It’s that time of year again, when every weekend someone is hosting “The Biggest, Bestest Bridal Show In The Universe!” At least, until next weekend’s show.
There is no shortage of vendors scrambling for the attention of brides.
All your wedding needs are under one roof: 12 florists, 18 wedding planners, 9 travel agents, 37 caterers, 15 decorators, 8 tuxedo shops, 20 banquet halls, 6 limousine services, 12 hotels, 8 rental companies, 10 country clubs, 9 cake bakeries, 7 photo booths, 12 bridal boutiques, 8 make-up artists, 2 jewelers…and 5,280 photographers.
Then there are a handful of rent-a-preachers, a massage therapist, a dentist who does teeth whitening, a tacky lingerie shop, some dance instructors, chocolate fountains, chair cover rentals, a cosmetic surgeon, and the people who do those cool animated “Pic-flip” books.
And there are 8 assorted DJ entertainers, only one or two of which are professionals. The rest are hobby DJs. Many experienced wedding MCs opt out of the big shows.
There are also the perpetual trade show booths, the ones that are not only in Bridal Shows, but also every car show, boat show, home show, travel show and gun show that comes to town. You can sign up to win a Hawaiian vacation, golf clubs, a Jeep Cherokee, or a set of designer kitchenware.
These booths are operated by nationwide mailing list sellers, and they do award prizes – one person in America will win a Jeep Cherokee this year – but all of the 4.6 million people who sign up get their names and addresses sold to telemarketers.
Experienced wedding professionals call these shows “cattle calls.” And brides often tell us they feel like livestock when they attend. Many shows have them wear a button or a sticker declaring “Bride-To-Be” to the world, sort of like branding the herd on a cattle drive. I have witnessed brides in the crowded aisles of such a show actually “Moo!”
And they all stampede to the Fashion Show, where runway models parade the latest styles. This year’s hot trend: white bridal gowns! Who would have guessed?
Some of the more creative shows provide an activity for the grooms who tag along, like a cake decorating contest. One show featured a “man cave” with beer, cigars and ESPN Sports on the big screen, and even a putting green.
Party Machine Celebrations has exhibited in our share of these “Cattle Call” shows.
We have chosen not to exhibit at the big arena shows this year.
Brides tell us that these shows make them feel overwhelmed.
It’s “input overload,” too much information to be useful or helpful. They want a choice, but 5,280 photographers makes it harder, not easier – even for the photographers.
This year, Party Machine Celebrations will be appearing frequently at small boutique shows and venues, with participation limited to preferred vendors.
Brides have more time to talk with individual vendors, gather useful information, and get good answers.
The smaller displays are less crowded, less noisy, and parking is not a problem. Many of them do not charge admission, and have free food tasting. And the vendors are top professionals chosen for their consistent reputation for quality and reliability. Unlike the big “Cattle Call” shows, only experienced vendors participate.
We are listening to what our Brides want – and we are hearing that you want to meet vendors of quality, in a place where it’s quiet enough to listen.
And I am always available by appointment, day or evening, to listen to your wedding ideas. 817-688-2665.