefore be able to find a record of my experience at That Alternative Wedding Fair, along with a brief reflection and photographs from the trip:

 

That Alternative Wedding Fair Website – http://www.thatalternativeweddingfair.com

That Alternative Wedding Fair Facebook Page – /That-Alternative-Wedding-Fair

 

That Alternative Wedding Fair Experience: 

During our experience at That Alternative Wedding Fair, as I knew that it was going to be a very beneficial opportunity for me to network, I decided to walk round each of the stalls and have a conversation with the stall holders regarding their business, before taking away one of their business cards. When talking to each of these individuals, from a variety of sectors within the Wedding Industry, I also decided to explain why I was there (looking for contacts and information surrounding the Wedding Industry) before providing them with further information surrounding my career path goals (becoming a Wedding Planner), in case they could kindly provide me with any advice or further contacts.

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When introducing myself to each of the stall holders, although they were all incredibly friendly and willing to have a conversation with me, as with most networking events, there were obviously certain individuals that were more beneficial to me than others in terms of reaching my networking and career goals.

The first individual that I met, who I thought was very helpful in terms of the advice and information she provided me, was Lydia Sarjeant from Coppola’s Occasional Headwear (http://www.coppolas.co.uk). After spending time discussing with her the creation and progression of her business within the Wedding Industry, I then went on to explain the reasoning’s behind my visit to this particular fair. Taking an interest in my future career path plan, Lydia then suggested that this was a good way to find contacts that I could use as vendors within my Wedding Planning business and identified with my passion and interest for getting into the Wedding Industry. Suggesting that this industry was very competitive, Lydia then provided me with advice in setting up a blog dedicated to my interest in the industry and proposed that, once my blog was up and running, she would be willing to participate in a feature on my blog, creating a mutually beneficial opportunity for both of our businesses. After exchanging business cards, I then said that I would most definitely get in contact with her (probably towards the end of my degree course/over the summer), and thanked her for her time.

The next individual that I met was Sharon Lyttle from Satin & Tat. Alternative and Vintage Style Wedding Stationary (http://www.satinandtat.co.uk). Similar to the discussion that I had with Lydia from Coppola’s Occasional Headwear, after spending time talking to Sharon regarding the creation and progression of her business within the Wedding Industry, I then went on to explain the reasoning’s behind my visit to this particular fair. We then spent time having a more relaxed conversation about ourselves as individuals and towards the end of our friendly chat, decided to exchange business cards in order to allow us to get in contact with each other in the future. Apologizing for the “incorrect” branding on my business cards (as it is still depicting my Photography business rather than my future Wedding career path), Sharon then said that her business was expanding from Wedding stationary to branding for particular businesses and individuals. After briefly discussing some of the packages she could provide me, I once again thanked her for her time and advice and said that I would get in contact with her towards the end of my degree.

Finally, the next individual that I managed to meet (after talking to her assistant) was Donna Preece, from Donna Preece Photo Studios (http://www.irisaperture.co.uk), who organized the whole of That Alternative Wedding Fair. Complimenting her on the success of the event, Donna then said that it was the first event she had actually put together (making the smooth running and the success of the event that much more impressive!). Differing from the other two individuals discussed above, as Donna was a very busy woman, I decided to briefly tell her the reasoning’s behind my visit to the event and my “big picture” future career path plan, incase she could offer me any advice or information before she had to rush off. Pointing out the fact that our future career paths were very similar (hence the organization of this particular event), Donna then suggested that she would be willing to discuss the event, her career path and any information surrounding the Wedding Industry, in more detail if I send her an email. Taking one of her business cards, I then told her that I would do exactly that, and congratulated her on her first event, before leaving the stall and allowing her to continue with the successful organization of the show.

 

A Brief Reflection:

Looking back at the networking experience that That Alternative Wedding Fair offered me, I think it’ safe to say that it has not only been incredibly beneficial for my future career path, but has also provided a couple of individuals from the Industry with opportunities in the future (including exposure and possible clients). Meeting approximately 12 different people from varying aspects of the Wedding Industry not only allowed me to gain information and contacts from this specific area, but also allowed me to gain a greater understanding as to the range of businesses that are incorporated in the planning of a Wedding, that has provided me with useful information for my “big picture” career plan. Similar to the experience that I had at Kleinfeld’s Bridal in New York, this opportunity has just made me even more passionate about the future career path that I have chosen to follow.

 

A HUGE thank you to Donna Preece and the Stall holders at That Alternative Wedding Fair. x

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