5 Things to Look For When Selecting Your Next Wedding Exhibitor / Professional

 

Let’s say you go to the wedding expo,  have a great time, and then while you are there, you meet some wedding professionals that might have what you are looking for. How do you decide if they are the right fit for you?

Here are 5 questions to keep in mind when selecting your next wedding exhibitor:

1. How professional do they look?

Everyone says you can’t judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you should. If the wedding professional you are talking to looks like they just rolled out of bed, aren’t organized or looks like they don’t even want to be there, that is a sign it’s time to move on! A wedding expo is not the time for a wedding exhibitor to “have a bad day”. Only select those professionals that have brought their “A” game. You want the best for your wedding right? Look for those that came prepared. Trust me on this one.

2. Are they willing to work within your budget? Do they offer show specials?

You have taken the time out of your day to attend a wedding expo. You definitely want to be rewarded for this decision right? A wedding show is a great place to get “show only” deals from wedding exhibitors. If you find a product or service that you like, ask the exhibitor if they have a show special or are willing to work with you on your budget. Remember- it’s OKAY to negotiate. Most companies have wiggle room in their service prices and would be willing to do what has to be done to get you to book. Go get that deal!

3. Do you actually enjoy interacting with them? Are they too pushy or salesy?

When you spoke to the exhibitors, did you seem to vibe with them? Were they listening to you, and actively engaged? The last thing you want is some super salesperson trying to push you into products or services that you don’t want. You want them to offer you solutions to YOUR wedding. Be sure to gauge how you feel during and after your interactions. If you seem to hit it off, that’s a good sign that they might be the right professional for you. If you don’t feel like they were listening, or you felt like just another number or customer, then you should probably take that as a hint and move on to someone else.

4. Do they have a website and active social media? Do they have good reviews?

A company that doesn’t have a website or active social media is usually behind the times and may not be up to date on the latest and greatest in the wedding industry. This isn’t always the case, but I will always go with an exhibitor that has a polished website, engaging social media and has good reviews online. I don’t want to take chances on an inexperienced wedding professional for my wedding. Who wants to book someone that doesn’t even have a single 5 star review? What if they only have 1 star reviews? I don’t want to book with them. Neither should you.

5. Are they going to be a good fit for you and your wedding?

At the end of the day, sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling. You will know if the exhibitor is trustworthy and legit. Every wedding pro is a little different, some have big personalities while others are more laid back. Remember, you will most likely be working with these people for a good period of time, so you want to actually like them and look forward to your interactions. They will be involved in the most important day of your life. You want to be happy they are there!

There you have it! Be sure to keep these 5 things in mind while you are at the show. They will hopefully save you some serious headaches and even heartaches down the road.

Until next time!

~Sarah A.

Exhibitor’s Guide to the Great Bridal Expo

Attending a wedding expo like Great Bridal Expo is one of the best things a wedding professional can do for their business!

A bridal show will bring in hundreds of brides, grooms, as well as their families and friends. The best thing about these guests is that they are often ready to plan their entire wedding. This includes booking the services they need from wedding professionals just like you. At most wedding shows, you will have your very own booth to show your services and products. Once the doors to the show open, you will be interacting with brides, back to back for as long as the show. This is a great opportunity to get new leads and business!

Attending a bridal show can be hectic and a little crazy, especially for a first-time exhibitor. We are here to help!

In order to make the expo experience even more valuable for our exhibitors, we have decided to put together a quick guide for success at the show.

 

How to prepare for a Wedding Show:

There are three main phases for each bridal expo. Before the show, during the show and after the show.

We have prepared a mini guide for each phase to help you best prepare for and have the most success while at a show. Let’s jump right into the Great Bridal Expo guide for success!

 

Phase 1 – Before the Bridal Expo:

 

Step 1. Set Goals

In order to have a successful expo, you need to make sure you and your team have goals that need to be completed. It is critically important to remember the end game of attending our expo. Do you want new bride leads? Are you testing a new product? Whatever the reason, make sure you know why you are there and what you need to do to ensure success at the show. You and your team will need to keep these goals in mind so that you can stay on track through the event. Things can get busy fast!

 

Step 2. Train your Team

Now that you have figured out your goals, the next step is to make sure that your team is trained and prepared to accomplish your mission. Your team will encounter hundreds of people in face-to-face situations. You want to make sure that your sales/marketing team is ready to meet the challenge. It is very important that your team knows all of your product offerings, inside and out. It is also a good idea to have everyone on your team memorize a short elevator pitch explaining your offerings. Along with this pitch, your team should have responses to get around any initial objections a bride might have.

 

Step 3. Plan the Design of Your Booth

Once your team is prepped and you have signed up as an exhibitor at the bridal expo, you need to begin planning the design of your booth. It’s always a good idea to come up with a theme and color combination for your booth. If you have a logo or branding, you will want all the colors to mesh well with each other. If you can, tailor the theme to the service or product you are offering. The number one thing to keep in mind is that we are all visual people. Use lights, pictures, anything that will attract our eyes and get our attention.

You want a booth that will stand out from the crowd and also show everyone who you are and what you are offering. A good idea, is to use any vertical space available to you. People will be able to see a booth with taller decorations from further away. Attracting the eye of all the guests is your booth’s number one priority. Try to have one focal item that brings all brides to your booth. Keep your booth free from clutter and trash. You want to create a friendly, comfortable atmosphere for the brides.

Please keep in mind that the best place for your team to stand is actually in front of the booth. It will be easier for your team to engage brides and vice versa if everyone is out in front.

 

Step 4. Plan Your Handouts + Giveaways!

At most bridal expos, a bride will be given some sort of bag to carry anything she finds during the show. Most of the items she will keep are from the exhibitors with services/products she is interested in. What this means for you and your team, is that you need to come up with some clever handout or giveaway item that has your contact information and explains your service.

Some good examples of handouts, would be coupons or a brochure or a small promo item.

Some popular promo items to give away include:

Samples of your service/product
Business cards
Magnets
Pens, Pencils, or Stationary
Lip Balm, Hand Sanitizer
Candy or Snacks

No matter what you decide to give away, make sure that your company name, contact information and services offered are easy to find and understand.

 

Step 5. Advertise!

Now that you have your booth planned, handouts ready and your team trained, it’s time to do a bit of self-promotion. If you have an email list, or any potential leads, now is a good time to email them and let them know that you will be at the show. Use your social media channels and invite your followers out to meet you and offer a special gift to those that do. If you can get your customer base motivated before you arrive, they can help promote your time at the expo on their own social media channels. If you have a store, place any advertisements you can that will help spread the word about your attendance at the expo!

 

Phase 2 – The Day of the Bridal Show

The day of the bridal show has finally arrived! If you have followed our preparation steps for phase 1, you and your team should be ready to go! The most important thing to do on the day of the expo is to arrive extra early. There is no telling what kind of surprises will come up (traffic, delays, booth issues), and you want to have the most amount of time to deal with them. This will be the time you need to assemble your booth as you have planned. Once the booth is ready, be sure to take a few steps away and really take a look at your booth. Is there anything the bride could trip over? Are there any hazards? After you are completely ready for the guests to arrive, it is a good idea to introduce yourself to the other exhibitors near you, especially if they offer complementary services to your own. This could help build relationships that lead to referrals.

 

Step 1. What to Bring to the Bridal Expo

Here is our quick and handy checklist of things to remember to bring to the show:

Bottled Water
Snacks
Extra pens, paper, tape, scissors
Your handouts + giveaways
A first aid kit (just in case)
A cart to help move items to and from your booth
All of the decoration items for your booth
Any specific items you have prepared for your team or guests

 

Step 2. Collect Contact Info from Brides

One of the main reasons any exhibitor signs up for an expo is to collect bridal leads. This will most likely be your number one priority as well. If your booth is doing its job, the brides should come and see what you have to offer.

Have your team be personable and welcoming to the brides and ease them into the pitch they have previously rehearsed. This is also the time to give the brides and guests any handouts or promo items. If you have decided to have some sort of contest, now is the time to get the brides to fill out their information for the drawing. The most important information to get from a bride is their name, wedding date, email and phone.

One of the most important things to tell your team is to not get too hung up on any one bride. You want to qualify each guest as soon as you can and move on to the next one. A member of your team could spend 10-20 minutes trying to get the bride to make a decision while 30 potential leads walk by your booth. Get those leads!

 

Step 3. Bring Your Game Face!

You and your team should smile at guests. You want to look approachable and friendly. Remember to have your team in front of your booth, not behind it. Keep in mind non-verbal communication like crossed arms, frowns, slouched backs. You are there to make sure the brides have a good time and love every moment they spend at your booth. A happy bride is your best customer!

Have two members of your team at your booth at all times. You don’t want to miss any big rush of guests. You never want to have an empty booth. This will make your booth and your business look unprofessional.

Plan to be at the expo until the very end. You do not want to be the only booth packing up early. There is always a surge of couples that show up towards the end of every show. Don’t miss out on those potential leads!

 

Phase 3 – After the Bridal Show:

 

Step 1. Follow-Up With Your Leads!

If there is only one step you really focus on during the entire expo, follow up should be number 1. This is the most important part of the expo. Your success will be determined mostly by the amount of follow up you and your team accomplish. You will want to organize all of your leads from how likely they were to book. You should have captured their contact information as well as contact preferences. Contact them! Your goal here is to contact all the brides and grooms who wanted to meet. Set up appointments with them and confirm the booking!

If you networked with any other exhibitors at the show, now is the time to send them a quick card or email. They could help get you your next booking!

Go through your entire list of leads, and contact every single one of them. You never know what will happen. It is best to follow-up as soon as possible after a show, within the next 1-5 days.

 

Step 2. Revisit Your Goals

Now that the show is over and you have done all the follow-up required, it is time to look over your goals again.

Were you successful in reaching these goals?

Did you learn anything new?

Would you do something differently to improve your success next time?

Questions like these will help you analyze the good and bad of your experience and improve your results for next time.

 


That’s our guide! Have any comments or suggestions? Found this guide helpful? Let us know!

Remember, follow these steps and you will be in the best position to have an awesome success at the Expo. Good luck!

~Sarah A.

Attending a Bridal Expo? Here is What You Need to Know!

Attending a Bridal Expo? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Yay! You’re engaged! Congratulations. How are you and your fiancé preparing for your wedding? Are you feeling overwhelmed already? I bet someone has suggested a wedding expo and now you, your mom and girlfriends are trying to decide if you should go and what you can expect.

If you can’t decide if you should go to a wedding show or if you have no idea what a bridal expo is, we at Great Bridal Expo are here to help!

First thing’s first…

What is a Bridal Expo?

A bridal expo, like Great Bridal Expo, is a fabulous, wedding planning event. There is simply no better way to see the latest wedding trends, compare the best wedding services and get all the inspiration you need to have the wedding of your dreams. All of the exhibitors/vendors at the event are truly the top professionals in the wedding industry. If you ever wondered how you can find the best wedding companies and services, the Great Bridal Expo is where you can find them.

Most important of all, a bridal expo/wedding show is FUN for you and all of your guests. You will all get to sample products (cakes), win prizes and get free wedding swag! The list goes on. You and your guests will find yourselves getting makeovers, becoming mesmerized by the wedding fashion show, and finding yourselves thinking, “Where are we going to put all this free stuff?”. One of the most important perks of going to a bridal expo is that sometimes you get to eat free cake! Not just any cake mind you, wedding cake! Let’s just say I am a big fan of the cake element of wedding expos.

So now you have the background of this wedding extravaganza called a bridal expo. What when you are at the show? What should you expect to encounter?

What you will encounter (probably) at a Bridal Expo.

As mentioned previously, there will be a ton of wedding professionals, events and all sorts of wedding related excitement going on. We will take you through some specific examples of situations you might encounter or find yourself in at the expo.

1. The Crowds.

Bridal expos and wedding shows will bring out hundreds of like-minded brides, their guests and other spectators. You might encounter lines at the best booths, tastings and at the front door where you have to buy tickets unless you have already bought tickets online (you have right?). If not, buy them here. It’s important to plan ahead. Know where you want to be!

2. Exhibitors.

From wedding dresses makers, to photographers, jewelers and everything else in between, there will be so many different types of vendors you will surely find exactly what you are looking for…and a lot of things you didn’t know you needed. 🙂 To make the most of your experience, you should have a plan of the exhibitors you want to see, the things you need, your budget and where everything is at the expo. Doing these steps will help you make your wedding planning exactly as you want it.

3. Food Samples.

There will oftentimes be an assortment of catering companies eager to have you to sample their delicacies. You will find me around the cakes, of course, but there will be all types of food and drinks to suit your needs.

4. Wedding Gowns.

Are you still looking for a wedding dress? Do you need to get fitted or have specific questions about tailoring your current dress? A lot of times, you will find wedding dress professionals that can answer all of your questions and show you the latest styles.

5. The Latest Trends in the Wedding Industry.

If you find yourself struggling to stay up to date with all the wedding trends and styles, the Great Bridal Expo, will get you up to speed, fast. All of the exhibitors at the show stay up to date with all of the latest trends and styles. Be sure to use your phone to take pictures and to type up some notes on all of the trends and decor that catches your eye. A big part of attending a bridal expo is the inspiration. Get inspired

6. Prizes & Giveaways.

One of the best parts about attending a bridal expo (besides the cakes) are the prizes and the giveaways! Sponsors and exhibitors will raffle off all sorts of items ranging from wedding dresses, to all expense paid honeymoons and more! It is super important that you register for anything and everything that catches your fancy. People at the show WILL win these prizes, but only if they sign up!

7. The Fashion Show.

The Great Bridal Expo has one of the most premier wedding fashion shows in the country. Our fashion shows are one of our most popular events at the bridal expo. You will get to watch gorgeous models walk the catwalk wearing the latest wedding fashions. If you see anything you like, be sure to take a picture (no flash) with your phone and write down the names of your favorite designers and outfits. Just so you know, if you want to get a good spot at the show, you and your squad should get there early. These shows are super popular!

What do you need to do to have the most successful bridal show?

Now that we have covered some of things you will encounter at a bridal show, here is what you need to do to prepare so that you can have the most success at the expo!

1. Create a Wedding Email Address & Phone Number.

One of the most important reasons to attend a bridal expo is to find exhibitors and designers to help make your wedding awesome. This process will require giving your contact information as needed. The best way to organize all of this wedding information and to also prevent having tons of email sent to your personal account is to create a wedding email address to be used specifically for your show. If you plan to give your phone number out, it is also a good idea to use a service like Google Voice to get a free phone number that you will only use for your wedding planning. I personally don’t like having my phone ring a million times a day and would rather have some control of when and how someone can contact me.

2. Bring Pre-Printed Labels.

There is nothing more annoying than having to write your name, wedding date, email, address and anything else over and over and over and over again. Make sure to pre-print all of your contact information on labels that you can use to give exhibitors. This is the easiest way to enter contests and have vendors contact you. The most important information to have on your labels is your name, wedding date and contact info. This tip is super important, seriously. An expo could have over 100 booths. Who wants to write their contact information that many times? Not me.

3. Buy Tickets Online – Early!

Remember I mentioned the lines you might encounter, especially at the ticket booth? If you are planning to attend a show, you should definitely buy tickets online. You can find the show nearest you by using this link. By buying tickets online, you get to skip the line on the way to the show. Also, order tickets online is usually the best way to score discounts like buy one get one’s. Buy your tickets now!

4. Plan Your Time at the Expo.

One of the best ways to have the most success at the expo is to plan out your experience. It’s important to know exactly what you are looking for and what your budget is before you go into a show. Depending on where you are in your wedding planning, just engaged or almost ready to walk to the altar, you might have different needs and require certain services.

5. Take Care of Your Feet – Wear Comfortable Shoes!

From the moment you step into the expo, you will be on your feet walking around and carrying things. You will be doing lots of walking from booth to booth and standing while talking. Don’t wear the fanciest pair of heels you have if they make your feet miserable after 5 minutes! Trust me, you don’t want to be the only one walking around barefoot at the show. Keep your feet happy!

6. Take Care of Your Body & Tummy – Bring Water & Eat a Good Meal Before You Arrive.

Yes, I said there would be cake, but have you ever eaten nothing but cake all day? You and your tummy will start not to feel very good. Just like before you took a test at school, it’s important to eat a good meal so you can stay energized and focused throughout the event. Be sure to leave a little room for all the treats and yummies you will eat at the expo!The reason why you should bring water should be obvious. Getting dehydrated sucks. It makes me feel cranky, itchy and makes me unable to concentrate. I always have water with me wherever I go. Be prepared!

7. Bring People That Actually Want to Be There!

It has to be said, even though this is a “Bridal Expo” with emphasis on the bride, you can still bring your hubby-to-be, your family and your friends! Make sure that the people you decide to bring with you actually want to be there and will support you on your quest to having the best wedding. The worst experience I have had at a show was bringing my Aunt Lisa with me who complained about the prices, the food and basically everything else the entire time. I would have had a blast at the show… if I had left Aunt Lisa behind. This is your time to have fun and experience the awesomeness of the wedding industry. Remember, you want to have fun! Bring people that love to have fun with you!

8. Use Your Phone – Take Pictures & Video of What You Love!

Attending a bridal expo can be quite overwhelming, exciting and fun. Also, the time flies, so it’s critically important to take a picture or video of your favorite booths, vendors, anything that you want to have in your wedding and actually want to remember after the show. You will probably forget that booth you loved 15 booths ago. Don’t let this happen! The exhibitors should always follow up with you if you have given them your contact information, but don’t take any chances if you absolutely loved them.

9. Enter to Win All of the Contests!

There are some absolutely fabulous prizes at the bridal expo. Some vendors will give away free wedding dresses, cakes, decor and even amazing honeymoons. All you have to do is enter! Remember, people at the show WILL win these prizes. It could be you! But only if you enter.

10. Follow Up With Your Favorites.

Don’t wait for your favorite wedding vendors or exhibitors to contact you. They might have had 500 brides give them their contact info. Make the first move! The last thing you want is to have them fully book their calendar and not have a spot left for you. Follow up with your favorite vendors and exhibitors after the show. You already did the work at the show. Get the wedding professional, the date and what you want for your wedding!

11. Keep an Open Mind.

A wedding expo is a completely different experience. It’s a world of its own, especially if this is your first time. You will meet people and see things that you never would have without the expo. It is important to keep an open mind to the many ideas, designs, and services that you will encounter. You might see something that would be absolutely perfect that you would never have thought of. Let the experience wash over you and pick what you love. Everyone is there for you. Have Fun!

The most important thing I have to say is to have fun and eat cake. The entire expo is designed to help brides have the weddings of their dreams. Enjoy the crowds, the sounds, the sights. Everyone wants to help you make all your wedding dreams come true.  The exhibitors and vendors are all truly the best wedding professionals in your area.

A wedding expo is the one stop shop for all things weddings. Brides and their guests can meet all of the top wedding professionals in one place so that they can plan their dream weddings. From samples to prizes and even free honeymoons, a bridal expo is one of the best places to be as a bride. Remember, all the professionals are there for you.

Go. Have fun. I’ll see you there!

~Sarah A.