A wedding show is a perfect opportunity to plan your wedding if you can get the most out of it. As an exhibitor and a visitor myself, I’ve been on two sides of the fence and know that a wedding show can easily overwhelm you with hundreds of different booths. The goal of this article is to give tips to make your visit productive.
Before the wedding show
Prepare a list of services, vendors you are missing
If you already booked a photographer, no need to visit a photographer booth anymore. Save time for other vendors that you are looking for.
Create a separate email account just for the wedding show
That account will be flooded with email from vendors after the show. Use it to communicate with the mass and only provide your personal email to the vendors you actually want to book.
Do your homework beforehand
On the wedding show’s website, there will be a list of vendors somewhere. Find it, visit each vendor’s website and do light research. Cross out the ones you are not interested in and highlight the ones you are. This will save you tremendous time at the show, allowing you to invest more time talking to the vendors you are interested in.
You will need this if you plan to enter the giveaways. Moreover, some handwritings are hard to read for vendors. On the labels, put your name, phone, email, wedding date, wedding venue.
During the wedding show
*Big mistake: collect information without learning and engaging*
At a wedding show, you have limited time to visit so many booths. I’ve seen many couples stop at a booth for less than 30s just to collect business card and brochure, to signup for the giveaways. This is not what a wedding show is for. You can do this right at home, find their website on Google while watching the football playoff or Netflix. Imagine you visit 20 photographers’ booths and collect 20 different brochures. After the show, how can you tell which one belongs to which? Indeed, you are most likely to get confused and mix up what you saw. You need to properly engage with the booth, to learn as much as you can. How can you do that with such limited time? Read on, the solutions are below.
Look and visit the booth you like
Even if you didn’t do your research beforehand, you don’t have to stop at every single booth. Instead, as you walk through, carefully look at the booth and see if you like anything there. Each vendor will display their best works to attract visitors, either with their decoration or their products. If their best works can’t pass your eyes test, nothing else will. If you like something there, it’s time to engage their booth.
Ask questions and take notes
As you visit their booth, don’t just listen to what they have to say. Be active and ask questions. Also, carefully look at the products they display.
Make sure that you take notes, write down whatever seems important to you, what you like about their products. Don’t rely on your memory to remember everything because as I said earlier, you will get confused. Then, politely ask them if you can take photos/videos of their products. Remember to put something as a reference in the photo/video (a business card is a good one) so that you know which photo/video belongs to whom. These notes and photos/videos are really important after the show.
Grooms are encouraged to attend
A wedding show is often called by other names, such as: “bridal show”, “bride expo”, “bridal fair”, and so on. They all have the word “bride/bridal” and none has “groom”. This might make grooms feel like it is not for them, but indeed it is. They can help the brides make the decision on just about everything by putting in their thoughts. Or they can actively be in charge of other things like DJs, tuxedoes, photography, honeymoon destination, etc.
After the wedding show
Follow up immediately
Look at your notes/photos/videos as soon as possible while you still remember most of them. For each type of vendor, make a list of some that you like and follow up with them, send them an email asking for more information.
Another reason for this is the vendors you like might have inquiries for the same date. You don’t want to wait too long and see them booked by someone else.
- Bring children. They get tired quickly. When they do, they don’t cooperate. It’s hard to focus on the vendors you are speaking with. Get a babysitter. You’ll be glad you did and so are the vendors.
- Divide and conquer. It’s a terrible idea to attend a wedding show by splitting up, thinking you cover everything faster. Stay together, especially the decision makers.
- Spend TOO much time at a booth. The vendors need to talk to as many prospective clients as possible and so do you. Get enough information, answers and move on. If you want to have some in-depth conversations with them, do it during fashion shows when everyone is focusing on it and traffic to booths get slower.
- Sign a contract because they offer “one day deal”. Ask them if they will honor the offer a couple of days or a week after the show. If they don’t and seem overly pushy, feel free to politely decline and walk away. Take time and make educated booking decisions.