Last week, I shared a blog post all about the design and planning of my first bridal expo booth. But this week, I want to share a handful of tips and tricks (that I learned throughout the process) for other wedding industry vendors that are planning a booth (or even just considering participating in an expo or bridal show)!
Like I mentioned before, another photographer encouraged me to explore something new and become a vendor at The Elegant Bridal Expo, so I am all about encouraging others and fostering #communityovercompetition. The amount of information that we can share with one another is absolutely incredible! It is amazing to learn from others in the industry and to be encouraged by them as well!
So, after my experience, here are my best tips and tricks to share with you!
#1 - Plan ahead!
There are so many different bridal expos out there, and each and every one of them has something unique to offer. Some are small, while some are large with hundreds of brides. Whatever it may be, plan ahead!
This goes for so many things from booth design to printed materials. One of my first steps in planning for my booth design was to draw out my booth on paper. It gave me a visual idea of the direction I was headed and allowed me to see what I needed.
Planning ahead is also key in terms of making your booth welcoming and inviting. I loved hearing people say "Your space is so welcoming!" or "This is so homey!" when they entered my booth. My goal was a welcoming space, and I think I achieved just that!
The last thing you want to do is to be scrambling a few days before the expo to get everything together. Dealing with lots of shopping trips, rush production and shipping charges, and added stress is never fun!
#2 - Have at least two people working your booth!
It is nearly impossible to talk with every single bride at an expo, but it is important to try to! I am so thankful that my husband, and primary second shooter, was able to work my booth alongside. We were able to take the time to talk with each and every bride that visited the booth because there were two of us.
I would recommend that the person helping you at your booth knows your business inside and out - your style, your pricing, your way of business, etc. Brides (and grooms, too!) want to see that you are an expert in your field, and they want to feel confident in the team of vendors they select for their wedding day. Always remember that every aspect of your booth (you, your helpers, your printed materials, your work - everything!) is a representation of your business and ultimately your brand.
#3 - Offer a giveaway!
Another fun tip is to offer a giveaway! At your booth, let brides and grooms have the opportunity to win something... Anyway, who doesn't love to win free stuff?
The giveaway can be anything from a free engagement session to a half off the bride's bouquet to a discount on your DJ services to a dinner and movie date night for two. The options are endless! Always think of your couples and make the connection! Little details like this help brides and grooms know that you care.
#4 - Pass out printed materials!
The expo organizers should be able to give you an idea of the projected number of registered brides for the event. Thus, you will be able to gauge things like, how many items to print and how many contracts to bring. It is always a good idea to find out an approximate number of attendees so that you are prepared!
And... It's always better to have too many printed materials than not enough!
Printed materials allow the expo attendees to take something, just a piece of your product or service, with them. Printed materials can be things like 5x7 cards, business cards, and even pens with your logo! Whatever you choose, always give something to the visitors of your booth.
Oftentimes, bridal expos are fun yet overwhelming for brides, so it is difficult to make decisions on the spot at the expo. That's absolutely okay! I never want someone to feel pressured to make decisions, and I always recommend that brides go home, think about it, talk to the groom and their family, and then move forward with a decision. With that, brides usually go home, open their bride bags filled with goodies, and start sorting through all of the information they received at the expo.
Offering printed materials to visitors at your booth allows you to connect with couples beyond the expo. Maybe once they get home and sort through their bag, they will see your business card and think, "Wow, I really clicked with that florist... I would love to have her contribute to my wedding day!" You never know how connections made at an expo can come back to you later!
#5 - Have fun!
I'll be completely honest... I was so nervous during the first five minutes of the expo. I literally had the silly thought cross my mind that there was the potential for absolutely no one to stop by my booth. I suppose there truly was the potential for that to happen, but once more brides arrived and the expo picked up, literally 10 minutes into the expo, I relaxed and rocked it! I don't think I stopped talking for almost the entire show duration of four hours!
So, relax, take a deep breath, and have fun!
The time and anticipation leading up to expos can be stressful and fast-paced, but take a step back and enjoy the moment. Enjoy networking with other wedding industry professionals. Enjoy meeting brides, grooms, and their families and friends. Enjoy building your business and strengthening relationships. You'll be so thankful for the experience!