Meredith, chevron cake, NO fondant, hydrangeas, French fry station? Samantha, ghost chairs, hot sauce bottles, feathers? These are what my notes look like from my first booth I ran at a bridal show for my catering company. They read a little more like mad libs than an organized plan of action when I sat down at my desk that following Monday morning. Did Samantha want a feather send off, or was she the one who wanted that peacock feather theme? I had spent all my time preparing for the show, but not for the most important part; the follow up. Here are a few tips I wish a little birdie had told me before my first show.
- Come prepared to get the information you need. In the ideal situation could have a 10 minute discussion with each bride but what happens when you have four brides standing at your booth? Prepare a short questionnaire to have your brides fill out that highlights information helpful to you. Do not make all your questions cut and dry; throw in a couple fun ones to help read the bride’s personality. What was her most memorable meal? What is her favorite place to be in the world? You will be surprised how the answers to these questions can help you down the road. Then, if you have time, make your own personal notes on her questionnaire based on any conversation you may have.
- Establish a planned future form of communication. Find out if your bride would like to be contacted by phone or email. If she would prefer to receive a phone call, schedule a time right then and there! Check to make sure her email and phone number is legible on your questionnaire as well. You will receive a contact list of all the brides, but occasionally a bride will have opted not to fill out certain sections, not to mention it can take a couple days for the contact list to be sent out.
- Make your follow up prompt and personal. One of the most common reasons a bride will drop a vendor is they were too difficult to get ahold of. This is your first, and maybe only chance to show her that you are ready to bring her visions to life. Sure, you have 20 other weddings you are working on, but this is of no concern to a bride. She has only one, and wedding planning does not tend to bring out the inner Mother Theresa in people. Monday morning, get on that computer, and get through that list! If you have more brides than you can contact in a day, reach out the best prospects first. This is also where your little questionnaire will help you. The last thing you want is to send out an email that you have clearly also sent to 150 other brides. Are they getting married at a venue you have worked out of before? Include a couple pictures of your work at that location. Proving to a bride that you are comfortable and familiar with her vision is the best way to calm her nerves and win her over!