Anti-Wedding Show to LOVING it | The Columbus Wedding Experience
For the longest time we believed that wedding shows were a big NO NO! Why? We were told that the brides we book there would only be about a transaction and not the type of couples that would be ideal for us. We thought through and really felt like we would NEVER do a wedding show because we wanted couples to FIND us, want US and not just our photos. We didn’t want to be just another check on their list. We still don’t want that. But never say never! What changed? Well, we moved to Columbus and quickly thought through what made our business grow in Pittsburgh and we knew just what it was. Community. Networking. Making friends in the industry. Community over competition. Where else could we meet 50+ wedding vendors in one place? We knew it was the way to go but it was a completely different motive than most would use.
Here is the thing: not only do we go to the wedding show with the mindset of meeting vendors we go with the midst of serving everyone there! Here are ways we have found we can serve at a wedding show.
1. COME EARLY
I mean really early and not just early enough to get set up. Set your table up and then turn around and help others there. Ask the coordinators if there is anything you can help with too for setup. We found so many people to help even in the smallest way. Grabbing chairs, putting stuff in a closet for them, under there tables, helping when they drop something, etc.
Just like the last one, go to other vendors and others in the room and TALK with them. Introduce yourself. With us being photographers we asked if we could take pictures of their table for them. If conversation went well from there we talked about further networking, vendor referrals, coming to photograph things for them, and more! We were an open book and found out what their needs were. Andrew and I walked away from this show with 5+ solid new vendor relationships that we would be comfortable with referring and working with more in the future.
3. GIVE A RESOURCE
Andrew and I found this super helpful to start conversations with all of the brides and families! We printed out one of our blogs that had a checklist to communicate to your photographer. It was a resource that whether they hired us or not they could take and use. It broke the ice and let them know right away that we weren’t going to force them into anything. Coming up with a common ground resource where you can actually GIVE and serve with out necessarily promoting yourself is huge. It made the day run smoothly for us and took away the awkwardness of a show.
4. ACT ON OPPORTUNITIES
Andrew and I were happy to take photos for Columbus Bride and Groom and GIVE the images to them. Why? Because they are leaders in the industry in our area and do so much. We don’t need a pat on the back or extra money. We need relationships. Andrew and I need to communicate to people that we are FOR them with out any benefit to us at all. There is nothing worse than feeling used especially in this industry. Photographers please hear me! What benefit is it to us to shoot an event for someone and then not SHARE the photos? It is crazy to me that we hear this all of the time! We could a make a world of a difference in their business and even help them grow because of our gift. Why wouldn’t you want to dance around their fire a little bit and give a gift to them of photos especially when they do so much for you. Andrew and I always volunteer to take photos for local vendors and usually at no cost because that is our heart. This may sound crazy and makes you feel taken advantage of but I kid you not we get SO many referrals from these vendors we go the extra mile for. Not to mention you just feel good knowing you set them up for success with something they could never get on their own.
With all of that being said if you have been anti wedding show like us or feel “above” them I hope you’ll think about going not for yourself. There is such an opportunity to shine a light in places like this and to just serve. Not to mention you might be surprised the clients you actually book off of it especially going with out all of the pressure to book. The wedding industry in general is riddled with people who don’t know how to think of others and stop and serve and I hope you can join us and try to be different.
One of the things we thought of while we were there was a mini photo shoot. Columbus Bride and Groom had a handful of models walking around and showing off some of the vendors bridal and menswear. I remembered talking to some of the girls about it being challenging to get photographers to give them photos to use. I thought to myself that we should just grab the models and take some pictures of them for their guides, magazines, website, etc. Why not? They dressed them up and put all the work into coordinating it, why not grab some photos for them to be able to SEE their work and use it in the future? I mentioned the idea to Jamie and she was all about it and actually blown away by the thought. Here are some of the shots we grabbed for them in less than 10 minutes at the show.
BRIDAL- Wedding Plantation
FLORAL- Connell’s Maple Lee
Sharing, serving, and celebrating,
Andrew + Chrissy