Working a Wedding Bridal Show :: part 1

wedding booth

I received some questions from a reader who is about to embark on her FIRST Bridal Show. Sweet!

This blog post won’t get into the controversy of whether you should actually participate in bridal shows or not. EVERY market is different.  For us, a few of the elite bridal shows work well. Yes, they are exhausting but the way we go about it, people (vendors and clients) remember our booth FOR YEARS. We closed the deal with a bride this year who visited our booth 2 years ago! We can work a bridal show….

So here are a few best practices that we have found work well if you decide to participate in a bridal show:

  1. Create a dramatic affect. I think that most event professionals concentrate so much on their booth collateral that they skimp on the actual “booth decor”. You have seconds to capture someone’s attention. You want them to stop and say “Oooooohhh” and walk into your booth. Use color, texture, unusual seating arrangements. Make the most of your space and make sure it is open to draw people in. NEVER stand behind a table. Put your visuals behind you and talk/meet/greet your new client. Create your own banner with your logo. Rent linens to cover the white skirted table. BE DIFFERENT and plan ahead!
  2. Staff your booth. Do not work your booth by yourself, even if you are a single person operation. When first starting out, I actually paid friends who were in the “sales” field to help me at my booth. I didn’t care whether they knew about event planning or not. They knew how to talk to people and draw them in. You must have 2-3 people. Remember there are bathroom breaks, food breaks, etc. You never want your booth to be empty.
  3. Show up early. Take the time to network with other vendors before the show starts. This is an opportunity to get face-to-face time with many vendors, which is priceless. Help them with their setup if you are already completed. Don’t miss this easy networking opportunity.
  4. Offer a giveaway. But hopefully the giveaway can lead to more business. For instance, we gave away a “head table decor” once…. with the thought that the design consult would lead us to designing the whole event. Or just giveaway something fun! We offered tickets to see “Bride Wars” when the movie was just coming out. It went over so well!!! Talk to local businesses and see if they will give away a free night at a hotel in *trade for a promotion at your booth. *Be sure to talk to the bridal show producers, sometimes they won’t allow this.

Come back tomorrow for FOUR  more tips on working Bridal Shows.

Happy Selling!