It happened weeks ago, but I’ve been procrastinating about writing this article because frankly, I’m embarrassed.  Here’s how it went down…

We presented at the Wedding MBA in Las Vegas (a fantastic experience, by the way, if you can go) and we were given an exhibition booth.  It’s a lot like a bridal show booth, except we’re set up to meet and greet the wedding pros who are attending the conference.

We were so caught up in our presentation that we forgot to plan the exhibition booth!  We quickly ordered a retractable banner sign to use, but it was pretty pathetic.

A couple bridal show producers in attendance came over and said, “What happened here?  Did your booth get lost in shipment?”  Cringe.

Feast your eyes on our anemic booth and learn what NOT to do with your bridal show booth, oh, ye wedding pro.


I could write pages about what we did wrong and how we’re going to fix it next time.  The bottom line: nobody could tell what we do and our lack of a booth didn’t inspire any action.  Plus, it was just embarrassing.

Here’s a list of what you can do to make sure you don’t waste your time and money from a booth that doesn’t get results.

How to Avoid Our Dumb Ass Booth Mistakes

1) People should know what you do and why they should care (or not) in 10 seconds.

bridal-show-bannerOur sign was a big fail.  It made them work to understand what we do and didn’t inspire action.

We had so much empty space with just the name of our business on a tiny printed sign hanging from the curtain behind our booth that people kept asking, “So, what do you do?”  In a desperate attempt at humor, Jeff started telling people we sell black curtains.

Design your booth so that it’s crystal clear exactly what you do from across the room.  Brides and grooms should instantly recognize:

•    Who you are.
•    What you do.
•    Why they should care.
•    What to do next.

Get rid of confusing messages or anything that isn’t immediately understandable.

2) Put an irresistible offer in the bride/groom’s hands.

The only thing we had to give out were business cards.  I guess it was better than nothing, but nowhere near effective.

Print up a brochure or postcard offer that you can press into people’s hands as they walk by.  This is an easy way to engage them in conversation and give them something to take home.

Make sure your handout contains a clear, compelling call to action (see below) that gets them to do something that takes them one step closer to booking you.

Here’s an idea: give out cards printed with an offer for a freebie using a QVR code or near field communication for easy access.

3) Have a simple, low risk call to action.

Our sign invited pros to opt-in to receive our free Price Shopper Report by texting a number, but no one knew what a “Price Shopper Report” was and why they should care.

We also learned that it was far too cumbersome for someone to pull out their cell phone to text while they were staggering around with bags of exhibition swag through a crowd of people.  Duh.

Your bridal show booth should include an offer for every bride or groom that’s easy to understand and do.  For example, give away a free report in exchange for their email address or a free sample.

4) Collect leads at your booth.

This one is bridal show 101.  We completely forgot a way to collect leads by hand!

Host a giveaway and collect the contact information of brides and grooms in a basket at your booth.  The prize should have no strings attached (something like a dinner for two or an iPod) to encourage the maximum number of entrants.

The leads you collect at your booth are the highest quality.  Your follow up will be more effective and you’ll book more weddings as a result.

5) Clearly label any interactive materials on your table.

We had stacks of our training DVDs on the table, but we forgot signs and labels for them.  People thought we were giving away demo videos, and one person walked away with a DVD that sells for $300!  (If you’re the one who took that DVD, I’d like to personally thank you for that expensive lesson.)

If you have samples of your products on your table or anything for brides and grooms to look at, make sure it’s labeled so that people know what to do…and what not to do.  This way no one feels foolish or unintentionally steals something.

Screwing up really bites the big one, especially when we should have known better.  At least we’ve learned from it and we have some good lessons to share with you.

What’s the lamest thing you’ve ever seen at a bridal show?