Tis the season for everyone and their mother to host a Bridal Show (for the purpose of this post and equality I’m going to use the term “Wedding Show”). I can think of 5 off the top of my head that are happening in the next 2 weeks and I’m sure there are so many more I haven’t even heard of. So let’s get real and talk about the Pros & Cons of Wedding Shows for Engaged Couples and for Wedding Vendors.
Disclaimer: if you can’t tell by my tone already, I hate Wedding Shows. Like for reals, hates it. When I’m there I feel like a Homeless Beggar asking people on the side of the road to be my friend. The desperation and rejection hurts my Soul. So you may want to take me with a grain of salt 😉
- You get to meet a lot of different vendors at the exact same time.
- You get to try a lot of different caterers food at one location. How convenient and delicious. Free food for everyone!
- You get some real time inspiration for decor and design.
- Overwhelming. Wedding shows are totally overwhelming. There are 100s of other Couples there and many wedding vendor booths. Everyone is trying to do the same thing at the same time and it can be loud and obnoxious.
- Surface Level. It’s hard to have a real conversation with any one vendor.
- Distractions. Since Wedding Shows are typically so crowded and overwhelming it is very easy to miss an important booth or table. You may not have noticed Weekend Wedding Warrior over their in the corner and therefore never got to learn about wedding day coordination 😉
- Inexperienced Vendors. You have no idea how good/experienced those wedding vendors truly are. I think this is a big one folks! Some Couples assume that if a vendor is at a Wedding Show they are vetted/recommended by the location/very seasoned, but that assumption is dead wrong! For the strong majority of Wedding Shows any and all vendors are allowed in as long as they pay the entrance fee. Let that sink in…any random person willing to pay $300-$500 (in the Louisville area, in Nashville they are $500-$1000) and call themselves a business is allowed to setup a booth. Do you really want to hire that person?! (side note: some Wedding Shows are selective on who they allow to participate in their show, but it can be hard to decipher which is which.)
- They are a Business. People don’t typically host wedding shows because they are wanting to help you (though that can be a bonus). People start wedding shows because who do you think is pocketing that $500 per vendor fee?! $500 x 40 vendors – some tables = Mega Moola! I mean way more than what people make on 1 wedding. It’s a smart way to make a lot of $$ in one day. Sorry Lovies, it’s not about helping you…it’s all about the Benjamins Baby!
- Scams. I hate that this is real, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes! I was at a Wedding Show in Nashville this past Fall and there was a photographer there that doubled his prices for the wedding show, but then said if you put a deposit down at the show you would get 50% off….ugh…say wha?! That’s so sketchy and yet he booked 8 weddings at that show alone!
- You get to meet many Couples at once and get your name out there.
- If you are hurting for business or just starting out it’s a great way to book a few clients, especially if you are willing to drop your prices or put together some “deals” (see Scams above).
- You get to network with other Wedding Vendors. This is my fav, personally. Other wedding vendors are the key to success…they support you, give you great feedback, and refer you business.
- $$$. They are expensive. We love so many different venues in Louisville. If we participated in all of their wedding shows at approx $500 a show a year (Henry Clay, Whitehall, Brown, Olmstead, Gillespie, etc etc etc) We would be broke! This isn’t a hobby, My Loves..this is my job, and I have mouths to feed!
- Playing favorites. If you are anything like us we don’t like to play favorites. Of course, there are some venues and vendors that are easier to work with, but they all have good qualities in the end. Choosing which show to participate in feels like you are choosing favorites and that’s just a lose-lose situation.
- Gambling. Let’s do some math. A Wedding Show costs approx $500. Well you can’t just go to a show with empty arms. So you pay $100 on pretty cards, and the graphic design of those cost you another $100 (min) and then you want a pretty table cloth which is $50 and then some nice flowers and/or candy to spruce up your booth. You’re at $800 investment. It’s also super important to note that we (Weekend Wedding Warrior) are a service business and therefore have by far the least amount of investment of any other type of wedding vendor. Florists and designers are spending another $300+ on florals and decor to decorate their tables. Caterers/Bakers are spending who-knows-how-much on samples to hand out. We charge approx $2000 for our service. If we book one wedding from that show we are earning about $1200 for that wedding. Then take out taxes and than we’re broke again. I’d rather just charge $1200 then put myself through the depression of a Wedding Show. Also, there is no guarantee you will book a wedding from a Show. I have done many Shows and booked Zero weddings (e.g. GardenCourt, FEVA, & Enchanted in 2015 alone!) and then I have done others have booked 2 or 3 weddings (Thank you, Whitehall!). It’s a complete gamble! I’m a practical and logistical person, gambling makes me anxious!
So, what is the take away? I wish Louisville could come together and find a way to reduce the overall number of wedding shows in the city. Almost every venue has their own show which makes the quality of Vendors diluted and the number/quality of Couples diluted. However, this would be assuming that people are hosting shows solely for the benefit of Couples & Vendors. Please just think twice before you go to a Wedding Show, pay to be in a Wedding Show, or start another God Forsaken Wedding Show.
Comical ending: If you want to come see me at a Wedding Show, I’ll be the one on the Mezzanine hiding my tears at The Brown on Fri Jan 22nd 6-9pm. Please smile and say “Hi”, so that I don’t feel like such a Hobo.