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How One Photographer is Using ‘Fake Weddings’ To Market Her Business

By Hanssie on August 10th 2015

In addition to the typical aspects of the wedding photography business – finding your style, building your brand, all the technical details from lighting, gear, settings, etc – you have to find ways to get your business in front of the eyes of the right people (i.e. engaged couples). Marketing can be a confusing, frustrating, and definitely time-consuming process. It’s a constant struggle to find new ways to stand out from the sea of wedding photographers in the industry.

One common marketing technique for wedding photographers are bridal shows. Bridal shows theoretically sounds like an ideal place to find your target market, right? Hundreds, even thousands, of brides-to-be under one roof, looking for wedding vendors for her wedding. And while some find huge success doing a bridal show, there are just as many wedding photographers that have been disappointed after investing in a booth.


Image via screenshot

Wedding photographer Callie Murray took the bridal show concept out of the horribly lit, trade show floor setting and gave it a creative twist. In 2008, Callie started The Big Fake Wedding (which used to be called The NotWedding). Inviting wedding vendors to come and show off their wares, a real-life married couple to come renew their vows, and brides and grooms-to-be as the guests, Callie’s inaugural event was a huge success. Guests enjoy dinner, a ceremony, and a dance reception and are able to “truly experience the wedding vendors in action.”

“We have three goals: Inspire brides and grooms to do something different, support small businesses, and encourage a solid and committed marriage,” LaBruce Trammell tells Yahoo. LaBruce was one of the “fake wedding” couples and was later hired on as a marketing director for the company.

Tickets cost $25 per person, which are exchanged for invitations when they arrive. Once there, the guests watch a real vow renewal ceremony and experience the work of about 30 local wedding vendors in an entire fake wedding day. The concept has grown to over 30 events in 25 different cities each year and attracts over 6,000 guests. Each event has a theme and vendors receive an inspiration board with a color scheme and “mood setting song to listen to while they plan. From there the vendors can let their imaginations run wild and show off their creativity.

Check out a video from one of The Big Fake Wedding events below:

Kudos to Callie and her team for thinking outside of the box, finding a way to market her business, other local businesses, and inspire brides and grooms around the nation. It sounds like a fun event and though I’m not getting married anytime soon, I might consider crashing one of these fake weddings for the good food and dance party.

What are some creative ways you market your business? Share it with us by leaving a comment below.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Stephen Jennings

    Definitely a cool and different idea, I like it. This year I decided to do a wedding show, get a booth and such .. I was told I was 518 on the waiting list. Everyone is a photographer… just bought a d300? Congrats, you’re a professional. So it’s great to see people thinking outside the box to stand out from the masses.

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  2. Gustavo Urena

    Wao! just wao.

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  3. Peter Nord

    Must be a law of nature that any business has room for someone with imagination.

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    • Colin Woods

      Yup, stop following the crowd. Hats of to this idea, I hope she gets filthy rich from it.

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