I have been playing bridal shows for many years and have followed up the lead lists from the various bridal shows with e-mails and/or phone calls to each bride. I’m beginning to wonder if it is worth the time spent to do this or if it’s better to wait and rely on them contacting me of their interest just from receiving cards and brochures.
I’ve been doing Bridal Shows in two different towns for the last 5 years and usually book 1 or 2 weddings from each show. I have given up on doing any follow-up from the lead lists. None of my efforts ever led to additional bookings.
For what it’s worth, I live/work in a rural area where we might have100 brides attend a show on good day. Local word-of-mouth seems to work better for me.
— Alice in windy Wyoming
I used to do (very expensive) print advertising that furnished lead lists and have done a few bridal shows which gave them, but I never got any response to calls, emails, mailers or any kind of follow-up from me. I figure if they’re interested in harp music, they’ll use my readily available contact info to reach me, but my pursuing them never resulted in any paying work. The best you can do is let people know you exist and what service you offer; then it’s up to them.
As a member of the NAWP–National Association of Wedding Professionals, I get “invited” to participate in 2 bridal shows a year. They are at an Ice Arena. We get over 400 brides that sign up. At my booth this last year there were 75 brides that signed my sheet. (I couldn’t make out the e-mails of half of them!
I used to to bridal shows when I lived in Iowa. I did two per year at $300/each. I always made money! Then, I moved to the Chicago area where it costs over $1,000 to be in a show, and it is HUGE, AND there is a waiting list. I said “forget it”. Now I live in the Seattle area, and it is the same story. Even in the smaller, cheaper shows I did in Iowa, I felt doing follow up emails is a huge waste of time. Nothing ever came from it.
What I would recommend is contacting local venues (hotels, country clubs, etc.) and see if they host a large tasting for all of their signed couples and offering to play for that. They won’t charge you, it is a smaller venue, you know the couples are for sure getting married (a lot of “lookers” at the bridal shows), and you will get on the sales manager’s good side, perhaps landing on their preferred vendor list. All for free. That is what I’m doing from now on.
Thanks for nthe suggestion of contacting some local Country Clubs. I’ve done that and did one event for a country club while they hosted brides and grooms. I think I got one wedding. One of the problems is that these country clubs change catering managers so often. I have gotten approached by the managers at the bridal shows and I always “network” with the various Country Club Managers. Sometimes it’s someone new, or the manager has a representative do the show so they don’t have to. Some have said “We already have your card” Anyway, it’s worth a try.
Thank you for your suggestion, Alishia
A friend of mine in Boston for years did a gazillion weddings. She didn’t really advertise. She didn’t do bridal shows. She was hooked up with a Justice of the Peace who was very aggressive about booking weddings for himself, and he included this harpist in his brochure. The bride didn’t have to use her. But there she was in the brochure, and the JP actively promoted her. The result was a huge number of weddings every year.
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