Don’t get me wrong, I love bridal shows, business expos, and displaying creative booth designs - they’re like nothing else in the creative industry and give you the beautiful opportunity to meet couples in love or potential clients that you may work with through your creative passion. But for me, my very favorite parts of bridal shows and business expos don’t happen AT the actual event... My favorite parts happen before during the dreaming, planning, and preparing stages!
I know, it may sound silly that my favorite parts of these events come before they even start, but I promise it’s for good reason! In fact, I love all of the work that goes into the dreaming stages before these events because it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase your brand, your business, and yourself as a creative. It all starts with a little dreaming, planning, and preparing!
My heart connects to this topic as I think back to several years ago when I was dreaming up my very first creative booth design for a bridal show. I started browsing Pinterest for ideas and inspiration only to quickly find that there was a lack of advice and booth design ideas online. I found myself looking for resources and searching things like “wedding altar backdrops” and “home photo displays” to brainstorm ideas. With that, my inspiration was sparked and from the start I knew I wanted to create a booth that was unique while staying true to my brand, and I knew I wanted to share my experience so that I could help someone else prepare in the future.
There are three things to consider when dreaming up your bridal show, business expo, or any other creative booth design for display...
1) Brainstorm and plan ahead!
I get it, there are so many different bridal shows, business expos, and more out there! Each and every one of these events has something unique to offer. Some are small, while some are large with hundreds of couples or potential clients. Whatever it may be in your experience, plan ahead! This goes for so many things from booth design to printed materials (wait until you see more of my favorite business cards, table top canvases, and retractable banner soon!). One of my first steps in planning my creative booth designs is to draw out my booth on paper. This gives me a visual idea and allows me to see what elements I may need (or want!) to incorporate as well as a baseline to start budgeting for the booth design. Remember, the last thing you want to do is be scrambling a few days before the bridal show or business expo to get everything together. Dealing with lots of shopping trips, rush production and shipping charges, and added stress is never fun! Finally, planning ahead is key in terms of making your booth welcoming and inviting. I love hearing people say “Your space is so welcoming!” or “This is so homey!” when they visit my booth. My goal is to always create a welcoming space. What’s your overall goal or vision for your booth?
2) Create a design that represents your brand + your biz!
As you prepare your creative booth design, your brand should be your greatest focus. Consider your style as a creative, your brand, and the overall feeling you want your clients to have throughout the experience of working with you. Now, bring all of those elements to life with your booth design and display pieces! Most recently, I have loved incorporating my custom designed retractable banner and table top canvases into my booth design. These goodies are easy to travel with, display your creative style and personality, and best of all, they are show stoppers at these events! And let me tell you, sharing your brand and the creative experience you offer through printed materials, marketing materials, and so much more is the icing on the cake. It truly is amazing to see everything in print and on display in real life outside of your website, blog, and digital materials.
3) Share something tangible with your people!
And of course, this leads me to my final piece of advice! It’s important to plan to share something tangible with your people... Whether they are couples in love or potential clients visiting your booth, give them something tangible to take home! Business cards, like I’m featuring here, or even handout informational cards are the perfect addition to your booth. The bridal show or business expo organizers should be able to give you an idea of the projected number of registered guests for the event. Thus, you will be able to estimate how many tangible items to print. It is always a good idea to find out an approximate number of guests so that you are prepared! And always be sure that your tangible materials are concise, informational, and on brand! Lastly, bridal shows and business expos are often fun yet overwhelming for potential clients, so it is sometimes difficult to make decisions on the spot. That’s absolutely okay! With that, potential clients usually go home, open their swag bags filled with goodies, and start sorting through all of the information they received at the event. Offering tangible printed materials to guests at your booth allows you to connect with potential clients beyond the event. Maybe once they get home and sort through their bag, they will see your business card and think, “Wow, I really clicked with that photographer… I would love to have her contribute to my wedding day!” You never know what these connections will lead to later, and good thing they have your information in hand!
At the end of the day, potential clients want to see that you are an expert in your field. Always remember that every aspect of your booth (you, your printed materials, your creative work on display – everything!) is a representation of your business and ultimately your brand. My hope is that this advice encourages you as you dream up your next creative booth design!
About Kara Evans
Kara Evans is a natural light wedding photographer and mentor for creatives serving Central Illinois, Chicagoland, and beyond. When she’s not photographing weddings, Kara helps the joyful creative balance their business so that they can live their life while pursuing their passion project.Website | Facebook | Instagram | Coaching