Are bridal shows a waste of money?

Some say they get their best leads from bridal shows. Others claim they’re worthless. The debate rages on.

It takes great courage to share an experience when it doesn’t work out the way you’d planned. Joel Nisleit of Joel Nisleit Photography shared his hard-earned lessons about exactly what works — and what doesn’t — at bridal shows. He’s just one of the awesome wedding experts in our exclusive Acceleration membership who’s pitching in with tips and strategies that really work to book more weddings.

Check out this post shared by Joel Nisleit:

A Photographer’s Wedding Show “Autopsy”

Jan 31st show:

  • 25 email sign ups
  • 1 meeting scheduled at the show (who later cancelled the wedding)
  • There were zero other communications from that show, not even the person who won the giveaway.

I took contest entries via iPad so people had to talk to me to sign up. I loved the look of the booth but didn’t like the location.

My lead capture and email campaign worked beautifully. A lot of what I did laid the groundwork for future shows.

Out of the interested leads, I selected a giveaway winner. She did not respond.

I gave out maybe 10 folders and 15-20 flyers and talked with all but a couple of people who stopped by when I was busy, so next time I’m having someone as backup.

Most were just starting to look for vendors and didn’t have locations picked out. Some didn’t know their dates. Combined with the fact the grooms were mostly not there to coordinate a schedule, that made it difficult getting anyone to commit to a meeting, no matter what deal I had.

I’m also aware many of these brides won’t be making any decisions for months and they’re on an information gathering spree.

I have to work the follow up and stay on their minds on multiple platforms.

Next step is mailing postcards to everyone and then seeing whom I may send a special mailer to.

Second show: March 20, different venue. Similar results.

  • Almost the exact same quantity of direct leads.
  • The main difference was I invested zero into the booth. I used my simple booth display, zero handouts.
  • I had only signup slips on regular copy paper that I cut out and two clipboards for taking direct leads.
  • I changed my follow up a bit to get more responses within the first couple of days.

March Bridal Show

I set up two meetings, both of which cancelled. One of them said — read this twice — that they didn’t have time to get back to me but they found another photographer. The other eventually cancelled due to budget concerns even though she really loved my work.

After email followup I’d set up one more meeting. Although I felt it was one of my better consults, I followed up with them a week later and they had non-answers and haven’t booked.


Total results over the last FOUR SHOWS: One booking, and a very important lesson.

It wasn’t that what I was doing wasn’t working.joel-nisleit

None of my ideal clients were ever at those shows, so the only thing I could have done that would have worked was be like everyone else and compete on stuff and price, which is not my business.

SOLUTION: hone in on luxury shows where only the highest end vendors are exhibiting.

    –  Shared by Joel Nisleit in the Wedding Expert Superheroes Facebook group

Wedding Show Strategies That Work

Then our members who love bridal shows chimed in with their experiences…




A huge thanks to Al Harris of Mile Marker Images, Jordan Waggoner of Major Sounds Music and Nicole Bedard of A-Destination Wedding for generously sharing their success strategies. You guys rock!

7 Things You Must Do Before Investing In a Bridal Show

#1 – Make sure you ideal clients will be attending.

Joel did everything right. He had the booth, the giveaway and the follow up. But if the couples you want to book aren’t there, nothing will work.

#2 – Less is more when it comes to a display – as long as you stand out.

Yes, your booth needs to stand out, but make sure it’s simple and easy to recognize exactly what you do from across the room. Be the “breath of fresh air” for brides and grooms who are overwhelmed with information.

#3 – Bring along a sales force of your raving fans.

Who better to “sell” your services than one of your happy brides? Al’s idea of having his former brides, wearing their veils, at his booth is genius.

#4 – Offer a valuable giveaway prize and require the couples’ FULL information right to enter.

Both Al Harris and Jordan Waggoner require detailed information in order to enter their contests, and for good reason. This lets them quickly identify the couples who are right for them so they can focus on the hottest leads.

#5 – Ask for permission to email.

No one does this! And if you send email blasts to the lead list, you come off like a spammer. Getting permission is both classy and professional.

#6 – Position yourself as an expert.

Share resources and information with couples at the show. Inviting them to sign up for a valuable free report is a great way to get permission to follow up and prove your expertise.

As Nicole Bedard discovered, positioning yourself as an expert makes you their #1 choice for the wedding.

#7 – Have a follow up plan.

Most couples are just in the initial stages of wedding planning at the show. They simply aren’t ready to book. You need a proven follow up system so that you’re top of mind when they are ready to hire.

Want More Bridal Show Success Secrets?

Join the Acceleration membership for wedding pros.

You’ll get instant access to the Book More Brides Email Template Bundle which contains TWO bridal show follow up emails.

email-template-bundle-reportYou’ll also learn:

  • How to create a steady stream of QUALITY leads.
  • Where to start if you’re overwhelmed and “spinning your wheels.”
  • Proven strategies to book more weddings and increase your price.
  • Step by step processes that are working for real wedding pros like you.

Oh, and we have fun in the process, ‘cuz that’s how we roll. 🙂

Learn how to book more weddings the simple way and have fun doing it.