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Bridal Expo Survival Guide
Last weekend, Dance Spa was a featured vendor at the Illinois Bridal and Wedding Expo. We had a great time meeting hundreds of wonderful couples during this two day event. While there, we took note of some of the best tactics we noticed by attendees and put them together in this guide for future expo goers.
1. Make a plan
Prior to the event, make a list of what services and products you still need for your wedding. Compare what you need to the vendors that will be featured at the expo. For example, imagine you still need dance lessons for your first dance and there will be three studios represented at the event. Research where the studios are located, their yelp reviews, their costs, etc.. This way, when you are at the expo you can make sure to meet with the studio that best fits your needs.
Also, many expo vendors have raffles and giveaways. These are usually published in advance on the event’s website. Take a look to see if you could benefit from anything being raffled off and make sure to visit those booths.
2. Print address labels with your information
Handwriting all your information on every raffle entry can be time consuming and tiresome. The more you do, the more likely you are to start rushing and scribbling down your contact information. It would be a shame to be the winner but the person can’t read your chicken scratch.
Instead, print address labels out with your information so you can quickly and easily stick them on entry forms. You’ll want to include your name, email, phone # and wedding date on the labels.
3. Dress for success
First impressions count! The wedding industry is worth billions of dollars and many companies are looking for the couples who have money to spend. If you are in pajama pants and didn’t comb your hair, they are going to be less receptive to talking to you. You don’t need to be dressed to the nines in your most expensive outfit, but you do want to wear an outfit that says you are approachable and well put together. It also helps to wear something that people will remember you for. One outfit from last week’s event comes to my mind; the bride was in skinny jeans, booties, a pretty scarf, a pleather jacket and a t-shit with “hello” written across the front. The ensemble was attractive, inviting and memorable.
4. Timid? Bring someone that talks!
Think of this as a networking event. You need to talk with the company representatives to learn what they have to offer and how they can help you. The more you connect with the representatives, the more excited they will be to work with you and give you all the swag/discounts/deals they are able to. If you are shy, bring a likable, outgoing friend or family member who can help you make these connections.
5. Come towards the end of the expo
At the start of each day, the exhibit hall was filled with attendees. People had to wait in line to meet with the vendors. We noticed that during the busy times, some representatives seemed to rush their conversations with potential clients because they felt pressured to accommodate everyone. Each day, the crowd thinned in the afternoon and vendors were able to give more of their time to people interested in their offerings. We suggest that if your are planning to attend an expo where there will be vendors you truly want to talk with, arrive later in the day in order to maximize your chances of making a memorable connection with them.
6. Include your parents
Are your parents helping to pay for your big day? If so, bring them with you. It’s important that they feel included in the decision making process, especially for products and services they will be funding. If they are impressed by the vendor, they might be convinced to upgrade the product or service they are financing. For example, if you need dance lessons and they love the instructor you want to work with, they might spring for more lessons than they were originally planning on purchasing for you. They might even decide there are additional services they want to help out with once they see all the extras that can make your special day unique.
7. Take pictures of information you don’t want to forget
Every booth is going to be handing you brochures and fliers. It’s easy for the ones you really want or need to get lost in the shuffle. To avoid this, take photos of the information that is important to you. If you lose the physical copy, you will have a backup in your phone.