The Curious Case of the Bridal Expo


Today I’m sharing advice for vendors at bridal expos. When I googled “advice for vendors at expos” I came up with diddly squat, so hopefully this post will help others!Bridal expos get a really bad rap. Many are held in football stadium-sized venues where ultimately the brides are just looking for free stuff. There, I said it. But when I heard one was happening at a popular local wedding venue, I thought perhaps this one would be different. Those closest to me know that the project was trying at times, but I learned a lot of great lessons.A bridal show is an opportunity not only to meet brides, but to meet other vendors. As I had finished setting up my booth, I heard my mother’s voice in my head saying, “Go on and introduce yourself…don’t be shy!” As memories of kindergarten came roaring back, I did my rounds and exchanged words (and business cards) with other wedding professionals. At the end of the day, whether they refer their clients to me or not, they know my name. And being a recognizable name in an industry that is so localized is extremely valuable. Think about what your ROI (return on investment) needs to be for the expo to be worth it. If a photographer books even one client then they’ve more than covered the cost to enter. A vendor like me, whose individual client revenue is much lower, may need to expect more bookings to justify the fee. Often times if the cost to exhibit is not in your budget, sometimes you can offer an exchange of goods. For this show, I designed and printed these invitations to send to brides instead of paying the fee. Have a sign at your booth. This may seem obvious, but I cannot tell you how many had zip. Not only is it important for passersby to know your name and what you do, but it’s an opportunity for brand visibility. To that point, have your booth display only what you do. There were lots of tables with candy, scented candles, table linens….none of which was their speciality. It was distracting, and with brides deciding in about 2.6 seconds whether or not to stop at your booth it’s important to make clear what you offer. Photo Credit: Roseville Designs Instagram – follow me here! Give something away at your booth. Most expos will want you to do a giveaway (often with a minimum $100 value) announced at the expo. Instead, I had a sign-up sheet for a contest where they could win a set of wedding chair signs. It’s something that was a minimal cost to me, and I was able to capture their information (name and email) when they entered. Take notes. I am notoriously bad at remembering names, so when I chatted with a bride and she signed up for the contest, I quickly wrote on my note pad her name and something memorable (e.g. sassy mother-in-law, curly hair…) Don’t be a slimy salesman; just be you. One client approached my booth and was honest that she already had her invitations, but started asking me about calligraphy. As I gave her a vendor referral and my advice on how to use it in a cost-effective way, she then said to me, “You know what? I like you because you’re not trying so hard.” And that was the first client I booked from the expo to do her day-of paper.

The case of the bridal expo is different for every vendor, but never forget to take risks and learn, learn, learn!

Photo Credit: Roseville Designs Instagram – follow me here!

Photo Credit: Roseville Designs Instagram – follow me here!

  1. I love this post Sandy! Great tips! I have been afraid to take this next step, but your blog has given me inspiration. Thank you!

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