Tag Archives: Las Vegas wedding network

Networking at the Bridal Spectacular

spiral-boundI struggled with the title for this post. Business Networking is an important activity, always, but it’s tricky at a bridal show. It’s as much about etiquette as anything else (so that will be Part 2).

Bridal Show & Industry Context

Let’s take a more strategic approach, and recognize the bridal show ecosystem does not only exist in 2-3 days of set-up and show. It’s not limited to meetings of the Las Vegas Wedding Network or the myriad of other industry events and organizations.

Networking in the wedding industry is a fluid group of business and personal relationships, that in their greatest focus, under the pressure cooker of short bursts of face-to-face selling situations.

Pre-Show Awareness & Interaction

There are several show factors you have total control over. You can either use them to your advantage, or get distracted by 101 other things.

Within your control!

  • Time: Unlike many other bridal show locations in many cities, advance access and ease of entry is not a problem at Cashman Center. To the degree that you have planned your booth and staffed its set-up, you are light-years ahead. Bonus points for you!
  • Checklists, reminders, and extra staff: Designing your booth decor, and creating bridal show magic is the big picture, though it’s easy to let details get the best of you. Take my checklist, please… add to it, double and triple-check it. There is no bigger waste of time than sending a co-worker back to the office or off to the store to grab something tiny, but necessary.
  • Pre-Show Awareness: Bridal Spectacular publishes an interactive floor-plan of exhibitors. It’s color-coded per category of business, and the name of each exhibitor pops-up on mouse-over the booth location. It’s wise to review the entire gathering of exhibitors: Friendly competitors, fierce competitors, your inner circle of peers, business you know (but not that well), and unfamiliar businesses.
  • Plan Your Interactions: You’ve identified the WHO. Now think about the WHEN and WHAT. The major time frames are:
    • Set-Up: From the time the building is open, until you change into show-wear.
    • During the Show
    • During the Fashion Show
    • Meal Breaks
    • Break-Down: Until the last wedding business has exited the building.
    • 30-days post show
  • candy-mintAny time you can visit with other exhibitors, without being underfoot, it is a relationship building (or maintaining) opportunity. That’s why making use of the greatest time available to you is highly desirable. You’re not rushed, you can be of help to others, if they need a hand… duct tape, scissors, a ladder, a cup of coffee or a breath mint. It’s just being neighborly and sometimes, you can really come to the rescue.
  • If you’re well-staffed, and have people rotating booth-duty throughout the show, walk the showroom, but from a distance. Resist the temptation to drop in, if you can. A friend’s booth can be vacant for a just a moment.
  • Instead, before the show starts, plan for a coffee or lunch break with a peer, at a mutually convenient time during the show. Your brain needs the break. Use the time to your advantage.
  • Friday night: Resist the temptation to go out for ‘a cocktail’. I mean, who goes out for ‘A cocktail.’ Remember, you have a full show day on Saturday. If you still have stamina, plan a small get-together for Saturday evening.
  • You don’t get extra points for being the first one gone at the end of show, Saturday. Take a similar mindset to set-up day. Pack up without a stopwatch, and see what you can do to help others. There doesn’t have to be a specific goal in mind. Just be thoughtful and allow yourself to begin to relax.
  • Wedding Industry people know each other. Not everyone, but lots of people. Use the time around Bridal Spectacular to its fullest. Rejuvenate these relationships by setting up coffees, breakfast, dinner at someone’s home (what a concept), or general hang-around time.

Remember to Breathe

Next time: Bridal Show Etiquette Part 1 – No Party Crashers

Andy Ebon

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Strategic Sponsorships Make Big Impact

Neon Boneyard MuseumThe Neon Boneyard Museum hosted the Las Vegas Wedding Network on Tuesday, May 7th.

Clearly, the burgeoning attendance was fueled by the appeal of the venue, as it continues to refine its presentation of vintage Las Vegas signage. With each bit of progress, the museum enhances its reputation as an event space.

Another element that stood out was the excellent fit of the event sponsors. The entire array of businesses, involved in the event, were in context with the venue.

Most sponsorships have some value. These sponsorships had excellent value. Every sponsor enhanced the event and their own image.

Las Vegas Wedding Network - Neon Boneyard Museum

 

Andy Ebon

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Brides Focus Group in Las Vegas Shared About Their Real Weddings

At a Las Vegas Wedding Network event on May 1, five young women shared their wedding planning and wedding day experiences.  They talked about how they planned their wedding, what went well and what did not.  In addition to these former brides, an additional group of newlyweds responded to many of the same questions by online survey to give us additional information to see inside the lives of our target market: Brides-to-be.

The questions presented to Crystalyn, Tess, Jodi, Tammie, and Tarah are listed below, you will also see the statistical responses from our on line survey group.  While there were not enough brides in our response pool to make this a truly scientific survey, the information will prove quite valuable to you.

Question #1:  In our survey 78% of the brides said they exceeded their initial budget.  Three  of the brides on the panel Jody, Tammie, and Tarah said they also went over their initially projected budget.  Crystalyn stuck to her budget and Tess, actually spent less than her original budget.

Question #2:  Please share why you think that happened?  The brides who went over budget on the panel  felt that they simply were not adequately prepared to come up with a realistic budget.  When it came right down to it they were willing to bust the budget to get what they wanted for their wedding.

Questions #3:  What was the first product you booked for your wedding? Survey responses agreed with our panel.

  • 71%  Reception Site
  • 14.3% Photographer
  • 7.1% Wedding Apparel
  • 7.1%  Wedding Cake
Question #4:  Now that the wedding is over, what product or service stands out as having been the most important to you?  Our panel brides responded as follows:  Crystalyn, her wedding dress and the venue, Tess said the venue, Jodi said her officient was most important to her, then her cake and venue, Tammi Lee felt the music and photography were most important and for Tarah, her wedding planners were most important.
 
Survey said:
 
  • 43.8% Photography
  • 15.4% Wedding Consultant
  • 7.7% The Venue
  • 7.7% The Entertainment
Question #5:  By a show of hands, how many of you hired a Wedding planner or consultant?   Three of the brides on our panel used a Wedding planner.  Survey said:
  • 53.8% used a wedding planner
Question #6:  Was your planner “day of” or “full service”?
 
Of the three panelist who used planners, two were day of and one was full service.  Tarah, the bride who used a full service planner said her wedding day experience was perfect and she attributed it to the fact that her planners really incorporated her personality and desires into everything they did.
 
Survey said:
  • 55.6% used “day of”
  • 44.4% used “full service”
Question #7:  What product or service do you think was most enjoyed by your wedding guests?  Crystalyn said the music was most important to her guests, Tess felt her guests enjoyed the venue and dj, Jodi’s guests enjoyed the venue, Tammi Lee said it was all about the food and Tarah said her guest most enjoyed the venue.  The brides who had photo booths also felt this was a big hit with their wedding guests! This question was not on the internet survey.
 
Question #8:  Did you attend a bridal show?  Four of our five panelists had attended a bridal show.  The on-line survey was sent to bridal show participants so they had all attended a show.
 
Question #9:  How did attending a bridal show help you? The four panelists who attended the bridal show found it very helpful.  One found all her vendors at the show and the others found many vendors and helpful information.
Survey said:
  • 42.9 It was extremely helpful, finding many of their vendors there.
  • 35.7% Said they hired at least 1 vendor from the show
  • 21.4% Said it was moderately helpful – they found lots of ideas and collected information on vendors.
Question #10:  Which of these factors most influenced your buying decisions?
Meeting the Vendor in Person, Internet Research, Print Ads, Personal Referrals The Survey responses and panelist responses were in line with each other: (multiple answers allowed)
  • 42.9% Meeting vendors face to face
  • 35.7%  All of the above factors influenced them, Face to face, Print, Referrals and Internet Research
  • 14.3% Internet
  • 7.1% Personal Referrals
Question #11:  Did you get to choose your vendors or were they preferred vendors from your venue?  Crystalyn said she got to choose from a vendor list, The rest of the panel all selected a venue that allowed them to choose their own vendors.  Survey said:
  • 50% We got to choose our own vendors
  • 21.4% Our vendors were included in our package
  • 14.3% The venue provided the vendors but we were allowed to hire someone not on the list if we paid extra
  • 14.3% The venue gave us a preferred vendor list and we picked from that
Question #12: If you got to choose your own vendors, how did you find them? Our panelists answers were in line with the survey answers:  Survey said:
  • 50% Bridal Show
  • 36.7% Bridal show, Print Ads, Internet and Friend referrals
  • 14%  Print Ad From a regional wedding publication
  • 14%  From a friend referral
Question #13:  When selecting your vendors, what was the most important criteria to you?  Our brides on the panel felt price and quality were very important to them, but also felt strongly that your printed marketing pieces had better be professional quality, grammaticly correct and not have mispelled words.  They said a poor quality printed product to them would effect their decsion to do business with someone. Over all our panelist answers were in line with the survey answers:  Survey said:
  • 64.3% Quality of Service
  • 28.6% Price
  • 8.3% Creativity
Question #14:  What factor was most likely to turn you off when choosing a vendor? The panel again shared that quality of your printed materials is very important, communication needs to be quick and don’t be hesitant or hold back on giving  them prices.  They don’t want a “car salesmans” approach and personality and chemistry is everything.
 
Survey said:
  • 35.7% Personality
  • 35.7%  Not returning calls or e-mails
  • 14.3%  Price
  • 7.1%  Calling unsolicited
  • 7.1% Badmouthing the Competition
Question #15:  Who paid for your wedding?  Four of our five panelists stated their parents paid for the wedding.  Survey said:
  • 50% Bride and Groom
  • 28.6% Combination of parents and bride and groom
  • 21.4% Parents paid
Question #16:  What creative factors for your wedding were most important to you?  Flowers, Invitations, Food, Etc.  The answers on our panel were varied.  A couple of the brides felt most creative in the area of invitations, another felt she got most creative with her food.  For another creativity with her flowers but keeping within her budget was very important. This question was not covered on the on line survey.
 
Question #17:  Our panel was asked how much time they devoted to wedding day beauty. A couple of them spent about 3 hours and the rest started early in the morning until just before the wedding in order to have their beauty professionals style the whole wedding party.
 
Question #18:  If you could do something over what would it be?  Here are just some of the answers we got from our panel and brides who answered the survey:
  • Insist the DJ play some of the songs we put on our play list
  • Hire our own wedding planner, the church provided ours.
  • Interview photographers more carefully, we had a personality clash with ours.
  • Make sure the champagne is poured before the DJ starts the toast.
  • Hire a videographer.
  • I would have hired a full service planner, day off was just not enough and led to many stressful moments.
  • The disc jockey was terrible
  • Hired someone to do my hair
  • Planned for a longer reception, 3 hours was not enough
  • Hired a different caterer
  • Nothing, my wedding planner executed our wedding to perfection taking into consideration all our requests!
Question #19:  What will you remember the most about your wedding day?  By far, the answer was “what counted most were the moments between them and their husband”.  Nothing that went wrong could over-shadow how important the day was to them both.
 
Question #20:  What local wedding planning publications  did you use in your planning? (pick all that you used):
57%      Spectacular Bride
43.8% Perfect Wedding Guide
37.5      Las Vegas Bride
24%    None used
  
Additional Questions from the Wedding Professionals:
 
#1 Jodi Harris of Sight and Sound asked our panel if they preferred to use their phone, their I Pad, their desk computers or their laptops to do their wedding research?  The primary response was their lap tops were used the most, they found using their phones did not work well for wedding research as the pictures were not large enough.  One bride stated that if she had owned an I-pad at the time she would have used it.
 
#2  Arlene Barba of Sound Fusion Entertainment asked the panel “what could a DJ company show you to help you make a good decision on choosing one company over another?”
 
#3 (Sorry not sure who asked this one) One vendor asked how important it was to have a cake tasting before choosing their wedding cake?  Most of the panel had done cake tastings either directly or at a bridal show and felt it was very important in making the final choice.  One panelist that did not get the opportunity to taste the cake prior to choosing was dissapointed in the taste of her wedding cake.
 
Suggestions from the panel were:
  • Make available the songs you would play at their wedding so they can say no if they don’t want a particular song played
  • Be able to see video from other events you have done
  • Listen to them, find out what their likes and dislinks our and then create your song list based on that
  • Give them a CD of your typical song list
  • Give them a list of past clients they can call to ask about you, or at least a testimonial list

Thanks to all the brides who participated on our panel and our survey for all the great tips and information offered to our wedding professionals!

 The on-line survey was sent to over 1,000 brides who attended at least one of our Bridal Spectacular events in the last two years.  There was a 2% response.