Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bridal Show Know How

The wedding industry is in its prime for getting ready for wedding season and booking new clients. For the next few months, there will be several bridal fairs and exhibits across the country for brides to come to a central location to book needed vendors for their Big Day. Bridal fairs can be overwhelming because it was for me when I went to my first one. So, I jotted down a few pointers that can help you get prepared for your bridal trip.

1. Pre-register. It saves you the long wait at check-in and may cost even less if you register early online.
2. Check to see what vendors will be present before hand. Some vendors may offer a discount if you book them at the show. *if you're not for sure about the vendors and haven't had enough time to get a feel for them, don't book them at the show. Do book an in office consultation to better get to know the potential vendor.
3. Talk to the vendors that you need (i.e. caterer, venue, florist, planner, photographer, minister)
4. Be prepared to pay for parking. Bring some cash.
5. Eat before you come. Use the restroom before you enter. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Bring a bottled water and some gum. (you'll be talking a lot)
6. Hire a babysitter. There's a lot of chaos at these shows, so why add more. You'll be so happy you left the little bitties at home.
7. Make a checklist of the vendors needed for your wedding and then plan to scope out your needed vendors.
8. Enjoy the fashion shows. Usually seating is limited and first come first serve so make sure you arrive early.
9. Bring a list of questions with you to ask. Vendors will have just a few minutes to chat with you so don't be bombarded with quick sale pitches. With your questions in hand, ask them. They want to help you, that's why they are there.
10. If the vendor you are interested in is speaking with someone else, wait until they're finished and begin to ask your questions.
11. Because the shows can be big and busy, try to schedule an appointment for after the show with your desired vendor.
12. Don't be afraid to start a conversation with the vendors. It's important for you to get a "feel" for the potential vendor.
13. Plan to spend approximately 3-5 hours at the show to see all the exhibits. Don't rush through them.
14. Utilize the aisles. Don't criss cross and hit and miss. Avoid passing any one vendor.
15. Check out atleast every booth. The vendor you could've been banking on may not be fit for you or already booked. With multiple contacts, you have options.
16. Be open to get ideas from the exhibits to incorporate into your own wedding. You can get inspiration for your invitations, floral, attire, tablescapes, favors, color combinations, etc.
17. Don't forget your camera. Snap any and everything that catches your eye and use it for inspiration and to recap what you saw.
18. Bring a small notebook and pen to jot down notes, websites, names, dates, etc.
19. Leave the big Dolce and Gabbana at home. With all of the people, tons of brochures, papers, small cards, water bottles, cell phone, and camera you don't want to ruin your trip with the weight of a heavy bag on your shoulders. Most shows will provide you with a bag at registration and/or vendors will have them to give. *separate the info that's most interesting to you from the rest of the handouts.
20. Bring your fiance' to atleast one show or trip. Then grab your mom, maid of honor, or gal pals to work the room.
21. Keep your cell phones handy if you and your gal pals split up. Just in case you see something uber interesting, you're just a call away to get everyone to see the something special.
22. Bring your PDA, smartphone, or calendar to check dates with potential vendors. You can schedule your initial consultation and add the date(s) and info right then and there versus forgetting about it once you've left the show.
23. When writing your contact info on registration sheets with vendors, be sure to print clearly. To avoid writer's cramp, bring printed labels or business cards.
24. Say No. marketing materials from vendors that you are not interested in. The materials cost the vendors quite a bit and it's best to let them go to interested clients than to your trash bin.
25. Carry swatches of your colors. Show them to your potential florist, dress designers, event stylist, and other wedding professionals. This can help them get to know a bit more about your wedding. *know your wedding party size, color scheme/theme, and location of your ceremony and reception. Most importantly, know your wedding date.
26. Leave the checkbook at home. In the event you want to book a vendor with a deposit, use your credit/debit card. Before you swipe your card, read the fine print and make sure you receive a receipt. Most vendors at the show are reputable but you still need to be on your Ps and Qs.
27. Each hour, take a break.
28. Don't wait too long after the show to contact your vendors of choice. During wedding season, choice dates go fast. The top vendors usually get booked up to the next year, so act fast.

Enjoy this time of planning and take your time.

Tish B.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Tish

    I just Love your new improve website. I pray that your business will prosper this year!!! "DIVINE IN 09"!!!! Continue to be the Beautiful, Fun, Angel that you are.

    Tonya Mitchner


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