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Hiring meeting rooms - can I use one for this?

(11 Posts)
emsyj Wed 27-Jul-11 09:51:19

I am just in the process of setting up an online shop selling wedding dresses. I think there is an online market, but would also like to be able to offer appointments to brides to try them on. Would there be any reason why I couldn't hire a meeting room (say, in a nice hotel) and use it to do the appointments?

I don't want to get a full-time bricks and mortar shop at the moment. This is a part-time hobby business for me (although may develop in future, who knows) and I don't want to risk all our savings heading down the toilet, but I do think that there will be some brides who will want to try before ordering - plus I am conscious of the DSRs being a bit of a pain, so if people could come to me and try then order it might be better.

Any feedback on the idea welcome... I could hire a room for a full day on a Saturday at a very nice hotel nearby for about £100.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 27-Jul-11 12:08:24

Many hotels allow you to actually rent their rooms at half of the B&B rate for the hours between checkout and checkin

privacy, bathroom, mirrors, chairs
I searched Hotel room day rate ....

emsyj Wed 27-Jul-11 18:31:42

Hmmm interesting... Would need to be quite a big room to accommodate the dresses but may be possible to book a suite for a similar price. Although not sure what impression it would give to have appointments in (essentially) a bedroom??

zipzap Wed 27-Jul-11 19:37:27

Tie it in with hotels that are having wedding fairs or exhibitions and then it will all look like you are providing a great service, plus if you do something like that the hotel might be able to do some special deal for you if you do a couple of their wedding fairs and then come back for a few fittings afterwards especially if the couple have chosen the hotel for their wedding...

emsyj Wed 27-Jul-11 19:41:25

There are quite a few hotels round here that are very popular for weddings. Lots to think about!

But there's nothing to stop me from showing dresses, allowing people to try on and then taking orders on the day if I hire a meeting room? I would ask the venue of course (don't want to be sneaky or anything, would be upfront about what I wanted the space for) but just wondered if I was missing some obvious reason why I couldn't do this.

NickNacks Wed 27-Jul-11 19:45:08

Have you thought about how you would divide the meeting room up to give privacy for those changing? Curtains, mirrors, hooks to hang own clothes etc. Individual rooms sound better TBH.

emsyj Wed 27-Jul-11 20:28:58

It depends on the venue - some of them are likely to have better facilities than others, for example some have flexible layouts with folding walls. It will be one bride at a time though, so privacy is probably less an issue than it would be with 'normal' clothing - it is very normal for the assistant to help you into the dress in a bridal shop, although I do want to offer the option to brides to change in private.

Saffra Thu 28-Jul-11 11:39:50

Hi emsyj!

When I was planning my own wedding, I visited a 'wedding dress event' that was held at a local hotel. I think I'd seen it advertised in a local paper or similar. They had hired a meeting/conference room (quite big) and had a range of dresses on rails that you could select from to try on. From memory, they had different areas secured off where you could try on dresses and quite a few members of staff that were on hand to assist (and push the sales!).

Although there was one dress that I quite liked, I didn't want to commit there and then. They were offering discounts but they weren't coming back, so I just let it go.

To make this work, I think you would need offer brides-to-be the option to revisit to try dresses on again/get properly fitted. Also, for me, the venue wasn't quite special enough. So, probably selecting the right venue would be key. I personally would think it odd to visit a suite (and a hotel room, stranger still) to try on a wedding dress. It wouldn't really feel like normal practice and I would be slightly concerned about personal safety!

Saffra Thu 28-Jul-11 11:41:23

I think a nice boutique hotel with smaller meeting rooms that you can dress up accordingly would be the way to go

emsyj Thu 28-Jul-11 20:25:24

Hellooooooo there!!!

Glad to hear this sort of thing actually does happen! I agree that using a hotel room doesn't give the right impression. I would definitely want a meeting room that is clearly part of the public area of the hotel.

There are a few options I can think of - one that would be perfect, but probably very expensive (boo hoo) and one that is a bit further away but looks lovely - Crewe Hall, do you know it?? It looks amazing in the photos - we considered it for our wedding but it was really expensive and we were too tight to pay that sort of money!

It's not boutique though... But it is a very popular wedding venue with lots of rooms and the smaller ones are quite reasonably priced for full and half days.

Suspect I will have to buy a mirror and maybe also some shoes for brides to try. I don't want to end up needing a van though.... Hmm.

Saffra Fri 29-Jul-11 12:09:06

Crewe Hall looks really beautiful - never been there before myself though!

Yes, I think that having lots of suitable 'props' would be a good idea! A full length mirror in a gorgeous rococo (sp?) / vintage-y style would be great. Most definitely shoes and accessories as a bride needs to envisage the final look. I think that being able to control the lighting if you can would also be good (if possible) so perhaps think about avoiding meeting rooms with harsh lighting.

Also, perhaps consider how the meeting room can be laid out to also cater for a possible entourage of mums/bridesmaids/friends too?

I don't suppose it's easy to create that bridal boutique feel, but having certain elements of that (combined with a really attentive personal service) would probably help to make the experience as special as possible.

Just my thoughts anyway!

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