If you would have told me back in January of last year that I would be at a bridal show as a vendor, I would have told you you were crazy. I attended my first (and only) bridal show as a bride in February of 2016 at the Overland Park Convention Center and about a year a half later, I was back at the Overland Park Convention Center at my second bridal show, this time as a vendor. Just admire the irony with me.
One thing I can tell you is that, as I bride, bridal shows can be overwhelming, eye opening and fun. I can also tell you that, as a vendor, bridal shows can be overwhelming, eye opening and fun. For both vendor and bride, bridal shows are a wonderful opportunity to connect to the community around you and I would encourage both vendor and bride alike to attend at least one, if not for the experience, do it for the free food samples.
I got involved with The Perfect Wedding Guide in August of this year. In all honesty, I am not really sure how I even stumbled upon it, but I saw that they were having a bridal show in October and knew it was the perfect opportunity for me to get my business name out there. I am happy to say that finding out about that bridal show has now led me to advertise with The Perfect Wedding Guide, both online (check out my page here), as well as in print. (Advertisement coming in January 2018). Another ironic thing about all this is that, when I was a bride, I used The Perfect Wedding Guide book to find some of the vendors I used in my wedding. So I know first hand that it is useful to both bride and vendor alike, which I think led me to make the decision to sign with The Perfect Wedding Guide in the first place. And no, I am not getting money for endorsement, I am just admiring the irony in all of it. God has a sense of humor, y’all.
As a vendor, the bridal show is a much different experience than as a bride. Instead of deciding who gets your attention or which vendor you want to talk to, you have to sit back and wait for brides to come to you, hoping what you have in your booth attracts them somehow or they’re interested in your services. I am never one to respond to people who try to grab my attention to try to sell me something, so as a vendor, I decided not to be that person. Despite wanting brides to acknowledge my business, I didn’t want to start my interaction with them with a “Hey, need a wedding planner?!” I think that if I was a bride and someone did that to me, I would probably give a quick “no thanks.” and walk away.
That being said, I did have brides stop by my booth, and I loved it! Not only did they compliment my display, but a lot of them took the time to talk to me about their big day and when they got engaged, when they plan on marrying their honey, where they’ve decided to wed and everything in between. I had a diverse group of brides stop by, one of which had just gotten engaged the day before, and one of which wasn’t getting married until 2019. It was so awesome to see all the differences in each bride and their vision for their day. That’s one thing that is just so cool about this job, you never do the same thing twice. Every bride is different, and every wedding reflects who she is. It’s just so cool!
For my booth, I wanted to create an inviting space that also shows what I have to offer. I think most vendors strive for that. I decided to do a sweetheart tablescape with earthly, Autumn tones and rustic feel. Thanks to a little help from Ultrapom the table turned out just the way I envisioned. I just love it when that happens! And I hope that that is something I can do for brides for years to come, help their vision come to life.
As far as the rest of the booth, I decided to utilize the awesome antique door my husband and I have to catch some eyes and add a good display option. I also opted for a mini candy bar, just for something colorful and fun. I also added greenery and flowers to the booth. It’s amazing what a pop of floral can do to anything! As a prize, I offered the chance to win half off of any wedding planning package to the brides that visited my booth and signed up. This made a good opportunity to meet brides, as well as help them save money on their big day!
Overall, I would say my first bridal show as a vendor was a success! It was a learning experience, it helped others to see Eleven Events & Planning in the vendor mix, I met some lovely brides, it was fun, and it was another step towards achieving my goals and dreams for this business!
Thanks for reading!