Here is an amazing stat. Did you know that 70% of all of the engagements that happen each year will happen on Christmas/New Year's/ Valentine's Day?
I don't know if the gentlemen are just lacking for originality, or if the romance of the season is just too good to pass up? What is the result of the 70%??? Thousands of newly (excited) engaged brides flood the bridal show market each year, which is why, in New England, we have these shows from January - March.
A bridal show is the ultimate way to shop for wedding services. Unlike a magazine or web site, you can see, touch, sample, and question everything wedding related at these events! Here are a few tips of what to look for and what NOT to look for in a bridal show vendor.
Now first and foremost, please remember that the vendors have paid to be here! They can pay up to $1500 for a small booth just to have the chance to fight the other vendors to romance your business. This fierce competition can lead to less than desirable behavior at times. These rare moments can make some bridal show attendees shy and unwilling to talk with the vendors. Big mistake!
Rule # 1: Talk with the vendors! The best way to find out whether or not a service is right for you is to always have a conversation. You will determine, usually in the first few minutes, whether a service is right for you. If a vendor is pushy or will not take “NO” for an answer, put down the literature and say, "Thank you for your time." Then move on. I feel that if a vendor is a "Hard Sell," they must be desperate for work. If they are that desperate, maybe they are not that busy? If they are not that busy, maybe they are just not very good at what they do? Just my theory...
Rule # 2: Look beyond the candy! Some vendors use the craziest things to lure you into their booth. I have seen things like cookies, dancing girls, water dispensers, and Hummers. Ask yourself, what does any of this have to do with the service the vendor is providing? Chances are that if the vendor has the need for gimmicks to get you into the booth, the substance of the product may be lacking?
Rule # 3: Trust the quality of the paperwork. This area might be the second best way to evaluate a vendor, after speaking with them one on one, of course. If you receive a handout that has been made on a home computer, if the handout looks and feels CHEAP, or if it lacks information, then usually the service lacks as well.
When you dump all of the contents of your bridal show bag onto your kitchen table, look for the paperwork that is of quality. If it is well prepared, informative, and well presented, then chances are the service vendor puts the same care into their customers as they put into their paperwork.
Rule # 4: Beware the Bridal show specials! People love a deal. If you really think you are getting a deal at a bridal show, think again. Many "show specials" are fake. You think you are getting a deal, so you book. In reality, the vendor is charging you the same as if you meet then outside the show. They raise the normal rate for the show to make the "Show special" look that much more attractive. Oldest trick in the book! The deals you can get are the ones you don't want.
Some vendors will get into quoting wars with other vendors at the show. YES, you might be able to beat down a vendor if you play them against another service provider at the show, but this is a sign of desperateness and you might not like the service you have after the smoke clears. Some vendors will also give you the lowest level of service possible, if you beat them down on price. "Small price = Small service.”
Did anyone ever hear the phrase, "You get what you pay for?" If a vendor does not negotiate price, that is usually the sure sign of a stable, quality, reputable business. Watch out for Bridal show prize boxes! They are usually a way for the vendor to market you after the show. You actually win nothing except a mail box full of junk literature and phone solicitation. Don't fall for gimmicks. Look for substance.
Rule # 5: If it looks and sounds too good to be true, usually it is too good to be true. I would encourage any bride-to-be to get out and enjoy a bridal show. It is a big part of the experience of getting married. Just be careful and realistic when speaking with vendors.
Best wishes to all those that are getting married. Hope to see you at the next bridal show.
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