Participating in a bridal show is a costly venture. The registration, booth design, giveaways and marketing really add up. So, how do you get the most bang for your buck and walk away with leads that can be converted to clients? Below are some factors that are important when considering bridal shows.
Most traditional wedding shows will provide you with a map when you register so that you can choose your booth location based on what size booth you are reserving. Make sure you choose a high traffic area, and that your neighbors are conducive to having conversations with couples. Avoid being placed next to a loud DJ or next to someone who is a direct competitor.
Your booth will usually come standard with pipe and drape, a long table and a chair. Do not leave the table across the front and sit! My recommendation if you simply want to work with what you have is to move the table to the back, set it with amazing linens and décor that reflects your brand. Display real weddings in a portfolio, either framed, in a book on a screen or tablet.
Booth design can become very expensive, so find rental companies and florists who would donate or discount their services to decorating your booth.
You want to get as many couples as possible to opt in to receiving more information from you in the future. I like to have a drawing for some sort of prize that they know will also sign them up for my mailing list. Make sure the drawing item is a no strings attached prize, I usually get a gift certificate to a nice restaurant.
You should try to set up future consultations with couples who seem really interested. Have a calendar on hand and set those appointments as soon as possible. Couples are excited after shows. They have all sorts of inspiration and information which makes it the perfect time to sit down with them while they are in wedding planning mode.
Connecting With Vendors
Bridal shows are a perfect time to connect with other vendors. Take some time to go around and introduce yourself. Just make sure it is during a slow time and that someone is manning your booth!
The show producers will be marketing the event to couples, but it does not hurt to utilize your own marketing efforts to maximize the number of booth visitors you have. Write about the event on your blog, email your list, and blast it on social media.
You may have couples on your mailing list who have contacted you for information or have opted into your mailing list but have yet to book an appointment. A bridal show is a perfect place for them to stop by and meet you without the pressure of a one-on-one meeting. So send them an invitation! This is a great time to get those couples off the fence and into a consultation.
Post Show Marketing
If you have an e-guide or something you send to couples that opt in to your mailing list, send that out immediately to all the people who gave you contact info at the show. If possible, send handwritten notes to brides who you really connected with and the vendors you would like to forge relationships with.
Find Alternatives to Traditional Bridal Shows
If traditional bridal shows are not working for you, think about finding alternatives. In my area there has been a rise in wedding tours. Instead of ballrooms filled with vendors, a county, or town will set up multiple venues as though it is a wedding. Couples will spend the day touring venues and meet the vendors involved with the design.
What has been your experience with bridal shows? Do you find them to be successful for booking weddings?
Today’s post is a guest post from Amber Peterson. Amber is the owner of Cheers Wedding & Event Planning in western Washington. She has a Masters Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and previously worked as a marketing consultant for wedding industry professionals. Amber is also the co-founder of the Skagit Wedding Society.