A Wedding Vendor's Ideas and Guide to Booths at a Bridal Show, Wedding Expo or Bride's Fair
Should I Participate?
Whether you own a boutique, entertain at weddings, or provide any type of wedding services, bridal fairs are a cost effective way to reach your targeted wedding customer base. Most bridal shows will bring in hundreds of brides, friends, and family members. These brides are ready to plan their wedding in its entirety, which means they are ready to book your services. Because bridal fairs are the best way to reach potential customers, it is imperative wedding vendors get as much as they can from the bridal fair experience.
For those vendors who have not attended a bridal fair, here is a description. At most bridal fairs, vendors will rent a booth (usually 10x10). The price for booths can range from $150.00 to thousands of dollars, depending on the size of the booth, the market, and the bridal fair. The booth is typically decorated in a fashion consistent with the vendor’s wares. The vendor, along with a couple of employees or family and friends, stands in the booth, speaking to brides and their entourages. Often the vendor will hand out a coupon or brochure. That is it in a nutshell, but to make the most of a bridal fair, careful thought and planning should be a part of the process.
Designing the booth
As soon as the deposit is paid to the bridal fair, the planning process should begin. First on the list should be the booth layout including decorations. A great place to start is to create an underlining theme for the booth. From that point, determine the services to emphasize. For example, a disc jockey may want to highlight their ability to create a romantic atmosphere at the reception. The booth could be decorated in flowers and low lighting, with soft music flowing from hidden speakers. This would be the perfect time to use a bubble machine and mirror ball, giving the bride ideas to use at her own reception. If the disc jockey is concerned about losing the party brides, a laptop playing party clips can be included in the decorations. All of a sudden the booth provides the romance while hinting at the fun, party side of the disc jockey.
Pictures of some great boothsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Designing Tips for the Perfect Bridal Fair Booth
- Create a warm, friendly atmosphere where the brides feel comfortable.
- Do not provide room for the booth workers to stand behind a table. This does not allow for engaging the brides. Place the table at the back or side of the booth. If in a corner booth, place table on the inner side next to your neighbor.
- The best booths are the corner booths. They provide two directions to catch brides.
- Try to have one focal item that brings all brides to your booth.
- If electricity is required confirm it is provided. Some bridal fairs charge for it. If they do, it is usually less expensive to book it in advanced. Also, it is difficult, if not impossible, to have it hooked up the day of the fair.
- Remember to consider the pipe and drapery (the curtains separating the booth) when designing the booth. A few bridal fairs offer color choices to their vendors, this will need to be requested in advance.
- Do not clutter the booth. People are more comfortable in an open atmosphere.
- Utilize your logo and logo colors in your booth as much as possible.
What to Hand Out at a Bridal Fair Booth?
When a bride enters the area of the bridal fair, she receives a bag with the wedding show’s logo on it. As she walks through the fair, the bride will use it to hold all the items she receives at the fair. Usually the bride will then take the bag home and examine all the items. Because of this routine, it is best to create an advertising piece that will stand out from the other items in the bag. In fact, to receive the most attention, create multiple pieces. A brochure or flyer, a coupon and a small give-away will put your information in front of the bride three times during her bag exploring.
When designing the handouts be creative. Try a die-cut design or bold colors. Referring to the above mentioned disc jockey example, the disc jockey may want to create a flyer with the company information on one side and a list of wedding songs on the other side. The bride will, most likely, keep the list of wedding songs and, by default, the disc jockey’s information. Please, please, please, remember to place your name, logo, and contact information on every item given out.
Tips for Bridal Show Give Aways
- Writing pens or pencils
- Calendars or date books
- Note pads
- Hand sanitizer
- Candy, logo on wrapper or tie
- Water bottles
- Sample of your work, such as a cd (for musicians), or a cookie (bakers) in a wrapper.
Advertise Your Participation
A few weeks before the bridal fair, begin to advertise your participation in the bridal fair. Contact your current customers by mail, email, or phone to announce your participation. Place the signage provided by the bridal fair in your store and verbally remind customers to “come see you there”. If allowed, hold a drawing for two free tickets to the bridal fair. Another option for a drawing is have brides to preregister for the drawing, that will be held in your booth at the bridal fair. If they preregister and attend the fair, they are given two chances to win.
The Week of the Bridal Fair
The week of the bridal fair start organizing all items needed for decorating and running the booth. Create a list of all needed items. Then designate a loading area. Throughout the week, place items from the needed list into the loading area. Check them off the list. Be sure to include water and snacks, such as trail mix, for the booth workers. Most bridal fairs will supply one or two bottles of water and a small snack, but it is best to bring extras. If possible load the supplies the evening before the bridal fair. As items are loaded cross them off the needed list to confirm everything is loaded.
Extra Things to Bring to the Bridal Show
- A handcart or pushcart for carrying items to and from the loading area.
- Extra power cords if electricity is being used
- Bottled Water
- Small Snacks
- Extra scissors, tape, pens and paper
- A small first aid kit
- An item close to a Tide pen for spills or marks on clothes
- Label all items with your company name
The Day of the Bridal Fair
Finally, the big day has arrived. Everyone working the booth should be well rested and ready to go. Get a good start by arriving at the venue as early as possible. Quickly and professionally assemble the decorations for the booth. Once the booth has been completed, step back and survey your booth. Look for items that could be tripped over, or messes that should be cleaned up. Then begin speaking with the other vendors at the bridal fair. Do not, of course, bother anyone still finishing up their booth. Many vendors will network during the time between set up and the start of the fair. Be sure to have plenty of business cards handy for the customary business card swap.
The Do's and Don'ts of Running a Bridal Show Booth
- Do smile and have fun.
- Do greet everyone in friendly manner.
- Do give a discount for anyone booking or purchasing at the show.
- Do not let everyone working the booth set down at the same time.
- Do take breaks one worker at time.
- Do not leave the show early.
- Do not speak negatively of the competition.
- Do praise your own work.
Follow up is an extremely important part of the bridal fair experience. A vendor’s success at the bridal fair is in part determined by the follow up. First, send a postcard or note card to every vendor you spoke with at the bridal show. The card should say something similar to “It was nice seeing you again” or “it was nice meeting you”. Other vendors, even the competition, are potential customers and referrers of your service.
Second, contact all brides who booked or set up appointments to meet, thank them and confirm the booking or appointment. It is best to have as much contact with customers and potential customers through email or snail mail as possible. The more often your name is before them, the better the chance, they will remember you. Finally, utilize the mailing list provided by the bridal fair to its fullest potential. Create an advertising campaign that uses the information provided. Once the campaign has been created, stick to it.