Wedding marketing: From the bridal show and beyond

Listen. I’ve got the bridal-show blues. I’ve had them for over a year now and I can’t seem to shake them.

My first bridal show was the Bertram Bridal Show at the Bertram Inn last January. I went with my mom and best friend/maid-of-honor, Allison. (Yes, I did go to a bridal show before becoming engaged. And yes, it was awkward.) We hopped from booth to booth. Each vendor was as excited as the one before about being a part of my special day. There were a multitude of raffle opportunities. (I became a pro at writing my name, email address, and phone number down on those little orange tickets.) Most vendors also offered special deals on their services (most with the stipulation that you had to book them that day or by a certain date in order to enjoy the deal).

Landerhaven Bridal Show

Me with two of my best friends, Alli and Shannon, at the Landerhaven Bridal Show 2013 (Jan. 6)

When I got home, plastic Bertram Inn bag filled with business cards, free samples, and brochures in hand, I felt both overwhelmed and disappointed. But mainly I was disappointed. While each vendor made you the center of attention and showed enthusiasm about your engagement it was clear that the objective was to persuade you to book their services. There was something forced and inauthentic about the conversations I had with each vendor. I did not really feel like I was making personal connections with these individuals.

Billions of dollars are spent on weddings each year which makes the wedding industry highly competitive. Instead of having the opportunity to form meaningful relationships with their clients, wedding vendors are forced to focus on the bottom line. On her “about” page on her blog Christine Boulton, wedding marketing analyst and consultant, says that

“the wedding industry today is overcrowded. In most categories, there seems to be more vendors than brides.”

A bride doesn’t have just three or four photographers to choose from in her area, she has oodles! With so many options, how can a wedding business be set apart from the competition while still making the bride feel like her happiness, not her pocketbook, is what matters most?

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