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Bridal Show Basics for Vendors

jan15-bridalshowsBridal show season gets underway this month in Southern Maryland, and you might be wondering whether reserving a table at one of them is right for you. Why should you participate in a bridal show? Here’s why – and how to pick the right show.

You’ll Get Lots of Leads

The No. 1 reason brides attend bridal shows is to meet vendors. They know they can find lots of vendors in one place, and they come with a list of the services they need. They want to cross as many items off that list as possible by the end of the show. In a short period of time, you’ll meet many couples interested in your work. The amount of business you’re likely to get will offset the cost of renting the table.

You Can Spread the Word

Bridal shows are a great way to market your business. Depending on the show or the package you get, you might be mentioned in any pre-show advertising and in the program handed out the day of the show. You’ll meet lots of brides and grooms – plus their attendants, family, and friends! – to whom you can hand your business card and brochure.

You Can Meet Other Local Vendors

Bridal shows are a great way to network with other bridal businesses. Find people whose services you can recommend and who can recommend your services. A reference can be the best way to get business.

How to Choose the Right Show

Once you’ve decided to vend a bridal show, it’s time to find a show – or shows – to attend. Check the Bridal Events Calendar at SoMdWeddings.com, and get on the phone with show organizers. You’ll want to ask these questions:

  • Are spaces still available? What is the cost and size of the booth? What does the booth fee include (tables, wifi, electricity, marketing, etc.)?
  • How many vendors in your category (photography, cakes, florists, etc.) will be at the show?
  • How many years has this show been going on?
  • What was attendance last year? The year before?
  • Where is the show located? Is it easy to get to and conveniently located?
  • How will the show be marketed? What advertising do they do?
  • Will you get a list of attendees when the show is over?

Tips for Success

Just attending the show and setting up a table with business cards isn’t enough. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your bridal show experience:

Have samples and photographs of your work, if appropriate. This is especially important for photographers, videographers, decorators and cake bakers. Brides want to see what you’ve done. If you work in food, offer samples! They want to taste your work, too.

Bring lots of business cards, brochures and other promotional materials. Bring more than you think you need. You don’t want to run out.

Bring your appointment book. You can check availability as well as make follow-up appointments with couples.

Offer a show-only special that expires a day or two after the show. This will motivate couples to seal the deal sooner rather than later.

Offer a giveaway at your table. This allows you to also collect names and email addresses. You can follow up with these folks later.

Contribute to the show’s goody bag, if they’re doing one.

Make your table and yourself presentable. Bring tablecloths and decorations. Dress nicely, and if you’re a day-of service provider, dress as you would for a wedding that you’re working at. The old saying holds true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression!

Offer to share your expertise by leading a seminar or workshop at the show.