» Bridal Show ROI: Avoid These Common Misconceptions

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

Bridal shows are an extremely important part of today’s wedding industry. They are the major platform that gets couples off of their computer screens and face to face with wedding professionals. However, many wedding businesses are disillusioned that their mere participation in a bridal show automatically leads to booking weddings. This article will help clear up some misconceptions and include an action plan to getting the best return from bridal show participation.

Bridal Show ROI: Avoid These Common MisconceptionsMisconception #1: “Bigger is not always better”

While the prospect of participating at shows with thousands of attendees is exciting, smaller bridal shows often offer Pros a greater possibility of quality contact with potential clients. It is good practice to be mindful of the show’s ratio; a show that has 75 attendees should not have 40 vendors exhibiting. There just are not enough opportunities for vendors if the attendee to vendor ratio is less than 4 to 1.

Here are several alternative formats that give vendors high visibility at a small show for the best bridal show ROI:

  • Mock Wedding: Usually organized by an entertainment company, this showcase invites a smaller group to experience what it would like to be a guest at their own wedding. It is a collaboration of wedding professionals who simulate the entire experience but narrate as it is being done. At that type of event there is usually exclusivity among vendors and a well – executed event can create a high percentage of attendees hiring many of the attending vendors.
  • Wedding Seminar Event: If you are part a seminar event that educates couples about wedding planning, you are being perceived as an expert while showcasing your services or products. You may have a small attendance but book a high percentage of the attendees.

Misconception #2: “Brides will remember seeing me at the show and contact me when they are ready to book”

Many vendors make that mistake and fail to do the necessary follow-up to maximize the amount of business from show participation. It is important to have a strategy in place.

It starts with deciding how you are going to promote your business in your exhibition space. Do something that stands out and can be referenced in follow-up mailers, phone calls, and emails to the mailing list that you may receive at the show or compiled from registrations at your booth. It is especially important that you know who visited your booth.

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» Trend Spotting 2014: Spring Bridal Market


Kim Forrest is one of WeddingWire’s editors. She manages content creation on both WeddingWire and EventWire. Kim has been writing about weddings for nearly a decade, and has been quoted as a weddings expert in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and more.

It’s that time of year again! Next week, members of the WeddingWire team are heading to the Big Apple for New York International Bridal Week. It’s an exciting time for the wedding industry, as designers will be showing their newest dresses and accessories – and we’ll be on hand to spot the latest trends for 2014 and 2015, too!

Trend Spotting 2014: Spring Bridal MarketIf you’re attending Bridal Market, be sure to say hello, charge your phone or tablet, or grab a treat or beverage at the WeddingWire Lounge at Pier 92. And if you’re out and about at shows or checking out designers at the Piers, be sure to look for the WeddingWire editorial team carrying our custom phone cases (see photos) – and say hi!

Following us from home? Be sure to download our new WedStyle app! This new app allows you rate the latest gowns as they walk down the runways. We’ll also be all over Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram so make sure you’re following WeddingWire for the latest scoop! We’ll also be posting the newest collections in our Fashion Ideas section, as well as trend reports and lots of other fun round-ups.

And be sure to check back with us here on the WeddingWireEDU blog for a special recap for Pros post-market!

» 6 Steps to Wedding Show Success

This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is a member of the National Speakers Association, an author, and founder of The Wedding Industry Leaders Conference, an organization dedicated to the educating and consulting of highly motivated individuals and businesses. Learn more at http://alanberg.com/.

Wedding or bridal shows are still relevant for today’s couples because they still like to see, hear, touch, smell and taste, before they buy. They’re relevant for you because you crave the face-time and want to show the passion for what you do. Is there a magic formula for wedding show success? As with any other marketing vehicle you have to be an active participant. You can’t just buy your booth and expect the sales to come rolling in.

How can you make the most of your investment in wedding shows? First, think of it as more than just the day(s) of the show. Next, follow these 6 steps to maximize your return.

1. Before the show 

6 Steps to Wedding Show Success

Click to enlarge the infographic!

  • Prepare your booth in advance and have a goal (sales, appointments, interested prospects, etc.).
  • Have them come to the show, specifically looking for you. Give your booth number and include visual elements that will tie your advance promotion to your actual booth.
  • Use Social Media, your website, direct mail, email, your voice mail and email auto-responder to alert your prospects that you’ll be at the show.
  • Phone prospects who have shown interest and let them know you’ll be at the show.

2. Prepare your follow up

  • Don’t wait until you get the list to decide what to do via phone, email and/or direct mail.
  • Create the scripts, email templates and direct mail pieces before the show so you can get them out when the list arrives. Find out what data will be on it and when you’ll get it.
  • Prepare a different follow up for those who scheduled appointments, those who showed interest and then the rest of the master list. The language should be different based upon what you do, or don’t know about them and their level of interest.

3. At the show

  • Make your booth stand out and reflect what you do. Don’t distract or confuse them with elements that don’t reflect what you do.
  • Use professional signage, something they can read from a distance with easy to read language and font styles.
  • Put your signage up high so they can see it.
  • Don’t sit down in your booth.
  • Don’t eat in your booth.
  • Have a clear purpose for the show. If you want to make appointments, have your appointment schedule with you.

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» Ready for the Runway: Fall Bridal Market


Kim Forrest is one of WeddingWire’s editors. She manages content creation on both WeddingWire and EventWire. Kim has been writing about weddings for nearly a decade, and has been quoted as a weddings expert in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and more.

Here at WeddingWire, we love to keep up with the latest wedding trends (it’s our job, after all!), so we’re thrilled to be heading up to New York City for New York International Bridal Week this weekend. We’ll get up close and personal with all of the newest wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses and accessories, and be able to predict the dress styles and trends that brides will be clamoring for in 2014! Currently, our calendar has over 70 shows and appointments to cover in just under a week (that’s over 1,000 dresses)  – so yes, we’ll be quite busy – but it’s truly our favorite time of the year!

Ready for the Runway: Fall Bridal MarketThe WeddingWire team will be stationed at Pier 94 on the west side of Manhattan – the hub of bridal market – and will be all over social media sharing the latest gowns and accessories with you. Be sure to follow WeddingWire on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram to make sure you’re getting the latest scoop. We’ll also be posting the newest collections in our Fashion Ideas section, as well as trend reports and lots of other fun round-ups.

Want a sneak peek of the hot wedding fashion trends we’re predicting for this season? Check out our wedding dress trend prediction list! And be sure to check back with us here on the WeddingWireEDU blog for a special recap just for Pros like you post-market.

If you’ll be at Bridal Market, please stop by our WeddingWire Lounge (Booth #299, Pier 94) to say hello, charge your phone or tablet, and enjoy a beverage and sweet treat!

» Bridal Show Producers: Join us at BSPi!

WeddingWire is thrilled to participate in this year’s Bridal Show Producers international 18th Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. In just a few weeks, WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, will present, “What’s in our Future,” focusing on all things tech that Producers in the Wedding and Event industry should know! From recent tools and developments in the techworld, what is coming soon to stay ahead of the curve, and even what we can (or may be able to) expect in the near future!

In addition, WeddingWire Educational Guru, Alan Berg, will be presenting on “How to Communicate More Effectively with Prospects via Email,” discussing the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of communicating with today’s prospects in order to achieve better sales success, and ultimately grow and expand your business.

Join Sonny, Alan and other top bridal show producers at the Omni La Mansion del Rio May 2-4, 2013 for valuable education on money saving tools, profit building concepts, networking with fellow bridal show producers, and just plain fun!

We look forward to meeting all the BSPi members in Texas!

» Fashion and Fun at New York Bridal Market!

This past weekend, New York International Bridal Week was all the buzz as buyers, retailers and manufacturers enjoyed countless fashion shows and exciting exhibits at Pier 94 in Midtown, New York City. WeddingWire was thrilled to be the show’s media sponsor this year, providing select designers with a private runway show, and guests of the event some R & R at a chic lounge full of treats from some of our generous partners.

On Friday, the WeddingWire team hosted 11 designers for a private runway show in Pier 94’s Fashion Theatre. We’re excited to share video footage showcased on WeddingWire, featuring the talented designers including Sarah Janks.

Throughout New York Bridal Market we hosted the WeddingWire Lounge. The lounge became a hot spot for designers, models, guests and other exhibitors who stopped by to power up using one of our Charging Stations, indulge in some treats and hydrate with iced tea. Just Sweets provided the lounge with a mouth-watering candy buffet complete with chocolate-covered pretzels, M&M’s, and lollipops. Honest Tea stocked the Lounge with a selection of teas to help visitors wash the sweets down and refuel. Lounge décor featured glamorous Judith Leiber handbags that stopped passersby in their tracks!

On Sunday, the WeddingWire team invited all of our featured designers for a champagne toast and cupcake reception courtesy of Georgetown Cupcake Soho. Another highlight was on Monday, when Judith Leiber’s Creative Director, Jana Matheson, stopped by the Lounge for two hours of engaging Q&A.

We had a great time at New York International Bridal Week, and are excited to share some of our behind-the-scenes photos below!

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» Inside the Inbox: Bridal Show Email List Dos and Don’ts

This post was written by Matt Byrd, WeddingWire’s Email Marketing Specialist. WeddingWire was recently recognized by the Email Institute as one of the best brands for email marketing, alongside companies such as Amazon, J.Crew and Starbucks.
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One of the perks of exhibiting at bridal shows is that you get to collect email addresses from the potential clients you meet. To get the most out of your bridal show experience, focus on making email address collection as easy as possible, and then create effective messages to reach out to those bridal show clients.

Some email service providers make email collection on-the-go a snap. For example, MailChimp has a handy iPad app (Chimpadeedoo) that lets you easily collect addresses and sync them automatically to your MailChimp database. Some bridal shows make it even easier for you by supplying a list of registrants’ contact information at the conclusion of the event, so you don’t have to worry about collecting their emails at your booth.

Once the event is over, here are a few suggestions for maximizing on your new list of contacts:

  • Timeliness: Make sure you follow-up with potential clients quickly after the event. As time passes between the event and when you actually send your follow-up emails, attendees could potentially forget who you were and that they gave their email address to you.
  • Relationship: In your email, mention that you are contacting them because of the specific bridal show they attended. This establishes that you already have a relationship, which will lend credibility to your message and keep it from seeming like Spam. While it’s tempting to lump several bridal show lists together and send one email, you should create different messages that contain the different names of the bridal shows. Personalization will pay off!
  • Relevance: All of these new potential clients are not the same! They should get specific messages tailored to their event needs. When you meet a potential new client, in addition to their email address, collect some basic information about their event, such as the date or location, and then group them into buckets based on shared characteristics. You can send an email with a photo of a winter wedding to couples with winter wedding dates, or offer a “Spring Fever” discount to couples with April and May wedding dates.
  • Privacy: If you are using your regular email account to send your emails instead of an email service provider (like MailChimp or ConstantContact), make sure that you don’t just copy and paste the list of email addresses into the “To:” field. Aside from looking unprofessional, this violates the privacy of everyone you’re emailing. Use the “BCC:” field to hide all of your recipients’ addresses. (We definitely encourage you to switch to an email service provider, though, as it will offer you many great features and allow you to track your emails’ performance!)

Email is a strong tool to move potential clients to booked events! Get started with Matt’s tips today, and check back soon for more top email marketing strategies for your business.

» WeddingWire’s February Events & Travels

It’s a busy time of year at WeddingWire headquarters.  We have been traveling all over the country sharing our industry knowledge, meeting and networking with vendors like you, and of course reaching out to brides!

Here are a few places we have been:

2009 Catersource and Event Solutions Conference & Tradeshow
Last week, WeddingWire attended the 2009 Catersource and Event Solutions Conference & Tradeshow in Las Vegas, NV.  It its 16th year, this educational conference and tradeshow brought together catering professionals from all over the world.  This year’s conference featured numerous sessions on how to market, staff and manage catering companies and provided professionals with the skills and networking opportunities needed to support business and increase bottom line.

 

WeddingWire had the opportunity to meet many of the catering attendees during the Tradeshow and Wedding Networking event.  The trip was very successful and we look forward to all the new members joining the WeddingWire network!

Association of Wedding Gown Specialists
Sonny Ganguly, WeddingWire’s Chief Marketing Officer, attended the annual meeting for the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists in San Antonio, TX, this past weekend.  Sonny presented on Reaching Today’s Wired Bride, and then also led round table discussions on internet marketing, social media, and site traffic.

Running of the Brides
Filene’s Basement is most famous for its annual Bridal Gown Events called “Running of the Brides,” where brides-to-be can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on designer wedding gowns.  WeddingWire teams up with Filene’s Basement to promote and support these events in numerous locations throughout the year. Here the video from last Friday’s NYC Event.  Check out the WeddingWire users wearing “The Best & The Bridest” pink t-shirts in the front of the line!

Houston Wedding Showcase
WeddingWire sponsored and attended the Houston Wedding Showcase last Saturday. The Houston Wedding Showcase is a one-stop wedding planning show for engaged couples in the Houston area and is produced by two bridal show producers that have a combined 25 years of experience in the industry. This year’s February show was a huge success, attracting thousands of brides.  WeddingWire is proud to be a sponsor of this fresh and innovative bridal show in one of the country’s largest bridal markets!

Stay tuned for more WeddingWire events!

» WeddingWire travels to NYC

We traveled to NYC earlier this week to attend two great events:

Martha Stewart Weddings Bridal Market Event

The Martha Stewart Weddings team hosted their annual Bridal Market event this past Monday at the Tavern on the Green.  We were invited to attend and network with guests! The event was beautiful and we had a great time socializing with the Martha Stewart Weddings team and attending guests.

Here are a few pictures:

Vanessa Holden and Darcy Miller (Martha Stewart Weddings), Mrs. Bee (Weddingbee), Lee Wang and Lynn Carter (WeddingWire)

Carine Halabi (Carine’s Bridal Atelier), Darcy Miller (Martha Stewart Weddings), Lynn Carter, me, and Megan Hermeling (WeddingWire)

Vanessa Holden and Darcy Miller (Martha Stewart Weddings), Mrs. Bee (Weddingbee), Lee Wang and Lynn Carter (WeddingWire)

Vanessa Holden and Darcy Miller (Martha Stewart Weddings), Mrs. Bee (Weddingbee), Lee Wang and Lynn Carter (WeddingWire)


The Wedding Salon

We attended the Wedding Salon bridal showcase on Wednesday, where the latest wedding trends were displayed. The Wedding Salon bridal showcase brings together the leading vendors and the top spenders in the wedding industry. This year’s show took place at beautiful venue, The Prince George Ballroom, and showcased a variety of great vendors. We even got to meet one of our featured NYC officiants, Rabbi Andrea Frank!

Take a look at some pictures:

Rabbi Andrea (A Featured WeddingWire vendor and Katie Peck (WeddingWire)

Rabbi Andrea Frank (A featured vendor listed on WeddingWire) and Katie Peck (WeddingWire)

Table design by Marc Wilson Design

Bridal Model and me

Bridal model and me

Table design by the Lincoln Center

Table design by The Lincoln Center