I am looking into maybe doing my first wedding show. Some of them come with high entrance prices etc. I am wondering what kind of response businesses get from wedding shows. Any help would be great! Thanks!
I'm in NYC and they have not been profitable for me, I would advise trying one yourself and seeing if it's a good fit.
I would say generally, no. We do a couple of shows a year and never book many brides from them. They are good, however, for meeting other vendors. We have made lasting contacts with venue representatives and event planners that have been good for us. For these, we followed up afterwards with "Good to meet you" emails and offered to exchange links on our webpages. I have also successfully negotiated reduced rates at the last minute with bridal show hosts who have one or two tables left, and that makes it a little more budget friendly.
When we first started doing weddings, bridal shows were like gold for us. However, times have changed. These brides are so much smarter and know where to get the information...usually that's online, not at a show. I'd agree that they help quite a bit with vendor relations. They're a good way to let everyone know that you're here and serious about staying here for a while. However, if you look at the actually monetary return on investment, for me lately, the shows haven't been worth it.
Bridal shows were really useful for brides in the pre-internet age. Frankly, $1500 for a four hour show is way overpriced for these big shows with hundreds of vendors. I ask every bride how she found me...and it's by a google (or other) search. I'd rather spend that money and time working on SEO.
Also, if you attend to observe, you might find the vendors there don't want to talk to you...as they paid big bucks to be there, and you didn't. If you are looking for contacts, you might just want to pick up their info...contact them at some other time to introduce yourself.
Get together with some local vendors and stage your own casual meet-the-vendors day for brides.
I agree that most brides find their vendors via the internet, but I think it is helpful for them, especially with photographers, to look at the different vendors' portfolios. Brides love the cake tastings, too. For a stationer like PaperCuts, I just don't know. (I have booked some weddings through shows, just not in great numbers.)
I would argue with you, however, regarding your statement that "the vendors there don't want to talk to you, as they paid big money to be there and you didn't." In the first place, they have no idea how much I paid for my booth. In the second place, in most shows, vendors are expected to arrive at least an hour early, and in some shows, there are fashion shows, both of with leave plenty of time for checking out the other booths and introducing yourself. And in the third place, most vendors I have met are happy to talk. Why contact them at some other time? Nothing replaces face to face contact, and unless you want to drive all over your region, you won't have that opportunity again.
I think having a "meet the vendors day" is a great idea. I'm not sure how is it different from a small scale bridal show, though. Have you ever done this? How was it different from a small show? Where did you have it? I'm trying to picture it, and I keep imagining the type of bridal show that is hosted by a hotel (in our area, 40-50 vendors, no fashion show). What makes a "meet the vendors day" different? Any info/experience you have on this is appreciated.
I think whether shows are worth doing depends upon your expectations. They are more useful for some types of vendors than others. Some shows are marketed/advertised better than others, and that's a question you should ask up front. The cost of the show is certainly a consideration. (I've never paid close to the price you mentioned.) There are issues at play here, and I don't think there is a hard and fast answer to this. I think PaperCuts should consider looking for small but well marketed shows, try one or two, and see if they are worth it. If not, lesson learned. Stay out of the big expensive shows if you are unsure.