Any Tips On Bridal Shows?

Business By Solecito Updated 3 Apr 2018 , 2:47pm by ssmore

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Solecito Posted 24 Mar 2008 , 4:14pm
post #1 of 127

I've been thinking about doing one, but I have no idea where to begin, I mean I've only been to one to look around for my daughter's quinceanera, and the bakers (both of them) had like a big cake tree with different types of cake, for example one tier decorated with fruit, another with a big bow, another with a character face (like for kid's parties). And I really didn't like the display. I don't even know if they were dummies or real cakes.
I was thinking about taking a tv and dvd player to play a slide show of my cakes, I have a lot of photos of diferent cakes, and bake mini cupcakes to give out samples. Or should I make dumies and a big display?

Any thoughts are greatly apprecciated. Thanks

126 replies
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ccr03 Posted 24 Mar 2008 , 5:16pm
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I did my first show about a month ago and I would DEFINITELY recommend some type of slide show! WE had my laptop and people would stop and look at it or the kids would point something out to their parents (since it's at their eye level icon_smile.gif )

I don't have the pics of my display, but I did three dummies - a 6,8,10 stacked; a 6,8,10 w/a fountain and a 12,10 & 8,6 stacked. - I should have the pics of the cakes in my photos. THen I made mini-cupcakes as my samples. Since it's a wedding show I wasn't going to showcase my birthday cakes.


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cakedout Posted 24 Mar 2008 , 7:53pm
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Make sure you have a professional-looking sign. Easy to make one on a computer and have it blown up to a proper size.

Have plenty of brochures and business cards.

Take along your calendar, calculator and a pen and notepad!

Have several display dummies - showcase your work and use trendy colors to catch the bride's eye!

If doing samples, it is recomended that you purchase small containers with lids for them. Bake sheets, fill and ice-cut into small cubes and pack in the containers. Make up labels to put on them so the brides remember where it came from! icon_biggrin.gif

Dress as a professional! thumbs_up.gif Where a nice suit or a chef jacket.

HTH icon_biggrin.gif

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Solecito Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 8:14pm
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Thank you for your comments. I decided to combine the two ideas, a slide show and some dummies. The bridal show is 1 month and tomorrow I have an appointment with the person in charge to make my contract. As soon as I have the pictures I'll post them. Wish my luck.

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Erdica Posted 25 Mar 2008 , 9:01pm
post #5 of 127

As a side note, bring some water and quick no mess snack foods. When you talk to people that long, you hardly get a break to get a drink or a snack.

I agree with all the other comments.

I usually bring about 5 dummies with me. Just different styles so people can see. Also have some kind of sign that says how much that cake serves. People always want to know how their cake will compare.

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cakedout Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 1:37am
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And wear comfortable shoes!!! icon_lol.gif

Good luck

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indydebi Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 12:44pm
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If you click on my Flickr link (in signature) you will find about 4-5 pics of my booth at the Richmond (IND) Bridal Show last month. I'm also attaching a full shot photo of the booth here.

SLide show is a BIG plus!! Gives the other brides something to look at while you are talking to another. It was a last minute idea for me and I am SO GLAD I did it!

I had a one page flyer (printed front and back), cards, and cakes cut in approx 1" square with a dollop of icing on top, in lidded cups. For simplicity, I only had white cake with white icing as samples.

Take forks .... while the cakes are finger-food size, the forks are really needed. I kept them in a bussing tub behind the laptop, so I could easily pick up a cup of cake and a fork and hand it to bride B without stopping any conversation with Bride A. They were in easy reach for me, but since this show was in a shopping mall, it prevented just anyone from taking all of my samples!

A trash can ... I used a box at the end of the table. Extra trash bags ... I emptied the trash bag twice. The red-cloth covered "table" is actually my rubbermaid containers stacked up and covered. I turned the cake display table sideways to make it more open. I didn't want to be trapped behind a table.

This show provided lunch for the vendors. Since my niece managed the MCL Cafeteria that supplied the lunch, she had someone actually hand deliver it to me since I was working the booth by myself! (connections ... yay!!) But yes ..... take something to drink.

I have a dolly (some call it a refrigerator truck) that converts to a flatbed to help move everything in. It stored nicely under the long table! Only took me 3 trips to move everything in.

since I'm the kind that loves a stage and a microphone, I had a GREAT time!

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cakedout Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 2:21pm
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I agree with indydebi's booth set-up. We did the same type of set-up at our show in January. It worked well for us...but it did get a bit crowded at times. icon_biggrin.gif

And by all means- if you don't have a dolley of some sort- GET ONE! thumbs_up.gif It's a life saver ( and back saver) for things like this!.

And yes, the forks. I forgot, we had them too...and napkins.

Another suggestion for your display tiers: have a small card in front of each cake for a name (yes, give it some schmaltzy name), the size tiers shown, servings and price. (do this on the computer!) This will save you from answering that question a billion times that day!

And remember to take pics of each display...not only for your photo album(and for us to see!), but for reference when a bride calls with questions about what she saw at the show.

Hope this isn't overwhelming you- I LOVE doing shows! They are a lot of work to prepare for, but I just love 'em.

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indydebi Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 2:41pm
post #9 of 127

cakedout, the cards idea is a good one! (Where were you when I was in the planning stage of this show? icon_lol.gif )

I tend to name my cakes after my brides. On the front page of my website is "Laura's Cake". The bride feels like they've been immortalized! icon_biggrin.gif

cakedout, would you also suggest on the card, to phrase the servings size as "serves 200 as shown" .... so brides who are planning a wedding for only 100 or for 300 wouldn't think "Oh, I can't get that cake". Dumb as it sounds, I've had brides think that the picture or the display is the ONLY SIZE cake pan that cake can be made in! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

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DMCG Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 2:55pm
post #10 of 127

the only suggestion I have after doing a couple of shows recently is, don't make your samples too large.
I had people dumping cupcake samples at my booth becuase they didn't want something so big, or to walk around with it. We cut 1" square samples and served them with a frilly tooth pick.
It worked out really well, because people kept coming back for 2nds and making sure they talked to us about setting up appointments for cake tastings.
Oh, one more thing, if you can, wear a name tag or have your chef coat embroidered with your name and the name of your business.
I've attached a photo of me at my first show. I was so excited because this photo was in the local paper!!!
Getting that name out!! thumbs_up.gif

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kakeladi Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 3:43pm
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Since you are in Mexico things might be different then what we do here.
The advice given so far is right on!icon_smile.gif
I am attaching a pic of a show I did about a yr ago.
The booth is 10'x10'x10'. The tables were provided.
In the lower left corner you see a show board of pix. It's a piece of poster board (w/'wings') available at Michael's Crafts and other art supply stores. I printed the cake pix myself on photo paper from the computer. Most pix are 8x10. I suggest better placement as some people never saw it until I pointed it out....yet others did...
The dark frame on the table in the center of the pic is a ditigal slide show. <BTW: It's for saleicon_smile.gif >
In the lower right corner you see the cake samples in lidded cups set out for all to help themselves. The flavors are writen on the lid - I had made three different flavored 1/2 sheet cakes; filled & iced; I did that a week before; froze the cakes until Wed before when I made up the cups w/ pieces about 1"x2". This show had lots of trash barrels so I didn't need to take one......just moved one a bit closer to my booth.

It gives your booth much more interest when the display cakes are at different heigths. Be sure the table coverings are ironed. Even tho it doesn't look it I did iron those the night before the showicon_sad.gif
The choco sheet cake is a groom's cake.

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cakedout Posted 26 Mar 2008 , 7:09pm
post #12 of 127

cakedout, would you also suggest on the card, to phrase the servings size as "serves 200 as shown" .... so brides who are planning a wedding for only 100 or for 300 wouldn't think "Oh, I can't get that cake".

Yes! icon_biggrin.gif You are right! That would be the best wording.

"It gives your booth much more interest when the display cakes are at different heigths. Be sure the table coverings are ironed."

This is another thing I like to stress as well! Color and a variety of shapes and heights adds to the visual interest of the booth. I had acrylic risers from my shop, but we also used boxes, etc underneath a tablecloth to create height.

Our booth color theme was chocolate brown and pink. We brought in 3 round 30" tables covered with brown tablecloths and showcased 3 cake vinettes complete with candles, cake knives, and petite fours. All cakes worked well with the brown color. We also had an 8' table that showcased 3 other displays, plus our samples. We wore our white chef's jackes and brown pants.

When I get the pics downloaded, i will have to put them here on cc.

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cakedout Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 12:32am
post #13 of 127

Here is our booth from the January show....

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cakedout Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 12:50am
post #14 of 127

Let's try that again...

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FlowerGirlMN Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 10:12am
post #15 of 127

Make sure that any information you're handing out looks professional and eye catching. No, b/w photocopies will NOT cut it. Try Vistaprint.

Also, make sure you have a good,informative, professional looking website, and that that url prominently displayed on EACH piece of handout information you have. Brides walk away from wedding shows with a ton of information, most weed it down by ads and websites.

Wear comfortable shoes.

If you do color on your wedding cakes, bring colorful cakes.

If you do a bunch of different techniques, try to have as many as possible represented with your dummies. (For instance, we had gum paste flowers, chocolate molding, fresh fruit, hand painting, etc among the dummies we brought to the last show)

I'm personally in the "go big or go home" camp. The last wedding show we did was one of those mega shows with a couple hundred vendors. We were off in the small "couture" section, but 3 of the other 5 cake people were in that small section with us! I felt like a wedding photographer, lol.

Anyway, what we did to reallly stand out was have 4 HUGE printouts of some of our most popular cakes (the sketched orchids, the coach purse, the mad hatter acid trip, and the RI 3d snowflakes one), hangining against the backdrop, about eye level. With dummies on tables only, there was a LOT of unused space there. These were 20" x 30", and got a lot of attention.

Also, the thing that brought the MOST people to our booth (we heard gasps, "oh my god!!!" and "Ooh, loook at THAT!" all day - all from people who rounded the corner and saw our booth) was have a GIANT dummy there. It was 7' 6" tall itself, and was on a 40" table. The booth walls were only 8', so it showed over the top and you could see if from the non-couture area. Brought a LOT of people over.

Have something guy-friendly prominently displayed - a dummy, a big photo, or right on your handout info. Guys HATE being dragged to wedding shows. We had a lot of guys perk up at the Nascar cake on our postcards, and would actually go to our portfolio when we told them we had other "cool" stuff in there. Hint: camo scores big points. Even for people not into camo, it sure got people talking!

I think that's about it for my advice. I say hi to my competition and try to be friendly with them, and then I go figure out who the coolest, friendliest vendors are at the show, and hang out with them. Especially with some of the more extroverted (usually DJs and Planners), they can end up directing a lot of traffic to your booth.

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FlowerGirlMN Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 10:29am
post #16 of 127

I just loaded the pics from the show, and realized that I didn't mention draping.

The booth was black, which worked well with the "look" we continue through out website and printed materials - Black, silver trim, ALL of the color coming from the cakes themselves.

So we rented black linens from an outside company - pretty much everyone at the show had white. I think next time I may have white runners,dunno. Bought wooden frames from IKEA for like $5 each,and spray painted them with a metallic silver finish.

Anyway, here are some pics from the show. The two chairs are so people could hang out and flip through the portfolio:

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FlowerGirlMN Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 10:44am
post #17 of 127

Oh,one other tip. Don't be a jerk.. to anyone. Even your competitors.

One of my competitors .. the owner seemed really nice, and she had a handful of culinary students (?) helping out at her booth.

Well, one came over and got exceptionally snarky with me.. grilling me about where I went to school (I didn't!), then getting really condescending with me when I told her. Pissed me right off.

Anyway, had a bit of a laugh about it with one of my new friends (super cool DJ chick) later. You better believe it colored both our attitudes about that business. I have handful of dates booked solid, and others coming close. I won't be sending those brides that way. If poor little uneducated me is so unqualified to be doing this, they're obviously well off enough to not need my overflow, right? icon_smile.gif

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mommicakes Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 11:42am
post #18 of 127

What a wonderful set up at your show. Glad to hear it was successful. I am for sure going to save this thread as well.

Your displays are wonderful!!!!!! thumbs_up.gif


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peacockplace Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 1:41pm
post #19 of 127

Beautiful set up! How did you get the frames to hang on the fabric?

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FlowerGirlMN Posted 27 Mar 2008 , 3:28pm
post #20 of 127

Hooks made for the booth framing - they had them at the show - then my husband used some sort of really thin wire.

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Solecito Posted 28 Mar 2008 , 12:55am
post #21 of 127

OMG!!! You guys rock!!! All your displays are wonderful and awesome. All these photos have inspired me a lot. Thanks for sharing all that knowledge. Makes me feel like I have my own advisory board. Thank you sooo much!!!
I signed my contract yesterday and was able to get a corner stand. It's a 10'X10' square, and I think we're going for an "L" shape layout. One of the advantages I have is that my stand or booth is in the path of the dinning area (sponsored by a local restaurant) and the only place where they will be selling food and drinks, so mostly everyone will come thru it. The next advantage I have is only 2 more bakeries, one very commercial that sells cake the kind you'd find in walmart, and neither one sells cookies (like the ones we put on the tables at weddings for snakig here in Mexico).
But the greatest advantage I have is all this wonderful ideas and suggestions you gave me. I really apprecciate it and thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.: SOL

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peacockplace Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 4:20am
post #22 of 127

I'm bringing this back up for totally selfish reasons... I love this thread. It is full of great ideas, pictures and advice, and I don't want to do another 2hr. search to find it! icon_lol.gif

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Solecito Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 5:27am
post #23 of 127

You can print it, just like I did thumbs_up.gif

Everything helped me a lot. Hope it helps you too.
Check my display, this bridal show was in April:

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MichelleM77 Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 4:24pm
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Wow! I love the black display. I think that is the best backdrop for showing off your wedding cakes, which typically are white, and otherwise they might get lost against a black background.

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peacockplace Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 6:11pm
post #25 of 127

I love all the displays, but I can't see samples in most of them. How did you all do your samples? I can't decide on sliced sheet cake, or precut in cups.

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MichelleM77 Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 7:06pm
post #26 of 127

Do you have regulations, peacockplace? I've heard that some states require samples be in lidded cups.

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Solecito Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 7:24pm
post #27 of 127

I put my samples in lidded cups, I guess they were 3oz cups. It worked very well because:
1.- I didn't had my hands full of frosting when talking to people.
2.- People seem to feel better adressing someone not busy (cutting cake).
3.- Here in Mexico a lot of people ask for sponsors for the party, they call them "padrinos", so some ladies asked me to have another sample to take to the person buying the cake, somehow they need to justify the expense, I guess.
4.- Sometimes peolpe aren't in the mood for tasting you cake, thay can take it home or eat it later.
5.- A small cup is easier to carry than a small plate.
6.- People thought the cups were cute so they remembered me better.
7.- Easier to carry a box of lidded cups than a cake.
8.- Less mess at your stand. No crumbs or pieces of frosting in the tables.

If I remember more things I'll let you know.

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CakesByJen2 Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 7:25pm
post #28 of 127

Definitely have as many dummies as you have time to make and room to display and showcase as many different shapes, styles, and techniques. One idea I used to maximize space is to use a square dummy and do each side in a different design and have it on a turntable. You could even do a hex and showcase 6 designs in one space. In addition to dummies, photos or a slide show to show even more is a good idea. I personally do NOT take my portfolio because I'm afraid of damage or theft of the pictures (yes, it's been known to happen). Be able to give information such as number of servings, per serving price, and total price for the designs you have displayed.

Have at least one helper that can watch the booth while you go pee, answer at least the basic questions, and hand out samples. As far as samples, I prefer not to do the pre-packaged, but many do, and you can see the thread on bridal show sample for more in-depth discussion on the pro's & cons. But samples of some kind are a must!

Have professional brochures and biz cards to give out, don't be vague about pricing. There was a bakery at one show I went to that refused to give out ANY info on prices, needless to say many a bride left their booth very frustrated and moved onto to someone who was more open and informative.

Have a calendar to book appointments, and/or a clipboard with a form for brides to fill out to request an appointment or further info. Dress professionally (I recommend a chef's coat with your name or business name embroidered on it and black pants; my helper wore a white polo with the biz name on it and black pants), and where comfy shoes!

It is very tiring, but i always thought they were a lot of fun. Try to find time to network with other vendors, too. I always got a lot of referrals from reception sites and florists, sometimes photographers and DJ's. Expect a lot of phone calls and e-mails in the next couple of weeks.

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korkyo Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 8:31pm
post #29 of 127

This is so cool!! I have 3 shows coming up. I did one last year that was not so successful, so now I can really work on some of the details.
I love the idea of the bib photos on the walls. I'm definatly goingot do that. I took my logo to office max and had them make the sign for me. Laminated it too so it will keep well.

I wore a pink chef coat adn my two helpers had T's with my logo on them that I got from vista print.

Here is a photo of my booth.

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indydebi Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 9:47pm
post #30 of 127

I'd say definitely the lidded cups. I could stand and be talking to bride "A", and without breaking eye contact or stopping my conversation with "A", reach down, pick up a sample and a fork and hand it to bride "B" ... who has now been acknowledged and will munch on her cake while waiting for me to finish with "A".

And I also believe it's true about some health dept's require the lidded cup as opposed to just open food. (In my county, if I sample out cake in a cup, it's A-OK. But if I sample hot chicken from an open chafer, I have to get an off-site temp health dept permit to work the show.)

I did not take a calendar simply because I find this is NOT the place to make appts. You are here to make as much contact as possible. You have about 30 seconds with each bride, if you're lucky. Even tho' I was going to receive the registration list of brides from the show, I did collect my own list of emails with the promise to send info to them. That's when the discussion of appts 'n such are made.

I worked the booth solo, but since I love a stage and a microphone, I was in hog heaven, being busy with so many brides! icon_biggrin.gif I also agree that if you can have a helper with you, it would be a big help.

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