5 British Royal Wedding Traditions You’ll Want to Borrow

5 British Royal Wedding Traditions You’ll Want to Borrow

The countdown to the most anticipated wedding of the year is underway. Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle are just hours from tying the knot at St. George Chapel on Saturday, May 19, in what is guaranteed to be a lavish ceremony with a refreshingly modern spin. No matter how Americanized the royal wedding may be, there are still some time-honored customs that will likely be by the book, if only at the behest of the Queen. Luckily, you don’t have to be royalty to incorporate them into your own fairytale nuptials. Consider these British royal wedding traditions your “something borrowed.”

Tiaras

Tiaras are an emblem of the British royal family, and Queen Elizabeth II has on   e of the most impressive collections in the world. Typically, it’s under lock and key, but royal weddings offer us a rare glimpse of the crown jewels. Remember when Kate Middleton married Prince William in April 2011 wearing the Cartier Halo tiara, on loan from Her Majesty the Queen? It featured a whopping 1,311 diamonds! Rumors are circulating that Markle may don the Strathmore Rose tiara, the Lover’s Knot tiara, or Princess Diana’s Spencer tiara, which she wore during her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles.

 

If you’re going to invest in a bridal tiara for your own wedding, plan well in advance. The key is finding one that complements your dress and doesn’t compete with it. You’ll also want to consider the venue, the theme of the wedding, your face shape, bridal hairstyle, and even your height. (Yes, there’s a lot that goes into one little tiara!) Often, bridal shops or expo vendors will have a selection on-hand for you to try. If you’re worried about wearing the tiara again, there are variations that collapse and turn into brooches. In short, there’s something for everyone!

Morning Suits

In the States, “black tie” usually implies a tuxedo for men no matter what time the wedding festivities begin. But across the pond, men often wear morning suits for daytime formalwear. Expect to see many of the notable male attendees at the royal wedding in a cutaway tailcoat, a waistcoat (vest), trousers, and a 4-in-hand tie. Gloves, canes, and top hats are optional, of course.

A morning suit is a great alternative for formals when the groom and groomsmen are planning on renting. Because, let’s face it, a wedding is one of the few times a man can really get away with this.

Fruitcake

A fanciful fruitcake always takes center stage at British royal weddings. In fact, they’ve been a staple since the medieval period. Prince William and Kate opted for two cakes when they said “I do.” The pièce de résistance was an eight-tier fruitcake created by Fiona Cairns that was made with cherries, raisins, orange marmalade, currants, and brandy. A second dessert came in the form of a simple chocolate biscuit cake that was said to be a favorite of both Queen Elizabeth II and William.

Earlier this year, Kensington Palace released a statement that Prince Harry and Meghan were bucking tradition in favor of a more “Americanized” cake made with organic Amalfi lemons and English elderberry. This delicious confection was commissioned by Claire Ptak, of hip East London shop Violet Bakery, who will top it with buttercream icing and decorate it with fresh flowers. That being said, it’s still an English wedding. We’ll be shocked if there’s not a fruitcake of some sort hiding in the corner.

For your special day, we have two words for you: groom’s cake. And that takes care of that.

Elaborate Hats

British wedding etiquette dictates that women who attend the ceremony should wear hats or fascinators. The cardinal rule? Bigger is better. Back in the day, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie made waves for their over-the-top headwear at Prince William’s nuptials, and we’ll likely see more where that came from on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day.

If you’re planning a formal wedding, a garden soiree, or even a themed event, you may want to consider adding headwear to the dress code specifications. However, if you’re getting married in a church, be sure to check their guidelines before mailing out the invites.

A Sprig of Myrtle

According to Kensington Palace, royal wedding florist Philippa Craddock will be using locally-sourced foliage from native trees for the decor, along with seasonal plants, like white garden roses, peonies, and foxglove. No doubt a sprig of myrtle will also be on the docket. This tradition dates back to Queen Victoria, who received myrtle from Prince Albert’s grandmother and planted it on the grounds of the Osbourne House on the Isle of Wright. This same myrtle plant has provided clippings for the bouquets of royal brides, including Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, and Kate Middleton. Myrtle symbolizes love, luck, and prosperity.

Since royal decorum isn’t a factor you’ll need to consider, you can sprinkle in myrtle wherever you please. Perhaps you’ll want to use it in the groom’s boutonniere or your mother-in-law’s corsage. It’s also a sophisticated filler for garlands and tabletop centerpieces. The options are endless.

 

 

 

Want to Give Your Bridesmaids the best gift? Check out our list!

On your journey to plan the perfect wedding, did you remember to plan the perfect gift for your favorite women?

Although not “REQUIRED”, it is a super good idea to give your bridesmaid some extra love and pampering. After all, they are helping you make your wedding perfect, right? (hint: bridal shower, bachelorette party)

You can give your bridesmaid a gift during any phase of your wedding- bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc. In my opinion, the rehearsal dinner is the perfect time. Everyone is more relaxed and looking to have a good time.

If you are having trouble coming up with the perfect bridesmaid gift, check out our list. You might exactly what you want!

We have split the list into different categories for easier browsing.

 

Gifts to Pamper

 

 

  1. Silk pajamas, a comfy robe

  2. A gift certificate to a local spa, hair salon, or boutique

  3. Monogrammed set of bath towels

  4. A designer clutch, handbag or makeup ba

  5. A perfume gift set

Gifts that are Handmade

 

  1. Soaps or scented candles

  2. A photo album of the event

  3. Homemade desserts

  4. A framed picture, poem or something personal to you

  5. Something they can wear- knitted scarves, hats, gloves etc.

Gifts to Entertain

 

  1. A subscription to something they love

  2. Tickets to a show, event or sporting event

  3. Headphones in their favorite color

  4. A popular book

  5. An awesome bottle of wine

 

Hobby Gifts

 

  1.  A gift certificate for an introductory class like dancing, gardening or cooking

  2. Workout clothes/gear

  3. A new cookbook

  4. Tools or supplies for their favorite hobbies

  5. Subscription to a magazine dedicated to their hobby with a matching gift

 

Remember, they are your bridesmaids. You know them better than we do! Be creative with the gift, have fun with it.

If you still need help planning your wedding, or want more ideas, check out one of our Bridal Expos! They are located across the country.

For ticket information go here: /get-tickets/

 

Leave us a comment and tell us what you gave your bridesmaids as a gift. We would love to hear your stories!

Until next time!

~Sarah A.

 

 

3 Spring Wedding Trends You Need To Know!

One of the highlights of every Great Bridal Expo is the chance to check out new wedding dress trends, including a live fashion show where you can see models displaying some of the hottest new designs from the world’s best designers. So what can you expect at bridal shows coming up this year? Here are a few of the spring wedding fashion trends that you need to know.

 

The Meghan Markle wedding dress effect

 

If there is one event this spring that will change the look and style of wedding dresses in 2018, it will be the upcoming Royal Wedding between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. The name of the designer who will create the bride’s wedding gown has not yet been publicly announced, but the British media are reporting that the choice will come down to London-based Roland Mouret and the Australian-born duo Ralph & Russo (Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo), who designed Meghan’s absolutely stunning $75,000 couture engagement gown. You’ll definitely want to keep your eyes on Windsor Castle on May 19. Within days of the wedding, you could start hearing stories about “knockoff” royal wedding dresses hitting the market.

Romantic lace and floral prints from the new H&M Wedding Shop

 

If paying $75,000 for a couture gown is, well, a little out of your budget, how about the opposite end of the spectrum? Scandinavian fast-fashion retailer H&M, known mostly for its affordable fashion options, is branching out with a Wedding Shop. One of the highlights that the media is talking about right now is an affordable version of the wedding gown that the Duchess of Cambridge wore to her wedding – it’s a long lace dress with sheer lace sleeve and a low neckline. But the H&M Wedding Shop is not just for brides – there are plenty of budget-friendly options for bridesmaids and just about anyone attending a spring wedding, including a few romantic lace stunners and floral prints. H&M usually has its hands on the pulse of the fashion industry, so these dresses might give you a good idea of what to look for at the Great Bridal Expo.

 

Non-white wedding gowns are now on trend

 

This one might be a shocker, but fashion shopping site Lyst.com just released its 2018 Wedding Fashion Report, and one of the major trends in the report was the preference of women for non-white wedding gowns. And we’re not just talking about off-white or ivory dresses, either. Three of the hottest colors of the season are rose, red, and yellow. And if you’re feeling particularly fashion-forward, some of the world’s best designers – including the highly-acclaimed Reem Acra – are now showcasing black wedding gowns. Other trends noted by Lyst include white jump suits and pant suits for women instead of gowns.

 

One thing is certain: there is going to be a lot of change and innovation happening in the wedding dress market this year, and one of the best places to get ahead of those trends is by attending the Great Bridal Expo, where you’ll be able to meet some of the exhibitors who are showing up in bridal magazines and being featured on fashion websites.

 

4 Tips To Make the Most of Your Experience at the Great Bridal Expo !

 

Attending the Great Bridal Expo is a great way to start planning your wedding. For brides, attending this event can be a way to check out new wedding gowns all in one place, as well as a convenient way to find out more about parts of the wedding experience that they might not have even thought about – such as catering services or floral arrangements.

 

To make the most of your experience at the Great Bridal Expo, here are several quick tips!

 

Tip #1: Plan in advance which exhibitors you want to see first

 

When you first arrive at the Great Bridal Expo, you might be overwhelmed by all the exhibitors and all the events planned throughout the day – there’s a lot packed into each bridal show! As a result, you’ll want to do a little advance planning to make sure that you get to visit all the booths and vendors that you need to see. The Great Bridal Expo venue is divided into different themed areas (e.g. gowns, venues, catering, honeymoons), so it’s actually easier than you might think to come up with a general plan of attack. Just pick up a program guide for the Great Bridal Expo and highlight your “must-see” exhibitors at the event.

 

Tip #2: Ask plenty of questions

 

Each booth is staffed by a knowledgeable, friendly representative of a company, so why not take the time to stop by and ask a few questions? Most brides tell us that they learn more in a quick 5-minute conversation than they do by reading through the company’s promotional materials. This is your chance to get very specific, customized advice for your wedding, so why not take advantage of this opportunity? You don’t have to talk to every exhibitor, of course, because you won’t have time. Weddings are extremely personal, so it’s good to establish a personal connection with someone at your vendor of choice.

 

Tip #3: Treat this event like a show, not a convention or conference

 

The Great Bridal Expo is meant to be a fun, interactive experience. Throughout the day, there are different contests and giveaways, so make sure you enter at least one of these. And one of the highlights of the bridal show is the fashion show with live DJ – this is your chance to see the latest designs from the most famous wedding designers in the industry. You might walk away with a few great ideas for your bridal gown!

 

Tip #4: Keep an eye out for new trends

 

If you are attending the Great Bridal Expo with plenty of time before your upcoming wedding, this is a great opportunity to catch up with various trends in the industry. The more you start planning your wedding, the more you will see how weddings today are very different from weddings just a few years ago – not just in bridal fashions, but even in the types of venues that some people choose to celebrate their wedding. You might make a note in your planning guide of the different exhibitors who seem to be more traditional, and those that are influential tastemakers within the industry, pioneering new trends.

 

And one final bit of advice – if you are attending this bridal show with friends or family, you might plan to do a little “divide and conquer” that will let you focus on what matters the most to you, while still making sure that you visit as many vendors as you can at the event. By doing so, you’ll have everything that you need to plan the wedding of your dreams.

Make Your Next Bridal Expo A Success!

You want to have the perfect wedding right? Of course you do! We all have an idea of our dream wedding. Guess what? You can turn that dream into a reality!

 

Truth is, with the right wedding planning, you can have the wedding you have always dreamed of. The planning process will take your time, energy, and money, but a wedding expo can give you that much needed shortcut. For brides, a great bridal show will present a lot of advantages, but you just have to be prepared before going. At Great Bridal Expo, we want you to have that perfect wedding, so here are tips on how to make your experience at the wedding show fruitful.

Go Ahead Of Time

You don’t want to attend bridal expos when your wedding is fast approaching. You need enough time between the show and your wedding. This is to give you an ample opportunity to get familiar with wedding trends and come up with the right amount of resources to get what you want. If your wedding is scheduled to be held in the spring, it is expected that you attend the bridal shows that are held the fall before in order to get an idea of what is hot and trending.

Plan Your Movement and Follow The Schedule

The Great Bridal Expo is divided into specialized themed areas and if you don’t have a planned schedule, you will waste time and energy. Plan your tour and visit stands based on order of importance. You can start with wedding gowns, men’s attire, then move on to venue, food, catering etc. If you already have some of your guests covering certain areas, then it is a good idea to visit the exhibitors that cover the parts of your weddings which require your expertise.

By Ready to Explore All Possible Options

This is an exhibition for brides to explore different options, so there is absolutely no reason to be ashamed to ask as many questions as you need. You can also be picky about everything. It is YOUR wedding! You have to work with the understanding that the more information you have, the better your chances of making the right decision. Do not make decisions on the spot. Don’t be pressured to make any decisions without some time to think about it and compare with other offers. Gather as much information as you can and look at them objectively before reaching a conclusion.

Take Your Time, Do Not Hurry

This is an opportunity to make sure that you save time, energy and money in the planning phase of your wedding. If there are areas in your wedding planning process that are giving you headaches, seek out a professional to help you out! Spend as much time at the Expo as you need to feel 100% confident. Take the time to compare each offer and make sure that they represent the best choice for you based on quality and price. If you found an exhibitor that has really made you curious, plan to meet them at their own establishment after the show. Don’t rush!

Be Ready To Participate

There are lots of contests and events in a bridal show that call for sort of participation. Be sure to register, participate, do whatever it takes to win those awesome prizes! Take the time to really get lost in the wonders of the bridal expo. I’m sure you’ll find something you love!

There you have it! The above are a couple of tips to help you get the best out of your bridal expo experience. Even if you are not the bride, be sure to tag along so that you can get the inside scoop on the best of the wedding industry. Plus, there might even be free cake! A bridal show at the Great Bridal Expo offers you the opportunity to get great ideas and meet the right people that will make your wedding the event you’ve always dreamed of.

 

Be ready to have fun!

~Sarah A.

Check Out Our Best Bridal Expo Giveaway Ideas!!

We have mentioned in previous posts that having an awesome giveaway or giving cool freebies to your guests are a great way to get people excited to see your booth. This is still the case. In fact, giving away little promotional items to the guests that reach your booth and really help keep your company and services in their mind after they have left the show. You can score bonus points if you give away something that they actually like or will use. Think of things like bottle openers, bags, pens, or something for them to use in the kitchen. The whole point of freebies is to entice brides to your booth and to make sure they remember you after the show. Be creative!

To get those creative juices flowing today, we are going to give you some great ideas to give away. Yes freebies might cost you some money up front, but think of it this way: the more people that come to your booth, the more likely you are to get bookings, right?

 

Bags

 

 

Brides are going to be given lots of stuff to carry around. What better way to carry their stuff than in a bag with your company name and logo on it? You can have canvas totes with your logo on it made cheaply. When they get home, they are going to see your bag. Unlike some of the other stuff they might just throw away, everyone can use a bag for something. This is a ton of brand exposure for you and your business! Be sure to have your company name, contact information and website address on the bag.

 

Pens

 

Everyone loves pens. You always don’t have one when you need one, especially when writing down your contact information to give to an exhibitor you like…so do the brides a favor and have pens with your logo and contact information on them to give away. Pens are very inexpensive and will be used quite often. Definitely a good idea to give these away.

 

Key-chain Accessories

 

I don’t know if it is just me, but I love to put things on my key-chain. In fact, it is so big that it takes up all of the space in my purse. But there are so many cute things on it that I just can’t part with. Believe it or not, many people like to put things on their key-chains. Of course, the accessory needs to be cute or serve some sort of purpose. Bottle openers with your company name and contact information on them? Now that is something people can use!

 

Magnets

 

Magnets are another good idea to give away as a freebie. They can really turn an empty, drab refrigerator into one covered in magnets- with your logo on them! Again, magnets are a very cost effective way to market yourself through free samples.

 

Drink Holders

 

Giving away drink concealer/coolers, or “Koozies” as they are known around here, is a very popular freebie item. People can definitely find a use for these, they are inexpensive, and have a lot of space for you to put your company name, logo, information and anything else you want.

 

Kitchen Items

 

Kitchen items are always a hit for men and women. Oven mitts, pot holders, spatulas, you name it- people will love it. Most of your competitors, if they even decide to give anything away, will stick with the cheaper, plastic items like pens, or magnets. You can really differentiate yourself by giving away a kitchen product like an oven mitt with your logo on them. Again, the key to prolonged marketing exposure via your freebie is how useful the item is. Kitchen items are useful!

 

Bath Stuff

 

Lotions, oils, candles, scents, towels, soap, anything you can think of that could be related to the bath, people love. Imagine this situation: a bride has taken home some soap. It smells good, real good. She has her friends over and they comment on the soap and ask the bride where she got it from? Boom! Your company comes up and they decide to take a look at your website and see what you do. Turns out, one of them needs your services! Talk about useful soap.

 

Cake & Candies

 

My favorite part of any bridal show is to find out how much free food I can stuff into my mouth, especially cake. If you bake cakes, or desserts, or are a caterer, what better way to give brides a sample of your services than by giving them a sample of your services? You can even offer a “trade” of a bride’s contact information for a delicious sample. People will do anything for free food. Filling out some contact forms? No problem! Give me that cake!

 

Bookmarks

 

Since brides will be given tons and tons of reading material during the show, they will need some way to save their place in that book or magazine or pamphlet. Freebie items that are very uncommon at bridal shows are bookmarks. These are inexpensive to make, can have all of your contact information on them and can be used for a long time. They will also be seen frequently, especially by those avid reader brides. I guarantee that if I was given a bookmark at a bridal show, I would use it. I’m actually in need of one right now. Talk about an awesome way to stand out!

 

Raffles

 

One of the most popular parts of any bridal show are the raffles. Free trips, honeymoons, services, food, wedding dresses..really anything. It is always a good way to have some sort of raffle giveaway. Be warned, that not all bridal shows and bridal expos will allow raffles. You will have to check the rules at your local bridal expo. A good tip is to offer credit for your services as the prize for the raffle. Let’s say your services normally cost $1000, but by winning the raffle, they can save 50% or more on select packages. This is a really good way to get a hesitant bride to book with you because let’s face it, 50% off is 50% off. Everyone loves a good deal.

 

There you have it! These are some of the most popular freebies that we see at wedding shows and bridal expos. Remember, the key is to be creative. Try to give away something related to your services or products. To really stand out from the rest of the exhibitors, make sure your freebie choice is something that is useful.

 

Until next time!

~Sarah A.

 

6 Reasons Why you should attend a Wedding Expo

 

You want to have the perfect wedding right? Who doesn’t! 🙂

Did you know that attending a wedding show can be a fantastic experience filled with the very best of what the wedding industry has to offer?

Trendy wedding styles, wedding photographers, DJs, you name it- the wedding expo can deliver.

If you still aren’t particularly convinced on why you should go (spoiler: you should), here are six reasons why you should!

 

1. Make Friends

When you attend a bridal show or a bridal expo, they are usually specific to your local area. That means that there will be hundreds of brides, guests and wedding professionals all interacting with each other that also live relatively near one another. Chances are, you might meet someone you know or someone you are happy to have met! Bridal expos are a fun and lively event and people go to these shows to have fun and surround themselves with the sights, smells and sounds of the wedding industry. No matter how hectic your wedding planning situation might be, be sure to go to a wedding expo in a positive mood ready to meet people!

 

2. Make it Personal

One of the hardest parts of wedding planning is finding wedding professionals with services you need…and those that you actually like. If you are looking for a more casual environment where you get to meet the people that run the wedding services you need as well as sample whichever products they might have, a wedding expo is the perfect place to do it. You want to actually enjoy working with your video photographer right? Most wedding professionals will be involved at some point in your wedding process for several hours if not longer. It is good to test the waters first before making any decisions! The hope is that during the expo you meet a caterer, or Dj that really understands YOUR ideas and vision for your dream wedding- and can help make it happen!

 

3. Save Money

Here is a wedding show expo secret: Exhibitors at the show offer show only deals- all the time! That’s right, if you show up to the show, find a wedding pro you like, chances are they have a fantastic deal specific to brides that attend the show. Score! Here is another tip, even if the exhibitor does not show that they have a wedding show promotion, be sure to ask. They are there to book brides just like you and they want your business! Many of them will do whatever it takes (within reason) to get you to say yes. Take advantage!

 

4. Advice from Professionals

If you are anything like me, planning a wedding is a hard thing to do. It can be challenging to figure out where to find what you want and even what you should want? How do I know how many place settings I need at my reception tables? Do I give everyone at my wedding a swag bag? I might not know all the answers, or even some of them, but I can tell you that the professionals you come across at the wedding expo will be able to answer any question you have. Many of them have been in the wedding industry for a while and have seen it all and know what works best. Don’t hold any questions back. No question is a bad question! This is your wedding. Get all the advice you need from the people who know!

 

5. Win Cool Stuff

I like free stuff. People like free stuff. I can only assume that you like free stuff too. Right? If you do, then a wedding expo is a fabulous place to get new swag. Many exhibitors during the show will have show-only giveaways and prizes for potential brides and couples to win when you visit your booths. They might come in the form of raffles, online drawings or free stuff on their booths. Be sure to sign up to anything and everything you think you want. You could even win a free honeymoon! Now that’s what I’m talking about. Remember, if you don’t enter, you don’t win anything. If you don’t attend the expo, you can’t enter… See where I’m going with this?

 

6. Keep up with the latest

 

If you have ever wanted to learn what the latest trends and fashions were in the wedding world, this is the place to be. The best exhibitors will be in attendance and they know the very top of the line, cream of the crop, good stuff that you probably have never seen before-and never knew you needed, until now. Did you know that the Great Bridal Expo offers an exclusive wedding fashion show to its guests? Take a look at the hottest in wedding dress and formal wear fashion at our shows!

 

There you have it! A bridal expo is simply a great experience that every bride should attend at least once. From free stuff, awesome advice and exposure to the latest in wedding fashions, a wedding show has it all.

Happy wedding planning!

~Sarah A.

The Do’s and Don’t for Exhibitor Success at the Great Bridal Expo

 

Looking for some quick tips for success as an exhibitor at the Great Bridal Expo?

We are here to help.

Here is our quick “Do’s and Dont’s” cheat sheet for exhibitors to keep in mind during each phase of the show.

DO’s

DO remember that you are there to build your business, brand and get leads. You are there to work. Stay focused on your goals!

DO try to book a meeting with a hesitant bride rather than force a sell right then and there at the show. You do not want to spend 15-30 minutes trying to win over one bride while you miss out on 15 potential clients that walk right by your booth.

DO smile and have fun. Brides will feel your enthusiasm and your energy levels. You want them to feel welcome and that you are there to give them the best experience possible. The extra effort goes a long way. This also includes being proactive in talking to brides that come near your booth. Don’t wait for them to come to you. If you see them looking, go say hello and invite them to look at your booth.

DO stand in front of your booth. It is important to be as personable as possible. Standing in front of your booth allows you to easily meet all new brides that walk by. When you hide behind your booth, it looks more like a dealer table and lowers the required personal experience that really gets brides to book.

DO giveaways. It doesn’t matter if your freebie is simple. Be sure to give something away! Everyone loves free stuff and giveaways are simply one of the best ways to draw brides to your booth.

DO remember to have your branding (logo, address, etc.) on anything you give to brides. You want them to be able to easily find and contact you after the show.

DO encourage brides to ask you questions. You want brides to be imagining their wedding as much as possible. Let them ask you questions and be sure to ask them questions that require responses above a yes or no. Get them thinking about their wedding and how great it will be using your service!

DO collect information. Remember, one of the biggest reasons you are at the show is to get leads from brides. From every interaction you have with a bride, be sure to get their contact information. Entice them to share this information by entering them into a raffle or special giveaway after they have given their contact information.

DO use social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram- any social media you have, you need to use. Promote your attendance at the show and your freebies/giveaways to all of your followers. While at the show, be sure to share live video, tweets and posts about how great it is at the show, how much fun you are having, and any other exciting news. If you know that there is an influential social media person at the show, be sure to connect with them and try to leverage their own audience to help your business. Promote yourself by promoting them.

DO be obvious. You want everyone that looks at your booth to know exactly who you are, what you do, and what you are selling. You are there to attract customers that will want your service. Be sure to decorate your booth with your branding, business cards, and testimonials. You want brides to know why your business is special or unique. Go that extra mile.

DO offer discounts. Getting leads is super important at the show, but if you can get bookings and/or sales too? That’s icing on the cake. To encourage brides to make their decisions at your booth, it is always a good idea to give a discount or throw in extras when the bride decides to book right then and there at the show. You can make this an exclusive “show offer” that only attendees have access to. It is important to let them know that as soon as they leave the show, this special goes away.

DO take breaks… one person at a time. Depending on how long the show lasts, it is a good idea to give the employees at your booth a minute or two to use the bathroom, get some fresh air and gather their senses. The expo is action packed. You and your team will be talking to lots of people, back to back, for hours. Be sure to always have at least 1 person at your booth at all times. If possible, try to keep 2 at your booth at all times.

DO talk your service/product up. You want brides to feel like your product or service is the best at the expo. Don’t be modest. Tell them why your product will give them the wedding of their dreams. If you know that your competitors are at the show, be sure to demonstrate why choosing you over them is the smartest choice the bride can make.

DO FOLLOW UP. If you don’t follow any of the previous suggestions, please, please, please, follow up after the show. This is where the magic happens. The majority of all bookings and sales come AFTER the show, but only to those that follow up with their leads. Hopefully during the show you took good notes, and were able to personalize your offerings to the bride. You want them to feel like you specifically remembered them when you follow up.

I’ll say it again- FOLLOW UP!

 


Dont’s

Look at the list of do’s above. Don’t do the opposite of the things in this list. In addition:

DON’T leave the show early. Nothing could look worse for your business than an open booth or showing brides that you are packing up and heading out. Stay until the very end of the show, and even a bit after. There will be brides lingering around that will be on the fence of making a decision. Be sure to offer those show specials again!

DON’T speak negatively of your competition. There is a big difference between talking up your services versus talking down above your competition. You are not there to sling mud on anyone else. Shine through your competition by having a better product, service, or something else that sets you apart. BE BETTER.

DON’T eat at your booth. There is nothing better than chatting with a salesperson with food still in their mouth. Don’t be that person. Eat before or after the show.

DON’T use your phone at your booth. Everywhere you go, no matter the establishment, you see workers with the face down looking on their phones. Be better than that. Show the guests at the show that you are there for them and can give them all of your attention. Use your eyes to make eye contact with a potential lead, not watch a cute kitten video… save those for later.

DON’T sit down. Stay on your feet the whole time you are at the show. Wear comfortable shoes to ensure this is an easy task. You are a professional representing your business. The businesses that have the most success at shows are not the ones sitting down at their booths.

DON’T cross your arms or show unwelcoming posture. Picture this, a bride walking up to a booth with a salesperson with crossed arms, a frown, slouched in their chair (which you shouldn’t be sitting in), that doesn’t make eye contact. Is that someone you would want to talk to? Probably not. Keep your head up and keep a smile on your face with your hands at your sides. You want to be as inviting and personable as possible!

DON’T forget to follow up. Seriously this is the most important thing you have to remember. All of the work and effort you put into preparing for the show as well as working the show will be wasted if you do not follow up.


There you have it. Our quick list for success at a bridal expo. Oh yeah, be sure to follow up. 🙂

Good luck out there!

~Sarah A.

The Do’s and Dont’s of a Winter Wedding!

The cold, winter season is now upon us. You know what that means- winter weddings!

Yes, surprisingly, there are lots of people that choose to have their wedding in a winter wonderland. Isn’t there just something so beautiful about the snow, the silent majesty of a winter’s morn?

If you have had any thoughts of having your own winter wedding, or know that you will be attending one soon, we are here to help make sure these events are a success.

Here are our do’s & dont’s for those of you that want to have their wedding in the snow!

 

List of Do’s

 

Do Dress Your Bridesmaids in Style

 

Just because you are doing your wedding in the cold, doesn’t mean can’t look classy. Furs? Wool Skirts? Those big Russian jackets? These are all acceptable! With a winter wedding, you don’t have follow traditional wedding styles. It will most likely be cold outside during the ceremony. There might even be snow falling! During a wedding like this, you can have your bridesmaids wear layers, boots, hats, and modify them all to look great and be warm.  Layers are especially important because after the chilly ceremony, everyone will be headed into a (hopefully) warm reception area. You will want your bridesmaids to be able to switch to their “warm weather gear”. I would recommend saving the heels and short dresses for indoors. Since a winter wedding isn’t traditional, you can think outside the box and style your bridesmaids however you want! Be creative!

 

Do Choose a Warm & Cozy Reception Area

Just because you want to have your ceremony in a winter wonderland doesn’t mean you have to freeze the entire wedding! It’s a good idea to have your wedding in a warm, cozy fireplace-in-a-lodge type space. There is nothing better than walking into a a softly lit, warm space after being in the cold! Be sure to have warm drinks, hot cocoa, cider, to keep your guests warm. You can also provide a winter/holiday soup for the same effect. I would personally try to make sure the reception area is filled with delicious smells of warm cinnamon and other holiday goodness.

 

Do Be Creative With Food, Guest Gifts and Decorations

One of the great things about choosing to have a winter wedding is all the holiday and winter themed possibilities! You could use cute mini Christmas trees on each table that have an ornament with each guest’s that is assigned to sit there. You can give little Christmas themed boxes filled with holiday treats as gift bags. You can go old school Santa with milk and cookies for dessert. There are so many options to help give your wedding that extra holiday/winter “oomph”. Be creative!

 

List of Dont’s

 

Don’t Feel Forced to Use Christmas Colors.


Just because it is the holiday season doesn’t mean everyone has to wear red and green and look like Santa’s helpers! Be bold and use colors that really stand out against the holiday season. Spring colors, soft pinks, yellows all work great. Your guests will be expecting you to go with the holiday theme, but you can surprise them with a tropical themed wedding. But, who are we kidding, if you want a winter wedding there is a good chance you are a fan of the holiday theme. If you really love green and red, don’t be afraid to use those too!

 

Don’t Let Your Guests Freeze to Death!


Just because you prefer a chilly wedding, doesn’t mean everyone else loves the cold! Be sure to keep the ceremony, especially if outdoors, on the shorter side. There is nothing worse than enjoying your big day and looking over to see everyone shivering and miserable. Be sure to let your guests know to wear coats and other warm clothing while outside. It is a good idea to let the ladies know to NOT wear their heels outside in the snow. They should wear boots and then switch to their glamour gear once inside. Please be sure that there is enough space for all your guests inside the reception area. You don’t want to force anybody to stand outside in the cold.

 

Don’t Overdo the Heat


Okay, I know I just said not to let everyone freeze to death, but you always don’t want to go the complete other direction and unleash a million heaters on your guests. During the reception, be sure to keep an eye on your guests and make sure they aren’t all soaked to the bone in sweat. Once your party starts dancing and grooving, the reception area will heat up fast. Being uncomfortably hot is worse than cold, right? You can only take off so many layers!

 

There you have it!

Winter weddings can be a beautiful, one-of-a-kind wedding experience. The winter background can make for absolutely beautiful photographs.

Stick to this list of do’s and don’ts when planning your wedding and you are sure to have a winter wedding that will be amazing!

 

 

~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.