As a bridal show exhibitor, you are buying two main ingredients:
- Audience: The brides, family, and friends who attend the show.
- Real Estate: A defined space within which you exhibit, and sell from.
In addition, there is distribution through gift bags, provided to the brides. Some businesses participate in the fashion show. And, let’s not forget the show guide and Spectacular Bride magazine.
All of these tools matter, but have different value and protocol.
Protocol is a gentle word for ‘rules and behavior.’
Let’s be frank… just you and me… some wedding businesses play nicer with their competitors than others. Some have mutual respect; others mutual disdain.
The atmosphere can be edgy, even among non-competitive wedding businesses. What to do?
Sometimes it has nothing to do with competition. It’s just human chemistry (I may have coined a new phrase).
THE RULES: Play By Them
Most of them are in writing(see your paperwork from Bridal Spectacular), some are ‘unwritten’, and yet others are just common sense.
- There is plenty of ‘advance time and easy access’ for loading into the show space. However, the best policy is to come fully staffed (plus a one or two extra people) to assist on load in and set-up. The earlier you arrive, the better.
- Booth Location: Double-check the Bridal Spectacular floor plan to be certain of your booth location. Communicate the location information to all your exhibit-staff and set-up crew, in advance, so no time is lost.
- Booth Size: 10′ x 10′ is a common booth size. Don’t take it for granted. Check your paperwork. There’s no penalty for verifying what you decided eight months ago, for whatever reason.
- Now about the vertical space… and separation between booths – These can vary from show to show and location to location. Verify the pipe and drape height for both the back and sides.
- Don’t Block The View: You don’t automatically have the right to construct a vertical pipe and drape wall, adjacent to another exhibitor. It makes perfect sense to create a tent-like environment for certain types of business… lighting, for example. HOWEVER, a fully contained space will obstruct the view of an adjacent exhibitor. Did you get permission to add to your booth? If not, you will be improvising.
- Avoid Aisle Creep: Aisles are not for exhibitors. Aisles for brides and grooms or for your staff to get to the snack bar. Your exhibit crew that saying within the confines of your booth is standard-operating-procedure. The goal should be to draw people into your booth space by creating an inviting environment without obstacles at its front. More than being ‘against the show rules’, when exhibitors drift into the aisles, clipboards or iPads in hand, brides often perceive it as ‘too aggressive’. This is bad for the entire show, and particularly bad for the offending exhibitor, even if the aisle blocking is accidental.
- Be aware of your staff, and where they are.
- Be aware of other exhibitors, and their respect of boundaries.
- It’s good to create a collaborative relationship with exhibitors in your vicinity (“Hey, could you keep an occasional eye on my crew, and I’ll do the same for you.”)
- No one wants to be a tattle-tale, but if absolutely, talk to a member of show staff to point out the problem.
- Noise Factor: There are generally two kinds of noise. Human conversation and electronic generated sound; usually music. Don’t make it difficult for prospective clients to talk over your excessive volume. In particular, if you are using music or sound effects, be careful about where speakers are place, and respect your neighbors. Be conservative, consult the rules, and comply with ALL instructions from show producer staff.
Common Sense is the #1 Rule
Other exhibitors are your neighbors. Brides, their friends and families are your guests. Being set up on time, looking presentable, staying energetic and friendly, plus being cooperative and respectful to all who surround you makes for a great atmosphere and successful show for one-and-all!
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog