Today's Bride Pros

Video: Wedding Shows Cost Too Much

Do you think bridal shows cost too much? See how spending money now means getting more money in the future!


Video Transcription:

I once had a prospective customer tell me, “I can’t afford your show. I’m selling candy buffets, not gold bars. Why does it cost so much? All I’m buying is an empty booth and a table.” Now that’s a valid question, and I’m going to answer it in a couple of ways.

When you participate in a show, what you’re really buying is not just a table and a booth, you’re buying the opportunity to be in front of hundreds of people who are planning their weddings. They have decisions to make, they have money to spend, and they have a deadline by which they have to spend it. Creating this opportunity is an expensive undertaking. There are dozens of things that go into the production of a show. Including rental of the venue, the booths and the tables, the production of the fashion show, a lot of staff. All of these things cost money. More importantly, the attendees at a show didn’t just magically appear. It took a lot of advertising to get them there. The most successful shows spend $75 or more in advertising for every bride or groom that comes through the door. Established show producers make this look easy, and many new producers do not realize the effort and expense that is involved in producing a show or more importantly, attracting attendance. A small show with inexpensive booth prices might sound appealing at first, but chances are the show simply won’t have much of an advertising budget, and that means low attendance. The most successful shows are spending more money on advertising than any other wedding business in their local market. When you exhibit at a successful show—one where the producer has made the advertising investment to attract a large attendance—you get to share in the benefit of that advertising. The show is doing your advertising for you.

A show only costs you money if you don’t make more money than you spend. Nearly every form of advertising has a cost. Buying ads on the wedding websites and in the magazines has an out of pocket monetary cost. Promoting yourself through social media also has a cost because managing your social media presence requires an investment of your valuable time. I’d like you to look at this another way. What is the value a new customer brings to your business over the lifetime of your relationship with them? Since most wedding professionals will only work with a couple once, their value is just what they spend with you for their wedding. A few lucky businesses will have the chance to do future business with the couple. For example, a retail florist. So that value might be larger and longer-term. Let’s say your average sale is $1,500. If you book four weddings from a show, that’s $6,000 dollars in business that you didn’t have. If you invested $1000 dollars to exhibit at that show, this means that you turned $1,000 into $6,000 and you won’t find many investments that give you that great of a return.

The only forms of advertising that don’t cost you anything is referrals and word of mouth. Exhibiting at a wedding show can fuel that process. Let’s say that every time you do a wedding, you get a referral for two more weddings. The more weddings you do, the more referrals you get. Those four weddings you booked at the show would then get eight more referrals, and those eight would bring you sixteen, and so on. At the end that $1,00 dollar investment in that show has turned into tens of thousands of dollars in the wedding business. In the big picture, that show didn’t really cost you that much at all.

I’d like you to do an exercise: add up all the money you spent on advertising over the past year. Including print ads, online ads, wedding shows, your website, paid social media ads, everything you spend, then divide that total by the number of weddings you did over the course of the year. That’s going to give you the average that you are spending on advertising to book one wedding. Because a wedding show puts you in front of a target audience that is motivated to buy—chances are a show can be a great value that will bring you new customers for less than you can get them anywhere else.

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