Sure, bridal shows are where the brides hang out. That makes them a premiere opportunity to get found and booked.

But what if you hate bridal shows? Or what if you’re tired of risking your hard-earned money for a wedding show that may or may not deliver?

Attending a bridal show certainly isn’t for everyone. Here’s something those show producers won’t tell you:

You can generate higher quality leads by collecting them yourself.

Feast your eyes on these alternatives to traditional wedding shows that can attract higher quality leads.

#1 – Hitch a ride in the swag bag.

Couples who register for a wedding show usually get a “swag bag” full of gifts and flyers upon registration.

Check with the bridal show producer to see if you can include an offer in the gift bag instead of paying for a booth.

Here’s how one wedding pro does it:

Nick from Nix Images no longer attends these shows in person. Instead, he pays a much smaller fee to have his printed information added to the bridal gift bags distributed to every bride.

He gets his business in front of the 400-450 brides who receive the bag upon registration.

After the show, they sort through the cards they’ve collected from vendors…along with the ones that came “pre-stuffed” in the bag…and many end up contacting him.

“What’s interesting is that many of the brides who contacted me say that they liked my display at the show,” Nick says. “Well, I wasn’t at the show! My 6×8 glossy cards were stuffed in the information bags.”

The organizer charges a fraction of the cost to stuff the cards into the bags and some pros get a better response than actually being there.

If you can design a postcard that gets results, this can be an effective, low cost alternative to getting quality leads from a bridal show.

#2 – Attend a venue tasting event.

Where else can you find a gathering of newly engaged couples?

At a venue tasting or open house!

In some markets, venues and caterers invite newly engaged couples to a menu tasting. The couples get to pick their favorites for the wedding menu and sample what it’s like to attend the venue as a guest.

YOU can attend as well! Simply volunteer your services to the venue.

DJs can provide background music and lighting. Photographers and videographers can take engagement photos/videos. Florists can provide the centerpieces.

When you make the venue look good, it builds your relationship with them. Plus, you get an introduction to couples who will soon be hiring a service like yours.

#3 – Host your own bridal fashion event.

If you’re sick of all the competition at the bridal shows, host your own!

Partner with a bridal shop to do an invitation-only fashion event. Gather your favorite team of professionals so that each of you can show off your strengths. This approach worked like gangbusters for Wedding Superhero Jamie Brewer.

You might also host it at an exclusive venue or hold a “mock wedding” featuring the best professionals in your market. Get each wedding business to promote to their own network.

You probably won’t attract as many leads as a traditional bridal show, but these will be high quality and all yours.

#4 – Host an educational event.

Brides love wedding inspiration and how to advice. Become their expert resource by hosting an event revealing your best professional tips and tricks.

I partnered with a photographer and videographer a few years back to host a workshop sharing creative ideas and planning strategies.

The three of us invited our current and prospective clients, and we recorded it to use as YouTube and blog content afterward. It didn’t result in a huge turnout, but we did end up booking a wedding from it.

This strategy is particularly powerful for a wedding planner, especially if you partner with a venue.

Do you think bridal shows are worth the investment?


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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. :)

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6 thoughts on “4 Better Alternatives to Bridal Show Leads”

  1. If you hate doing the shows yourself bring in quality sales people who know how to sell and relationship with the couples! Nothing beats the face to face opportunity to explain why you are the best option for their wedding. While there are some who will make decisions from seeing a printed piece if you or your team had made a personal impression also , the number of leads will increase substantially

    1. Great blog…really informative.

  2. Great blog , its informative for event and weddings planners., well done.

  3. Theo Wheeler says:

    Before suggesting #3 or #4 you should probably get feedback from wedding show industry professionals, and show producers regarding the pros and cons. This usually is a very bad idea, for the simple fact that any event must have a substantial attendence to be successful. You can have the most beautiful venue, salon, or decor, but without brides, it’s a waste of time. Veteran show producers are seasoned in marketing and advertising and know how to get brides to an event!

    1. #1 are technically still leads from a bridal show. I would argue that the cost per lead from the bag stuffer program is significantly higher than cost per lead from actually participating in a well-produced, well-marketed show (including time and materials). And the purpose of participating in the bag stuffer program is to get the opportunity to then meet with couples face-to-face. You can already do that if you participate to begin with.

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