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With the Summer/Fall round of Bridal Shows quickly approaching, again comes the time for vendors to start thinking about where they would like to showcase their work.

I am interested to know what you, as a Vendor, find to be the most successful way begin an interaction with a potential client.

Do you prefer/have more success at large Covention Center shows, or smaller shows held at places like Golf Courses or local Banquet Halls?

Also, I am interested to know what, as a show attendee, would make you stop and chat with a Vendor.

I look forward to hearing all of your opinions!

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I have not done a vendor show yet, but absolutely would chat with as many vendors as possible.
i find that my clients(event planners) have more success at shows where they can showcase their style, and have a moment to actually speak with the couple, show size doesn't matter as much as the number of vendors in their category and where they are placed in the show. i always recommend allowing the couple to approach you rather than you approach them, this gives them a sense of control, greet them and allow them to pick up literature and browse your space, i also recommend having an eye catching arrangement, cake, photo, or even video, something that will set you apart from other vendors,and make your booth the one to see, smell, touch and see, make any booth attractive. As a show attendee I stop where there's a conversation piece, something new and different, i also stop for inviting faces, not ones that look like they are going to attack me when i give eye contact or come close to their booth.
I did a full candy buffet display at my table and served the brides and grooms. They loved the display and I attached custom labels on each of the containers that the candy was in. I gave out over 500 promotional items, sounds great right? WRONG. I received absolutely zero callbacks and bookings. I am doing a different show this Wednesday and will have a scaled-back approach with a simple centerpiece. I will also offer a give-away for the brides, probably a monogrammed table runner or custom painted table runner. This is usually something brides really enjoy so I am sure I will get the proper information, and in that sense I will be able to add them to my mailing list. I am also offering incentives on my day of coordination packages as well as my event design services.
great thread , i have not done a bridal show yet so this was great reads ...i have been thinking of doing one for quite a while keep them coming
My bridal show yesterday went really well! I didn't spend a ton of money on my tablescape. I found that my brides were most interested in the table runners and I did a raffle for a free day of coordination package. I also gave away a getting started package as a door prize. I am still a bit leary on the larger shows; however there are a few quite large ones that are coming up. You may also want to call Alfred Angelos, they do a girl's night out event that is free to brides and vendors, but they only allow one vendor of each type to set up.
As a bridal magazine/show presenter, I have been putting on bridal events for quite some time in NH. I have found that the old days of "pipe and drape" (usually a convention center dark purple or black) are gone. Brides are getting savvy, they want to see, touch, smell and taste things at vendor booths. If planning to participate in a show, here's a few tips I have found to help our vendors:
1. When setting up your booth, move your table, or consider using only a small round table. If you are using a 6 or 8 ft. table, decorate it nicely - with a beautiful table covering, your materials, even a pretty lamp or other lighting. Move it to one side so brides can "enter" your booth, almost like a room instead of standing in front of a table with you in back of the table.
2. Get out from in back of that vendor table - there is nothing worse than standing behind a table and staring at the people walking by. It's easier to say hello, to be welcoming if you aren't behind a table!
3. Give the brides something fun that says you put some time into offering them a gift. It can be a small favor, etc. but make sure whatever it is has your branding on it so they will remember you.
4. Be ready when the show starts. Don't arrive so late you are out of breath and still setting up when the doors open. It looks terrible and will make guests wonder if this is how you will handle their wedding: by being late.
5. Stay til the end. Typically crowds thin by the last 1/2 hr. of the show, You may be tired and antsy to break down your booth and leave, but don't do it. Staying til the end means that while other vendors might be packing up, you will be ready for any last minute arrivals (and there are always a few brides who come really late to shop the booths.) We've known vendors to book weddings 5 minutes before a show ends, or even after the show because they were there and ready to visit.
6. Smile, be friendly but not pushy, bring a laptop with a slide show if you can, have lots of pictures of your work, and don't forget your calendar so you will know what dates you are free for bookings.
Hope these tips might help those who are thinking of being in a bridal show. Our shows are not "expo" type events in big convention centers. We focus on intimate, unusual settings, creative ideas, things to see and workshops for brides. That, to me, is what makes this business fun!
Kathi Caldwell-Hopper
Lakes Region Bride/Capitol Bride Magazines
www.lakesregionbride.com
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great information, thanks!! :)
As An Officiant , really I need to find out quickly and with taste! ----- Do they or do they not have an Officiant ? I do not want to waste their time or mine , YES, This is a very direct question poliletly asked ! , -- This has worked very well for all shows that I have been in,-- about 6 .I do hire extra stsff sos thst I can have sosmeone talak to them evn if i am busy , I have cut down the size of booth " upped" the human component; this is getting my best results ! These shows were all the most upscale of all the shows possisble in my area , No point in my going in to shows where the Brides were looking for the cheapest not the finest .! My target market .
I researched very carefully BEFORE I decided which SHOWS ! The smaller more exclusive , more expensive to get into , were best for me .
Sarah Bunnett - Gibson www.weddingsheart.comh
AS a vendor I love all bridal show big and small(I do them both) what makes me stand out form other vendors is my BOOTH I always am one step ahead of my competitor I make sure I am up to date and in with the newest floral trends. Then I really put it out there make it classy and showy don't over do it by filling your booth to full brides get really over whelmed.
I have great divestiture to pass out too not your normal everyday business cards but nice glassy post cards that have all my contact info on it.
Last but not least know your STUFF show that you know what you do and you are the only one that does it right. Be confidant in your work this will show through to your future customers. This will come back a 100 folds..I can talk my way through any floral related question(well maybe~) be prepared to stand a lot. Good Luck
Brides are looking for specials, different ideas or a service that offers something that offers something above and beyond the norm. Many brides are overwhelmed with all the information and deposits vendors are asking them to put down.

Many bridal consultants and venues have had great success offering our Wedding Insurance as part of their consulting package. This shows the prospective clients that you are looking out for their interest right away and it releaves some of the stress of signing contracts and putting down deposits.

If you would like information about Wedding Insurance and how you can use it in your 2010 promotions email me or visit our site at www.protectmywedding.com.
I had my first experience at a the Today's Bride Show here in Cleveland this past January at the IX Center. I shared part of booth with a DJ/Band. I was overwhelmed by what my competitors had done with their booths with all the glitz and glam to a point I wanted to go hide somewhere because I was convinced no bride would stop to talk to me with my meager display cakes and less than impressive marketing pieces (I'm my own worse critic). But guess what the brides did talk to me and at times there were so many making inquiries it was hard to get to everyone. I even had a wedding planner across from me say she was impressed with how we handled ourselves. We had brides tell us they were sent over to our booth by other brides because we were friendly, approachable and of course we had great samples the most favorite item being red velvet cupcakes.

I have had appointments with brides that remembered us from the show and I was so pleased.

So the moral of my story is that this year I am able to afford to get a booth by myself and have already begun preparing my displays and will be ordering my marketing items very soon. My objective is not to get too glitzy or flashy to a point where brides feel that I am not friendly, approachable, customer service focused or too expensive.

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