Are you in the beginning stages of planning your wedding? Going to a Wedding Show can help you through one of the most important periods of your life in so many ways. This is one of the reasons why a well-structured event is important to ensure that the brides-to-be are well informed and that they leave this event feeling as if they have gained information to start the planning of the most important day of their lives.
I had the pleasure of going behind the scenes and chit chat with a creative Power House, event planner and coordinator, our very own: Mr. Jelani Fleming.
- Jelani can you share with us a bit of your background and your journey as one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the industry?
I started doing decorations back in 2010 while still going to school. At the time, it was just a hobby being practiced with a friend but rapidly turned into a money-making activity. In 2013 I obtained my final and highest degree in French public school in Economic & social affairs. Determined to be independent and one day become an entrepreneur, I refused to further my studies abroad so I stayed on Saint-Martin and continued to practice what became a passion. Later on, I registered my business and eventually opened my office and showroom ‘Exquisite Designs & Decorations Showroom and Party essentials’ in Marigot, Saint-Martin on my 21st Birthday.
- This is your second Bridal Expo. What was your inspiration behind creating this concept for our market?
To be quite honest Kenty, in 2016 I participated in one on the Dutch side of the island and the quickly planted a seed in me because I felt like an event like this was missing for the French side of the island although there was one that existed some years ago but local businesses were not on the forefront. My first attempt was very small, at the Showroom with one just six or seven different business exhibiting their work on a Wednesday afternoon. As you mentioned in the intro, on a lush island like Saint-Martin where tourist travels for hours to come here to host destination weddings, it is imperative that our locals are able to enjoy and benefit of hosting such events as well. I challenged myself to take it up a notch to offer a more complete exhibition for Brides-to-be, to enlighten them on one end but to also allow local businesses catering to the wedding industry and opportunity to showcase what they offer at very affordable prices.
- We are busy rebuilding our country after the devastation of Irma. What has been your experience in terms of weddings during these difficult challenging economic times?
Very impressive to have witnessed but little over a month after Hurricane Irma struck us, people were still getting married. I did not expect for the event industry, especially the wedding niche to pick up its pace so rapidly. In an effort to be profitable to all clients, our services are analyzed and adjusted to fit one’s budget.
- What is the biggest difference that you can point out between planning the very first expo and this one?
The biggest difference between the first edition and this one will be the great demand both for businesses looking to market their services, but also persons anticipating to get married and seeking information as to where & how to start planning their wedding day.
- Being an event planner myself, I know that although you may think of all possible scenarios, things are not always under your control. How do you prepare for the unexpected?
This question makes me giggle! You sure know how that goes and as I always tell my clients no matter how much in advance we start planning or how well we have organized – there’s a tendency of having at least one glitch. To resolve these type of unexpected situations, I go by the ideology of cultivating patience and staying positive. Essentially for outdoor events, a plan B and plan C are often established and placed on standby for nearly all services that can go wrong on the grand day.
- The community has always been supportive of your organization and its projects. What is their feedback this time around?
The community has always been supportive indeed, on both sides of the island and for that I am entirely thankful not only to them but also to The Man above. The feed backs about “The Wedding Galore Exhibition” are actually positive and encouraging. A lot of people are interested but hesitant because they aren’t getting married anytime soon or still searching for a partner. The encouraging part is, although the event primarily focuses on weddings, it doesn’t limit anyone from attending or from benefiting of the exhibited services/products for any other private events (eg: birthday party, photo shoot, baby shower, ect.)
- If I was a bride to be that was skeptical to attend your event because I consider it a waste of my time. What would you say about your event that would make me change my mind?
The most efficient encouragement would be the different advantages offered during the event. On that night, the participating businesses will be offering exclusive discounts, even complimentary services, through an on-spot booking procedure with a small deposit requirement. Other than that, the admission is only 5 Euros or 5 US Dollars and there are also a number of free advantages once in the event.
- You are known for thinking outside of the box. What are some of the things that we can expect to see that are nontraditional at the event?
To say the least, with our choice of venue for the event being a very common event hall, even for these type of events, we intend to set-up in a unique manner, while setting a very soothing wedding ambiance.
- Will there be any live entertainment available?
Indeed there will be some live entertainment. A fashion is also put in place to offer a glance of what gowns are offered on the island, displaying the perfect fits, right choice of colors and styles.
- Just like me, you believe strongly in partnerships and collaborations in order to make a success of any event. Who are some of the key partners you have joined forces for the Wedding Galore?
With the economic restraints left and right after a slow ending of 2017 with little to no revenue for a lot of businesses, I was not able to collaborate with many but thankfully a few responded positively and I am utterly thankful. My gratitude goes out to Shop4Less NV, Case Abaka flowershop, CD Rankins, Malaïka Maxwell Fleming’s Carpet and your person – Kerai Kreative style. Your simple gesture of using this platform also plays a key role in marketing “The Wedding Galore Exhibition”.
- Which are some of the new vendors that we can look forward to bringing something different to the event.
I would prefer not mentioning any if I cannot mention all, but there will be businesses categorized from Well-being & beauty, food & beverage, attire & accessories, decorations, event planners, sound & lights, entertainment and much more…
- We are less than a week for this event to take place. Where can we get tickets and is there availability still?
There are nearly no more tickets available to purchase but should anyone be interested, I can be reached on +590 690 222.181 or +1721 581-2001. A few tickets are still available from the participating businesses (see businesses on event page www.facebook.com/EXDDEP).
- Can we look forward to another edition of wedding galore later in 2018?
The 2018 edition of the Wedding Galore Exhibition is already in the pipeline as this one was actually postponed from October 2017 due to the damages caused by the Hurricanes.
- Ultimately what is your core objective and vision with this bridal expo?
The ultimate objective for this edition is giving everyone, both vendors and attendees, and affordable opportunity to put out what they offer but also grasp exceptional deals and unbeatable prices for their wedding day whether organized by Exquisite Designs & Decorations or another company.
- Any final words to our readers?
"In closing, I thank you once more for openly offering me this opportunity to enlighten your readers about ‘The Wedding Galore Exhibition’ taking place on Saturday, March 3rd 2018 at Belair Community Center from 7:00PM – 12:00AM (midnight). I am encouraging everyone to attend whether single, married, planning a wedding or fanatic of weddings/events. This is a one-stop shop primarily for weddings but also beneficial for practically any private event".
I can express how proud I am of this young entrepreneur and that I look forward to an evening that will be filled with versatility and that will truly be an experience for everyone that attends. make sure to contact The Wedding Galore Exhibition team for your tickets this coming Saturday, March 3rd!