I realize the title of this blog is pretty broad based, but as we enter the busy Winter Season in this industry (and by “busy” I mean with couples reserving their services for weddings later in the year or next year) it is most likely a question that will pop into your head. Bridal Shows take place on week nights (when you’ve probably worked all day long) or during the day on weekends (when, let’s face it, we all cherish our downtime) so while you consider going to a Bridal Show you may also be thinking, “Can’t I just stay home and all see all this stuff online?”
My answer to the main question here is a resounding: “YES! Bridal Shows are worth attending!” In fact, I’d go one step further and say you owe it to yourself to attend at least one or two throughout the planning of your wedding.
I’ll take it from an entertainment point of view to begin with, since, well, as you can imagine, that’s what we do. The famous Wedding Planner David Tutera, in a blog he wrote about the importance of music at a wedding, said: “Whether you choose a band, DJ, or a combination of the two for your wedding entertainment, request to see and hear your musicians/emcee in action before signing the contract.” I happen to think that is excellent advice (not that David Tutera needs my endorsement) but the problem here in New Jersey is that most banquet halls do not allow “pop-in’s” (a pop-in is when a prospective bride and groom “pop-in” to a banquet hall and peak in at someone else’s wedding to check out the entertainment.) And when I say “problem” it’s not like I disagree with the banquet halls when it comes to this policy. I happen to think when we are all working for a specific couple that day we should all be focused on that one Wedding and not be thinking about selling to a future couple at the same time. So when I say “problem” I mean, if you’re going to follow Mr. Tutera’s advice, what are you going to do?
Well, that’s where Bridal Shows or Private DJ Showcases come in. These are opportunities for you to “see and hear” your wedding entertainment before booking them. And when it comes to entertainment, nothing beats the live experience.
Video clips are great. They will often show how packed a DJ or band can get your dance floor, and how eloquent your MC can be. And we here at Elite Entertainment certainly have our share of videos, not only of each MC but also showing our lighting and other upgrades. But we all know the reality when it comes to these videos, don’t we? They are the best of the best and they are edited artfully enough to show “the highlights.” In other words, be impressed if the videos impress you . . .be intrigued if they are intriguing, but take the next step and ask, “this is great, how can we see you live?” Because any reputable entertainment company for your wedding will showcase often enough that you should have a myriad of options to “see them live.” Don’t take “No” for an answer.
So that’s the entertainment answer but I’d also like to expand on this, if I may. Let’s say you have entertainment booked already. Is it still worth attending a Bridal Show? Can’t you see a photographer’s “portfolio” online? Or examples of a videographer’s work on their Youtube or Vimeo channel? What’s the difference if you see a wedding gown in the bridal shop or on a model at a show? And a limos a limo right? Well, yeah sure, but in my experience, the vendors who attend shows are often (notice I said “often” and not “always”) the more professional vendors. They are usually professionals who do this full-time and who understand part of running a successful business, no matter how many word-of-mouth referrals they may get, is getting out and meeting new, prospective clients.
And (and this may just be me and my old-school thinking) nothing can replace a face-to-face impression. I would much rather meet someone, shake their hand and look them in the eye, and then find out about their work. I would rather speak to someone in person than on the phone (even if it’s a video chat.) And I would much rather go where professionals are looking for me, rather than trusting a Google search.
So as you think about planning your wedding, and you wonder where oh where are you going to find the right entertainment, photographer, florist etc etc etc, I urge you to attend a bridal show (or two or three). Besides researching companies to hire, they can also be fun evenings (or afternoons) to spend with your Maid of Honor or Mom (who are probably dieing to help you with the plans.) Plus, most bridal shows have some kind of door prizes so you may even leave a winner. Who knows. And if you don’t think it was all worth it, please, don’t blame me. Blame David Tutera.