Here comes the bridal expo

Over 3000 people attended a weekend-long bridal expo at Oakfield Farm in Muldersdrift on the 29th of June where over 150 exhibitors showcased their wedding services.  

“It’s Gauteng’s biggest bridal expo,” said Siann Upton, Oakfield’s marketing director of seven years, who organized the entire event. With 72 acres of gardens and fields Oakfield Farm has more than enough space to host a massive annual expo to make every bride’s dreams come true.

Twenty-two years ago, Upton said, Oakfield started hosting a small open day for engaged couples, which eventually evolved into a large bridal expo. The event usually occurs in January and June. The summer expo attracts around 6000 people, she said.

More people showed up to this winter expo in comparison to previous years. “We spent more money on marketing this time,” said Upton.  

Members of Oakfield Farm start organizing the event months prior to its occurrence, said Greta Ogborne, Oakfield’s brand manager, and it takes two weeks to set everything up.

This June event started at 10 am and required a R100 entrance fee. The expo housed clothing sales and food and drink services.

“It’s all for the brides,” said Ogborne. “They need to plan their big day, and this gives them the opportunity to explore everything they need all in one place.” It is a combination that is sure to ward off bridezilla symptoms and pre-wedding anxiety.

Ingrid Vorster, who went to the expo out of curiosity, said she was surprised at how big the event was. “It had all the services for a wedding under one umbrella,” she said. Vorster wished that she had known about such expos before she had her own wedding.   

Some might think that this event is only for those who say “I do,” but it also secures potential clients for businesses that organize weddings. Hermione Ballinger, from a wedding and events magazine, said that her business secured over 100 new clients within three hours at the expo. The exhibitors were dress designers, décor managers, photographers, lawyers and others.

“Our exhibitors come from small businesses,” said Ogborne, “and this expo helps them get their name out there.”

Ilze Fourie advertised the Farm Inn Estate at the expo to showcase their wedding venue and said that they had gotten many leads at previous Oakfield events. “It’s good leads. It’s not just people passing by,” she said. “It’s definitely worth our while.”    

“We get fully booked,” said Cheree Pritchard, a baker from Jeanette’s Cake Creations. This company has baked wedding cakes as high as 1.1 meters tall and has been attending the Oakfield expo for over two years. At an expo like this, Pritchard said, people can share ideas and businesses can develop partnerships. “A nice web connection is formed as you get to meet new people that might lend you a helping hand if you ever need one.”     

The expo also showcased the talents of DJ’s and musicians. The Blu Earth Marimba Band performed during the weekend’s expo. The band members play marimbas for background music at weddings, said Khabonina Motaung, the band promoter. “We believe in the uniqueness of the marimba instrument,” she said. “It just gives a different vibe to a wedding.”

The Oakfield expo increased the band’s exposure. “We would love to be a go-to band for many functions,” said Motaung, “and Oakfield is the perfect platform to make that happen.”

Oakfield also provided excellent security on their premises. “We have roaming security guards, undercover guards and guards stationed at the entrance,” said Upton. The Oakfield members also took safety measures to ensure that their guests’ vehicles didn’t get stolen.  

“Overall, everything was smooth-sailing,” said Upton.

Oakfield aspires to remain one of the biggest wedding influencers in Gauteng with each annual bridal expo. For more information on the Oakfield Farm, contact their office at info@oakfield.co.za .   

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