wedding planner 1
A few weeks ago, a question was posted on LinkedIn by a wedding vendor asking for advice for her very first bridal show.  Whether you’re a veteran or a newbie, follow these bridal show tips from real wedding pros to make the most of your experience.

1. Have a booth that stands out from the crowd and announces what you do immediately.

Go VERTICAL if you can because tall booths stand out from across the room.

“Lots of booths look exactly the same and you NEED to stand out because there will be many people in your same industry there.” Sharon Seleb, Real Size Bride

“use a different color drop cloth over the standard linens, turn it on a diagonal. Try something that’s vertical standing at about 2-3′ from the top of the table (lights, candle centerpiece, floral design)” Linda Ruckdeschel, The Bridal Connection

2. Give away something people will want.

Cool freebies and sweets work well.  The idea is to give away something that will draw brides to your booth.  James Clark of A Classic Image Photography suggests decorative, magnetic clothes pins that will hold a business card and letter on pastel paper that can be reused to pin photos on the fridge.   One DJ gave away bobblehead toys that were a huge hit!

Make sure that whatever you give away has your business name and contact information on it for extra promotion, a reminder from Jacqueline Johnson of Marry Caribbean.

3.  Collect your own leads (name, wedding date, email) with a contest at your booth.

Invite brides/grooms to enter a drawing for a valuable prize that has no strings attached.  In other words, they don’t have to book you to use it, because it will attract more entries.

“We exhibited at 4 wedding shows last year and we partnered up with other businesses to give a romantic meal for two plus and overnight stay in a top hotel…entrants [had] to go on to our website and enter a drawing. It was a great success…” Patrick Hardiman, 360 Dublin City

4.  Qualify people immediately when they get to your booth to make sure you’re available and they actually need your services.

“What’s your date? Are you looking for a florist?” If not, wish them well and move on quickly so that you can meet as many people as possible.

“Think about offering a Show Special…some sort of discount or freebie if the book an appointment with you,” Peter Calafiore, Peter James Floral

5.  Set goals.  Go for a meeting rather than trying to book right at the show.

“I have seen folks work for 15 – 30 minutes trying to get one client to sign on the line, and 20 clients walked by…. Talk to as many as you can, do follow up and then set meetings to sign the paperwork and close the sale….” Rev. Richard Kresila, Elyria Wedding Minister

6.  Be friendly, approachable and engage the bride/groom and stand in front of your table.

“Be sure to stand up during the expo and do not cross your arms. You would be amazed at the negative impact such body language has on a bride’s willingness to talk to you.” – Pat Deschler, A Classic Florist

“Be friendly, smile, stand, engage and let them know that you are there to help them find what they are looking for.” Margo Sokol, Beyond Bridal Productions

7.  Bring your own food and water.

Don’t count on getting fed or you could get caught stuffing your face when a bride wants to talk to you.  If you need to take a break, step away from your booth.

“Your voice will get a workout that day. You will be talking a lot, loud and all day. Keep water on hand. Have throat lozenges with you…” Roxanne Buffone, Veils by Roxanne

8.  Stay all the way until the end and don’t leave your booth.

Packing up early looks unprofessional, and there are always couples who come in at the very end.  If you abandon your booth during the bridal show, you’ll miss out on the “quiet time” to speak one on one with the couples who are still browsing.

9.  Network and introduce yourself to as many other wedding pros as possible.

One of the biggest benefits of a bridal show is that it gives you a chance to network with dozens of other wedding vendors.

Arrive extra early so that you can meet new people and reconnect with other pros.  Try to find a way to help them and follow up with them after the show.  This builds relationships that lead to referrals.

10.  After the show, follow up fast!

Most of the work is done after the show.  Send a postcard with an images that reminds brides of your booth, and include a personal note.  Confirm any appointments you’ve set.

Read this article for more about how to follow up with that bridal show lead list.

What’s your best bridal show success tip?

Photo Credit

Tags: , , ,
Posted By

Stephanie Padovani

Stephanie is a Hudson Valley wedding insider, blogger, writer, and wedding business coach. Want to book more weddings at higher prices? Quit dealing with price shoppers? Transform your wedding business so that it supports the life you really want? Look her up! They don't call her the Wedding Business Cheerleader for nothing. :)

View all posts by

Leave a Facebook Comment

20 thoughts on “10 Bridal Show Success Tips from Wedding Pros Who Know”

  1. Robin Kemp says:

    These are great tips and I would use them if I could AFFORD to be a vendor at a bridal show. I just don’t have an extra $450+ to spend since I am a small business and really just getting started. Why must these bridal shows charge so much? Occasionally I come across a show that offers alternative methods to advertise, such as allowing me to send brochures to be distributed to brides, or selling an inexpensive advertising spot on their digital billboard. Not many offer that, but it would certainly help us smaller businesses get in on the action.

    1. Romina pfosi says:

      I feel the same. But what I did was offer to be a vendor at small bridal shops. Florists. Etc and I emailed a huge expo to see if first timers can catch a break. I was offered one for 1/2 off. Trust me. you get your money back with just one booking. I’ve booked 7 weddings for 2017 and I have 5 more shows now. It’s addicting. But have lots of goodies and giveaways. I found that helped. Good luck

      1. Jennifer Roberts says:

        Hi Romina, thank you for sharing some great tips. I’m at the very early stages of my wedding planning business. I don’t have any client yet, no website, and no portfolio.I’ve been wanting to join a bridal show so but most of them are too expensive and I cannot afford to pay a $400+ entry fee yet.

  2. Amie says:

    Great article Stephanie! It can be very difficult to stand out at exhibitions, with so many stands trying to grab potential customers attention. I really like your tip on going vertical!! Another great way of getting peoples attention is by using a professional graphic designer to design you some eye catching displays.

    1. Jennifer Roberts says:

      I love your advice! Thank you

  3. Christopher says:

    Lovely advice…really appreciate it :)

  4. christine brown says:

    Thank you for the ideas for the bridal show I will be doing my first show in January 17,18 of 2015 and I am excited.

    1. Breanna says:

      Would this Bridal Show happen to be in Louisville, KY? As I will also be attending a bridal show on this date.

  5. Incredible and awesome ideas loved that, nice post

  6. Correction from my post, I meant to say do not use the temporary signage provided by the show promoters.

  7. This is a great article. I especially like #6. I cannot tell you how much of a difference it makes to come from behind the table and enter act more with the show guests. This goes for any expo. I see it so often that vendors stay behind the table with a barrier between them and potential clients, or they are sitting a chair. I also would like to add that if you are going to be doing many shows to invest in good business signage and do use the temporary one that the show promoter provided just for your to help fine your spot. Good signage, hung high. I was once told that you might have paid for a 10 X 10 booth, but the area above your booth is free, so use it. Thanks again for a great article.

  8. Jamie says:

    A great article Stephanie and I can see how it would be difficult to stand out, particularly at a bridal show. In terms of give-aways, I think not only should they draw customers to your booth but also make them remember you when they get home. There is a lot of weight on the freebies you include. Networking is most definitely key but do you think the choice of staff is also important? I really like the point you make about collecting leads through a contest.

  9. Get Carrier bags printed with your logo and company details to give to your couples .
    I always see the poor brides struggling with hundreds of flyers and pamphlets.
    By making their life easier on the expo day will guarantee that they remember you!

  10. Cheryl Phillips says:

    I find that making something like an interesting corsage or buttonhole often encourages people to come into your stall. They are more comfortable because they do not think that you are going to pounce on them.

    1. Thanks for sharing this idea, Cheryl!

  11. Excellent Advise Thank you….

  12. One of the tips mentioned giving away something people want. I’ve been doing this for a few years now. While most other vendors at the show give away chocolate kisses or mints on their table, I give away lip balm with our company info on it. It goes to everyone who uses our Photobooth at the Bridal Show or who takes time to talk to me and seems like a promising lead. Think about it, lip balm is something that many women will use, it has our name, phone, and website on it, and best part of all, it lasts for several months! Those chocolates are gone in 15 seconds.

  13. Paul Finney says:

    Thank you for this article! Some of these pointers are so simple it makes me think “how could I have not thought of that!” Thank you so much, I will be using a lot of these at my next show!

  14. Te says:

    Thanks for the great advice. I’m doing my first show on the 10th of March. I am super excited

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *