Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bridal Shows and Wedding Expos

Everyone loves bridal shows. It gives the brides a chance to meet vendors on a face to face basis, find ideas and trends for their upcoming wedding and win some great prizes. As an exhibitor, I get to meet brides, promote my services and talk to them about their wedding. Since I am naturally inquisitive and I have a black belt in talking, that part comes naturally for me. The bridal show gives me a chance to pick up ideas from the brides , network with other vendors and to reconnect with some of my buddies in the biz. Its a win win situation for all of us.

Since I'm the one who provides the fashions, its up to me to set the tone of the fashion show. I have to wear a lot of hats: Planner, negotiator, peacemaker, public relations, dress hauler, booth set up and commentator.

We plan months in advance. We start with meetings with the show producer. We have to meet with the other vendors to brainstorm. The florist and tux shops need the colors of the dresses to coordinate the flowers and tuxedos. The DJ needs to know what music to play in the show. The jewelry store needs to see the styles of the dresses to coordinate their jewelry. All the vendors need to be included and get their face time and their say. Its a long process.

Once the plan is in place, we have to make it happen. We have to assemble props, literature and prizes. We have to factor in a lot of expense. It involves a lot of negotiations with the husbands to help haul dresses, build stuff for the booth and the part they all hate: carrying in the naked mannequins. For gosh sake, they are molded plastic, stop being embarrassed, they are not anatomically correct. Guess a man never outgrows the frat boy stage.

We have to hire models and fit the models into the dresses. Easier said than done. You are dealing with a lot of egos. Some of the dresses need alterations before we can send them down the runway and we'll need to clean them after the show. Seems no matter how many times we tell the models to wear clear deodorant and not to touch their face and then the dress, it happens. Oh, well, its a part of doing business.

Dresses need to be done in sets that make sense and allow time for the models to change into their next dress. Its planned out on a board full of post it notes by a team who go from pulling their hair out to moments of sheer brilliance. Its like putting together a house of cards. If one part doesn't fit properly, the entire thing falls apart. And if something goes wrong the day of the show, we have to have a plan B and be ready to punt. You'll never know.

Behind the scenes are frantic dress changes, dressers going crazy zipping, pinning, lacing and hanging, makeup artists and hairstylists freshening the. hair and makeup and generalized chaos. You'd never know it when the models hit the stage, they smile like the pros they are. You get a great show. Love or hate the dresses and the show, all the vendors put their heart into it and worked hard to entertain you.

I love to see the brides when they find something that fills the niche in their wedding. They get so excited and their mothers can't stop thanking you for helping them out. Sometimes its nothing more than reassurance. Sometimes its free advice. Sometimes its helping them find the elusive puzzle piece.

I love to see the looks on the faces of the brides when they win a prize. It makes all the work worthwhile. Next week I get to see my first cake dig, where brides dig into the cake for prizes hidden on poker chips. Seems like a really big waste of cake to me! ;) I promise to post pictures. Its going to be so much fun!

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