Since I’ve been here, I’ve had the opportunity to work at quite a few bridal shows. I just participated in my final one of this internship two weeks ago at Burke Manor Inn and I feel like I have a lot to say about them at this point.
First, a little PSA to vendors: make your booth unique! The typical bridal/trade show set ups come very generic:
There may be pipe and drape to cut you off from other vendors or it could just be one big open room. When we went to the PWG Show at WinMock there were separate rooms that housed vendors inside. They’re never the same but the materials you’re given by the venue seem to be pretty consistent: a table, a linen, a space.
Working these shows with Jenn I’ve realized that whatever you can do to set your space apart from others is a good thing. We rarely (if ever) use the table we’re given by the venue and our set ups typically build vertically and, therefore, catch the eye of those walking around attending the show.
These are just two of the set ups that I’ve been a part of and as you can see, there are a lot of elements that are the same but neither is exactly alike. We like to do something a little different every time. With the one on the left we wanted something serene and welcoming and added comfortable seats because we knew people would be tired after walking and talking so much — we wanted to give them the opportunity to relax if they wanted to. The one on the right was for a somewhat smaller event and we wanted to go simple with what you see there and really focus on connecting with people verbally rather than letting them look at our materials and decide whether or not they wanted to talk to us.
Don’t forget to network! I think my favorite thing about working bridal shows is the opportunity to meet and talk with other vendors. I am still in the position of wanting to learn constantly about all aspects of weddings. I think it’s valuable no matter what part you play as a vendor to be somewhat knowledgable about the other parts as well. Plus, if you nurture your relationships with other vendors you’ll be much more likely to help each other out when you need it down the line (and I think we all know a day will come when you really need that help).
As far as future brides and grooms (or families of brides and grooms), when you attend bridal shows make sure you know what you’re getting into! There are typically a lot of vendors who will have something for you to fill out with your information. After ten information forms you’re likely not going to want to write your name, address, phone number, email address, etc. for the next ten or more vendors! Make label stickers with that information so you don’t miss out on a vendor you really need because you didn’t feel like writing anymore!
Don’t be afraid to say no when you don’t need something! I know it probably seems rude, but if you already have a photographer locked in for your big day you don’t need to fill out that form for the photographer at the bridal show. After you fill that sheet out, the vendor will likely be contacting you because they think you need their services and they want to be there for you when you need them. It’s better not to waste their time or yours by giving your information just to not seem rude in the moment.
Enjoy the freebies! Most bridal shows will have a caterer or baker involved and they want to show off their skills to you! Even if you already have a caterer for your day, try the food and take a business card if you like it! You can always suggest them to a friend later.
Bridal shows can be overwhelming at times whether you’re a vendor presenting at one or someone attending one. There is a lot that goes into both sides. If you go into it prepared for what you’ll be doing you can really make the most of them.