The beginning of each year launches a new season of bridal shows and wedding expos. These events give vendors a chance to demonstrate their products and services and find their perfect matches for the upcoming wedding year. This coincides with the end of “Engagement Season” which runs roughly from November – February, or Thanksgiving – Valentine’s Day.
If you are a new bridesmaid, you may not have given these shows a single thought. You’ve probably focused on scouting out the perfect pink bridesmaid dresses and planning an amazing bridal shower. Don’t be caught off guard if your VIPs ask you to attend – instead, be ready to help get the most out of the bridal show experience!
Boutique Shows and Mega Expos
Wedding events can be intimate collections of vendors who work closely together or massive convention centers full of hundreds of wedding pros and thousands of brides and grooms, along with their entourages.
“Boutique” events are often hosted by venues or sponsored by a lead company that handpicks the other participants – they are small by design and meant to feature the services of specific businesses. They may be open to the public or invitation-only - free or ticketed by paid admission.
Expos are large events, many times held by an internet or magazine publisher. They are usually paid-admission events, and it can be beneficial to register in advance for savings on each ticket and additional entries into special giveaways.
It’s worth noting that small and large events alike often identify brides and grooms with special stickers that point out the “VIPs” in each group to vendors. You may occasionally encounter a booth that is “for brides only” – one where the cake samples or nifty refrigerator magnets are reserved exclusively for brides or grooms. The vast majority of wedding professionals wisely see beyond this old-school approach…so smile and enjoy the attention of their neighboring booths. Do not take it personally.
The Fashion Show
Events of both types often offer a fashion show, which can be a great “mental break” moment for overwhelmed or exhausted couples, not to mention a great chance for you to continue narrowing down your choice of pink bridesmaid dresses too. Arrive early enough to check in, walk the booths at least once to get a bird’s eye view of available vendors, attend the presentation, then walk the hall once more to follow up with any company that peaked your interest.
How You Can Help
You can help your couple successfully navigate any type of wedding show in the following ways:
Encourage them to bring a calendar or update their calendar app in advance so they can schedule follow up appointments with their favorite pros.
Bring a couple of comfort items that will help them with endurance – a bottle of water, a small snack and extra arms to carry around all of the brochures and samples they will collect can be invaluable.
Put on your very best attendant-of-the-year attitude. Planning a wedding is stressful…attending your first wedding expo can be even more so. Be positive, energetic, sympathetic and no when to step in and force a moment of quiet or rest.
And…if you want to give them their first and most useful gift to date, print labels with their names, contact information, and wedding date (choose spam-friendly contact information, like a special wedding email address where they don’t mind receiving lots of marketing information) – it will save them hours of filling out individual vendor forms, may win them some prizes, and will make you their favorite attendant ever!
Super-Connector at OutreachMama
Wendy is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Youth Noise NJ who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition. You can contact her on Twitter.