How to Get the Best Results from Exhibiting at a Wedding Show

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I’m sure you will have heard by now, but Rock n Roll Bride is partnering with the National Wedding Show, the UK’s biggest bridal event, to host an area for alternative suppliers in the spring. It’s VERY exciting indeed!

The exhibitor stands are filling up fast, and today I wanted to share some of my top tips for those of you wanting to come along and showcase your products or services. If you’ve ever wondered why some companies seem to be overrun with business after doing just one show a year, whereas others struggle to get any bookings from them, read on!

Before the show

Invest in your stand

Exhibiting at wedding shows can be expensive, not only is there the cost of the stand itself to consider, but there’s the travel and accommodation around it, as well as decking out your space and printing any marketing materials. However its true what they say, you have to speculate to accumulate and you really do get out what you put in.

If you just turn up and plonk your products on a table in front of you, don’t be surprised if you don’t get an amazing reaction, especially if the person next to you has gone all out on the décor and props! Even if their product or service is inferior to yours, if they’ve made an effort with their stand, they are going to get more people stopping by to have a look.

You don’t have to spend a fortune, but you do need to get creative and put some effort in. In a sea of boring, bland, white on white on white stands, people will FLOCK to you if yours offers something interesting and different (even if its just to borrow your decoration ideas for their weddings) Hey, there’s no shame in hooking them in with your amazing-looking stand and then starting to talk to them about what you do.

Research the market

It is vital that you know what kind of audience the show is going to attract. Ask the organisers for information on the kind of brides and grooms that usually attend. Are they having city weddings or countryside ones? What’s the age range? How far in advance are they planning? What are their budgets? It is up to the organisers to know all this so that you can plan accordingly.

Not only will this information give you an idea of which of your products or services might be most attractive to them (remember you don’t have to bring along everything you’ve ever made!) but on the day it will also enable you to speak to them in a language they understand.

Ask questions 

Before you book your spot, don’t be shy about asking the organisers what they can do for you too. Find out where they’ll be marketing the show to ensure they get a good turn out on the day (wedding blogs and magazines, national press, radio, TV, email newsletters, social media?)

Be sure to also find out what your booking includes. Will your name be mentioned in any marketing? What about on the programme of the day? Where will your stand be located? Does your booking including a plug, tablecloths or any furniture? Some wedding shows will give you a booth and nothing else, others will provide a table but no sockets or walls. Does the venue have WiFi? Can you contribute items to the goodie bags?

Promote the show yourself

Getting people through the door is the job of the show’s marketing department, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help out too! Make sure you’re promoting the event on your own website and social media, and let your clients know about it. It could be a great opportunity for those that have already booked you to come along and meet you, and anyone that’s following you online also might be interested in attending if they know you’re going to be there.

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During the show

Offer a show-only discount or deal

People LOVE a discount so offering a ‘show-only’ deal is a great way to encourage people to book or buy then and there. Research shows that a discount has to be significant to really make an impact, 10% off probably isn’t enticing enough for people to make a quick decision (unless you are selling really big ticket items and the saving will be significant), but a 30% reduction probably will!

If you don’t want to discount, you could always included something extra instead, such as free shipping if they purchase on the day, or a little gift.

Be memorable but not OTT

As I mentioned earlier, its vitally important to make an effort with how your stand looks so you stand out, but you yourself must also be memorable!

Never just sit, watching people go by. There’s a fine line between being enthusiastic and friendly and annoying and pushy, but you do need to be on your feet, smiling at people as they walk past and trying to encourage them to chat. The British are notoriously reserved so this can be tricky at first (for both exhibitors and attendees) but do persevere! After a while you’ll get into a flow and it will feel less awkward. Remember, no-one is going to come up to you if you’re sat on your phone, or chatting to your friend at the next stand.

Here’s another little pro-tip for free, please, for the love of all things holy, think of a more interesting opening line than “So… when are you getting married?” Couples will have heard that so many times that they’ll probably start to tune it out. How about asking people what their favourite thing about wedding planning is? Or what they’d buy for the wedding if money was no object? You could even offer them a cheeky cocktail (have a stash at the back of your stand!) Honestly, they’ll probably be so stunned that you seem like a normal human being that they won’t be able to help themselves but stop and talk to you!

Host a workshop or seminar

A lot of wedding fairs put on workshops or seminars that attendees can book into. Why not speak to the organisers and see if you could sign up to host something? Not only are they great ways to interact with potential clients, but they showcase your product or services in a really organic, non-sleazy way.

In the past I’ve taken part in flower crown workshops, watched make up demonstrations, and once I even got to paint (and then keep!) a pair of shoes. But one of the best I’ve ever been to was a wine tasting, and let me tell you, it was PACKED. I mean, who doesn’t want to try some free wine!? The person putting it on was also offering discounted bottles if you bought them then and there and you know what, even though I wasn’t looking to place a bulk order for a wedding, I left with two!

Network with other suppliers

Wedding shows are a great place to meet other wedding suppliers. In this industry a lot of opportunities that come your way will be because of who you know, so don’t be shy, go up and talk to other people exhibiting at the show and make some new friends!

the national wedding show champagne

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Casual and Colourful Wedding in Cork

Casual and colourful cork wedding (21)

Anna and Evan were married in Cork. Their wedding was super casual and very colourful. The bride wore a dress from ASOS and there was plenty of DIY.

“My love for arts, crafts and bright colours inspired our wedding”, Anna said, “also our love of music and having fun with our friends. Pinterest was very helpful but eventually I had to ban myself from it or I would never have stopped my DIY projects! Rock n Roll Bride was obviously a big help in reminding me that there are absolutely no rules that need to be followed in planning a wedding, and really, we could do damn well whatever the hell we wanted on our big day!”

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The day consisted of a meal with just immediate family and close friends, a ceremony on the beach and a big after party at a village hall for 250 people! “We decided that we didn’t want to follow the routine of the typical Irish wedding of going to the church, then the hotel, the sit down meal, followed by band/DJ etc. I have nothing against anyone who chooses to do it that way but we knew we wanted to do something different.”

“We chose to have a symbolic ceremony (we then registered our marriage legally a week later) rather than a religious or humanist ceremony”, she explained. “Instead of a church we went to a beautiful green hilly park on the water’s edge looking out over the ocean and countryside. Instead of a priest, we had a friend officiate. All of our friends gathered around and we made our entrance (together!) to Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n Roses!”

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Green & Black Latvian Forest Wedding with a Hint of Tolkien

Green & Black Latvian Forest Wedding with a Hint of Tolkien (24)

Anete and Anrijs were married in Latvia at the ruins of Zvardes Church. The styling of their wedding started with their favourite colours – black and green.

“After we picked our colours I found the amazing church ruins and instantly fell in love”, said Anete. “I knew right away that it was our place! I showed it to Anrijs and he agreed that there was no other option for the ceremony.”

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“I was inspired by other forest weddings and somehow Tolkien got involved too! Maybe because when other people saw those ruins, they instantly started to talk about elves, forest fairies, literature and stuff like that. In the end it all come together really well. We can’t imagine our day in any other way.”

“The ceremony was was beautiful and personal. I also really wanted that ‘movie moment’ when you see each other just when ceremony starts. I think that there is something a little magical about it. I was walked down the aisle by my godfather and when he took my hand and Can’t Help Falling in Love started playing it was everything I dreamed it would be. I started to cry and just couldn’t stop!”

Green & Black Latvian Forest Wedding with a Hint of Tolkien (8)

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Intimate Wedding with a Ride on the London Eye

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Fay and Matt met at a fancy dress party in Chester but their first official date was in London, where they now live. So when they came to plan their intimate wedding in May of this year, London was the obvious choice.

“We both wanted to get married just in front of our immediate family and a few friends”, Fay explained. “We booked our date just four months ahead and our inspiration was to keep it low-key and fuss-free. Both living in London, we also wanted to show our guests a fun day out with a real taste of the capital.”

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“We picked Chelsea Old Town Hall for the ceremony because it was an area neither of us were familiar with (plus you get to walk out on those iconic steps). We never got round to visiting it beforehand, so it was a beautiful surprise on the day! Food was really important to us and with a small number of guests we were able to choose a good restaurant. Having booked Merchants Tavern (on a recommendation from a friend), we then joined the dots by booking a private capsule on the London Eye, which was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law, for champagne on our way back. It was such a special experience with amazing views.”

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Bohemian Polish Folk Wedding

Karolina & Pawel by WhiteSmoke Studio

Polish born Karolcia and Paweł were married in June at a church in Skierniewice. They then travelled to Nieborów for their casual reception at Oberża pod Złotym Prosiakiem, a restaurant in a beautiful all wooden building. It rained (A LOT!) but it didn’t dampen their spirits one little bit!

Karolina & Pawel by WhiteSmoke Studio

“We met at primary school”, began the bride, “we used to sit together at the same desk! For our wedding we wanted something boho and Rock n Roll but also inspired by Polish folk.”

“We loved planning the wedding together”, she continued. “Each decision that we had to make brought us closer and we even got to know each other better!”

Karolina & Pawel by WhiteSmoke Studio

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Inspired by Portland: Lady Evelyn Wedding Dresses

Lady Evelyn Gowns by Dylan and Sara (7)

Having an extraordinarily unique wedding dress isn’t is difficult as you might think. If you just take some time and explore some different avenues (such as more alternative wedding boutiques or online) there are so many amazingly talented dress designers just waiting to be discovered! Like Lady Evelyn, originally from Portland, Oregon, but now based here in the UK.

Lady Evelyn Gowns by Dylan and Sara (16)

This incredible editorial was shot by the supremely talented Dylan and Sara. “Inspired by my Oregon roots, these gowns were designed to compliment favourite Oregon locations where everyone should definitely adventure,” Lady Evelyn explains. “The stunning gorge filled with silvery waterfalls and lush green walls created the perfect background for our Starlight gown (RRP £650) to pop. The liquid silver fabric was flowing about, looking just as fluid as it’s surroundings.”

Lady Evelyn Gowns by Dylan and Sara (2)

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