Ah.. just as wedding season is closing, so begins Bridal Show/ Booking season. Many wedding professionals, including yours truly, will be setting up booths at local bridal shows in hopes of meeting great couples and filling in the few remaining dates for the current year before wedding season is yet again upon us. When we first started setting up for bridal shows, I’m not going to lie.. I was nervous! I have to talk and “sell ourselves” to how many people?! I remember attending a few shows when we were getting married and it was so overwhelming!
Over the past years, I’ve made it one of our goals to be the opposite of a standard, typical wedding show vendor. Many times if you come up to talk with us, one of the first things I’ll say is “I’m a photographer, not a salesperson”. There’s nothing worse than listening to a crappy sales pitch from anyone when you either have no idea what the product or service is or are no longer in the market for said item. We also attempt for practical, yet fun “forget-me-nots” aka show schwag. Lastly the decor. With each new year of shows, we aspire to do something a little different in our decor. What we didn’t realize was the inspiration that our tiny detailed touches would make on attendees. I hope we can keep inspiring some folks with each show we participate in! So with all the gray area of bridal shows, I wanted to share some tips before heading out and things to keep in mind while you’re there.
1. Wedding Only Email Address and Pre-Printed Labels. When registering for a bridal show, all of the vendors, interested or not, do receive your contact information and you’ll most likely know when the list was shared due to your inbox being filled faster than a coffee cup at Starbucks. Many vendors and wedding planning sites highly recommend to set up a wedding only email address. Speaking from experience, we had one vendor who is no longer around, contact us well after our wedding date despite the unsubscribe and “Please stop sending us information” emails. Preprinted labels will save you a huge chunk of time filling out giveaway forms which most booths have. In most cases, your name, phone number and that wedding only email address is usually all that is needed, however we’ve seen address labels used as well. You could also save yourself from hand cramps by designating your MOH or mother as the Entry Form Diva… don’t forget their sash and crown of course!
2. Do Your Research Ahead of Time. Most shows offer a website or some sort of listing of which vendors are attending. If on the hunt for a DJ, check out their facebook, blogs, or website in advance to start narrowing down your “must see” list at the show. Also highly, highly, highly recommended to check out reviews on vendors regardless of attending the show or staying home in your PJ’s. Reviews are fantastic, usually raw, responses from previous couples who have booked the vendor. On most sites, vendors can only dispute or file complaints on reviews, yet cannot have a bad one removed.
3. Be Leery of “Today Only” Show Specials. We’ve never understood why some vendors choose the “Book today and save… or Book today and we’ll….”. Today only specials, wedding show or not, is not something that we believe in. You’re not purchasing a toaster, you’re making a huge investment in each other with a celebration of your love with family and friends. We recommend regardless of which vendor you’re shopping for, interview multiple for comparison. It’s also easy to get hooked on looking for the lowest cost vendor, however the service standards, overall product, and your experience may differ across the board. Regardless of vendor, your search should lead you to professionals that not only match or compliment your style, but match your personalities. This is especially true for venues, coordinators or planners, photographers, and DJ’s- those that you spend a large chunk of your actual wedding day with.
4. Have fun. Taste the snacks, sip the wine, and eat the cake even if you have a caterer. Attend the fashion shows, they’re great to start getting an idea of the newer styles. Soak in the sample decor and flowers, who knows what inspiration you may find. Lastly smile! No one likes a grumpy bride:)
I hope you may have found some insight in our show tips and if heading out be sure to stop by and say hello! See below for where we’re at this winter!
January 19- Unveiled, Clarion Hotel, New Cumberland
January 26- Best Wedding Showcase, Lancaster Marriot Convention Center
February 9- Weddings In Style, Blue Ridge Country Club, Harrisburg
February 26- The Elegance Behind the Bride, AACA Museum, Hershey