Written by Tracy Park
The January/February wedding season is the time for love birds to come out in full force. The time when wedding and events designers put on their best and show their best designs at bridal shows. I have done many shows in the past few years and for me, they seem to be a great way to show off my skills as a wedding designer. I have heard from many other florists that say they think bridal shows tend to be a lot of work and not much profit. While it is true that they take a lot of planning from start to finish, I feel a lot can be learned and gained by participating in a bridal show.
Here are some tips to make your bridal show booth a success!
First, have a design plan. If you know the size of the area you have to work in, the better you will know how to fill it. Booths tend to be a 10×10 space, but you can request more space and/or an extra table. However, the more space and tables you get, the more it adds to your cost. I normally bring a extra table of my own to display my designs on and have found the “belly Bars” work great.
Second, decide on a theme/style for your designs and choose the colors. I like to use just one color scheme. Using too many colors can be confusing and hard for the brides to take it all in. Remember, LESS IS MORE. Gone are the day of filling my booth with every corsage, ring bearer pillow, and flower girl baskets. Now, I tend to show only what brides want to see. I usually display 3 or 4 brides bouquets, 2 or 3 table centerpieces, and flower girl pomanders. This small selection gives brides an idea of your design style and when they come to see you at your studio they will have more time to look at the other add-ons you offer.
I pick out the latest trends for what I believe would sell in my area. My home state of Michigan is behind the times by a couple of years, so I want to show what no one else is showing. This year, my signature bouquet and monogram ribbons are still hot, so I did bring them back again. Crystals hanging from branches, and submerged flowers in tall vases are always a show stopper.
Other things I have invested in to add to my booth are: digital photo frames to display my photos of past wedding work, small votives with candles, and a banner I can hang that displays my name. To add a touch of class to your booth, use LED lights in the bottom of your vases….they are a great way to light up your space! When the candles are lit and the lights are down, it’s really very pretty. The smells of the flowers and candles add even more to the abidance.
I also use square vases with elements (stones or glass pebbles) in the bottom to sit my bouquets in – it gets them off the table and in an upright position inviting the brides pick up and smell. I let my brides pick up the bouquets to hold and take photos of because it lets them know how heavy a bouquet is and how it will look in front of them.
It’s also a good way to start up a conversation with bride. They love talking about their weddings and I always smile and show interest in what they are saying…I ask questions about colors, inquire about where the wedding will take place and how many attendants will be in the bridal party. Even though I don’t remember all the conversation details (because I see hundreds of brides) at least I touched base with them and that is the important thing. Try and make each conversation short and sweet and move on to the next one. The more you do, the better you get at it. I try and at least say hello to every bride that steps into my booth, and sometimes there are many brides crammed into that small space!
Another thing I make sure to do is pass out my business cards. I have made up post card size business cards to hand out to everyone that passes by me. I print on those cards any deal or specials I am running and an expiration date.
Be sure and dress the part too! Don’t wear old jeans and a t-shirt but do dress comfortably and plan to stand the whole day. Look as if you’re proud of your work and take great pride in what you do. It shows the bride you are serious about yourself. SMILE! There is something wonderfully attractive about being surrounded by flowers and having a smile on your face. It also show what you love to do. Just make sure you stand out. When I look around at other booths and see only a few brides one booth and tons at another, I observe what the florists are displaying and what the brides are being drawn too. Today’s brides want different, they want something that stands out and they want to know that they are going to get a one-of-a-kind design. Make sure you have all those quiltys in your shows. This will help you sell yourself and your flowers.
Finally, just to have a little fun, I give away my bouquets to the brides at the end of the show. With a business card attached to the arrangement, I walk around and look for bride that needs a bouquet to take home. They LOVE it and always have a smile when I hand it to them. It’s great advertisement because I know that for a few days my art is sitting in their home where the brides can see it and are reminded of me and Affordable Elegance.