Wedding events: does it work for you?

Throughout the year, there are many wedding events popping up around the world – bridal shows, expositions, workshops, and so on. But are they worth it? To find out about it, we’ve talked to a few wedding planners who have been into this experience.

The wedding planner Donna Palmieri attended a wedding show in London a few years ago. For her, it was a lovely, but tiring experience, which she would possibly do again in the future. “It was an amazing experience but as a wedding planner, I don’t think you get many bookings from actually being there. These events are usually for the bride and her mother to have a lovely day out together to look for ideas for the wedding they have already booked months, if not years before. I don’t think a bride would go to a wedding show to actually book a wedding, but it may give her wedding day ideas or a honeymoon venue”, says Donna Palmieri.

Wedding planner: Lesly Garcia de Sandoval| Photographer: Silvia García

The wedding planner Lesly Garcia de Sandoval participated a couple of times in expositions for brides and grooms in Guatemala. For her, the events she attended offered a great experience because they were not a huge bridal expo, but with a more restricted target group. “The first exposition is always located on a mall in Guatemala and there are people coming all day long, also the event was held on a Saturday, so we did have the opportunity to meet clients, most of them just trying to get to know which services will they be needing for their wedding, so the follow-up is very important. The second exposition I participated was located in a hotel on a weekday. The first part of the day was very slow because most of the clients were taking their lunch hour and others only could come to the expo after their work. This was also a small expo and we did get to meet clients but the difference was that most of the clients were short on time so they were more determined on what they needed, and the sale was faster, still the follow up on clients is very important”, tells Lesly Garcia de Sandoval.

For the wedding planner Sonia Rivera, participating in these wedding events was also a positive experience. “I have participated very frequently in workshops and bridal expositions. In relation to bridal expositions, there is always a positive reaction to our approach, because at least we confirmed that 70% of the audience receive information about our company. In the expositions, the clients come to us searching wedding services specifically. After the expositions, we arrange meetings at our facilities.  At this meeting, we present our experiences evidence and then have a new and satisfied we present pictures. At the exposition, we prepare a wedding reception table exposition, to show our clients our quality and style of our work. This is a key to capturing clients in this kind of activity. On the other hand, the workshop in which I participate is a way to acquire professional advice and knowledge and to obtain new ideas to grow in the social event industry. This helps me improve my clients approach techniques, ideas, and new styles. For that reason, I consider them an important tool for every vendor in this industry. Moreover, this adds value to our business validity and services”, claims Sonia Rivera.

Is the investment worth it?

Wedding planner: Sonia Rivera

Lesly Garcia de Sandoval believes that the investment was worth it. “At least for me it was a way to start publicizing my business and getting to know the clients’ needs. Clients always take a lot of information from this kind of events and most of them review them slowly later, so that´s another great opportunity for people to get to know your business too. Of course, I would participate again, here in our country (Guatemala) this kind of events get your company to the top of mind of the clients and gives you a little more credibility on the market because you are not only an internet business”, says Lesly Garcia de Sandoval.

Sonia Rivera claims that this kind of experience has been very enriching, and challenging “We must work with different clients points of view and ideas. This allows them to have a spectacular social event, but to stay within their budget and help them get what they want. Through the years, we have participated in at least eight expositions and confirmed at least 40% of the clients to have our wedding planner services. Of course, it is expensive but worth it. We acquire experience and new clients. If I am in this business and have the time to receive my clients and participate in this kind of event, I will participate”, states Sonia Rivera.

However, Donna Palmieri says that most couples have already booked their wedding before going to these type of events. “On the event I attended, I had no new bookings. So the investment was probably not worth it, specially because mine also had to include flight tickets and hotels (she is from Greece and participated in a wedding event in London – most of her clients are from the UK). For people based in the same country as their event, it would be cost effective. But it was nice for my wedding couples to come and meet me if they have not been out to Greece before”, she alleges.

How to choose the most suitable wedding events for your business

Wedding planner: Lesly Garcia de Sandoval | Photographer: Hugo Sandoval

Lesly Garcia de Sandoval says that she takes into consideration three main points:

– The season. “If it is a high season for weddings I do not participate in this kind of events because I like to be personally in the booth to give a more personalized advice to my clients”, she recommends.

– The target. “This is very important for me because every single expo has a different target event though they are all for bridal and wedding matters. This depends on the place it is going to take place, the time, the publicity, etc”, Lesly suggests.

– The cost. “This is also a big deal. Sometimes the costs are really high and the exposure you get is very low. I like to make sure the cost will be worth for what they offer”, she points out.

For Donna Palmieri, who works mostly with couples from the UK, it makes sense for her to go to them.

Tips to stand out in wedding events

Wedding planner: Sonia Rivera

In Lesly Garcia de Sandoval’s opinion, the work begins before the wedding event starts. “Make a really great advertisement campaign on your social networks, and make sure to share the information of the event and let everyone know where your stand will be located”, she advises.

During wedding events, Lesly Garcia de Sandoval points out some tips to stand out:

-Your stand decoration is very important, make something that will stand out but also something that will tell the potential clients what is your business about.

– First impressions always count, so make sure you have the perfect outfit, comfy shoes, hair and makeup done, and a big smile. People need to know you are approachable.

– Have special promotions (discounts) for the event, make them last for a week or two after the event so that the clients still have the opportunity to get your services at an expo price.

– Make flyers and give the clients as much information as you can about the services you offer and make it clear. Don´t make with lots of words, the design of your information will make a huge impression on your clients too.

Donna Palmieri says that she usually has a special strategy to attract clients: “I took lots of local Greek products with me, also Greek music and free Greek wine! If you want a wedding in Greece, it is important to enhance all the Greek traditions and make it the most amazing wedding ever”.

Sonia Rivera believes that in this kind of wedding events, it is important to be yourself, be authentic, be honest, be real, be open-mind and be creative.

Do you have any good tips to participate in wedding events? Share with us in the comments!

*First photo credit: Fabio Fistarol

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