Grace Notes: Experiencing the Whirlwind of a Wedding Fair

On Sunday February 8th, I attended a Wedding Fair at the beautiful Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire with Horizon String Quartet. We had a stall there and were hoping to make some new contacts. I’d never been to a Wedding Fair before, so I had no idea what to expect.

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Horizon String Quartet

Our day started early, meeting at North Greenwich at 7am! We were more than a tad groggy! After travelling across London to Watford and getting a taxi to the hotel we could finally relax and set up. We had a great spot in the Foyer of the hotel which meant we were one of the first things people saw so we grabbed their attention.

We set up so that we were sat in normal quartet formation, with a table alongside us. We had a laptop with our website on it so people could have a look, flyers, business cards, prices, repertoire and a bowl of sweets (these went down particularly well….). I think when we do our next fair, we’ll not have the laptop as it didn’t seem to attract that much attention and took up a fair amount of space.

Having never attended one of these before we weren’t sure whether playing or talking was the best approach. On the one hand, if people could hear us playing, they’d hopefully be impressed and hire us, but because we were playing it meant that we couldn’t answer any questions. On the other however, if we did more talking than playing, we wouldn’t jump out to the visitors as much and so might not attract as many potential customers. After an hour or so, we came to the conclusion that playing short pieces was the best option as we could talk from our seats in between pieces.

I wasn’t prepared for the sheer numbers of people either. They all seemed to come in waves too. One minute we’d be sat or stood around twiddling our thumbs, and then the next all four of us would be talking to someone, describing the ensemble.

We have a fantastic arrangement of ‘Let It Go’ by our first violinist and this proved particularly popular with children. It was requested many many times! Using our list of repertoire, people could request pieces they’d like to hear and this gave us a really good idea of what the public like. Often players like different things to non-musicians. For example, Pachelbel’s Canon was requested a large number of times, but as a string player it doesn’t rank high on my list of favourite tunes! It was a good bit of market research though, so now we know next time which tunes to concentrate on. We also found that although at weddings light classical music is often preferred, the pop arrangements of artists like Coldplay and Clean Bandit caught people’s attention and made them stop at our stand.

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One of the function rooms at The Grove (I do not own this image)

I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this Wedding Fair at The Grove. Everyone was really nice, and aside from the early start, it was all pretty relaxed and fun. I’m looking forward to our next one on March 8th at the Marriot in Regents Park. Would be great to see you if you’re in the area!

On a side note, this week is the start of the annual fortnight of CoLab at Trinity Laban. There is so much going on at both the Laban and Trinity buildings over the next couple of weeks including a pub crawl on Thursday (featuring my project the Ceilidh Band) and a showcase of projects on the Friday night of this week at Laban. If you are in the area and at a loss of what to do, check out the Trinity Laban website to see what events are going on! I can promise that it’ll be something completely different to anything you’ve ever seen before!

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