My current rate for offering my photography expertise (I have none), carrying gear in and out of the car, and handing fliers out to the enemy is a granola bar, half of a mushroom & olive pizza, and a bottle of water.
What I didn't realize is that I would also be provided with an incredibly entertaining day filled with voodoo witch photographers, boys afraid of spiders, and men who had no idea what they had been dragged to.
I have learned the following about bridal shows:
- Always get a booth near the food (the reason is two-fold - make friends and get snacks all day, and if I had tracked the path of most clients, it would have shown a beeline from one food table to the next, with a glance at whatever happened to be on either side)
- Get to know your neighbor - not only are you likely sharing a very tiny space, but they may provide necessary entertainment during the lulls in the crowd (at this particular show, our neighbors ran to the middle of the room w/ their laptops and bags when they noticed a bunch of spiders running around in their corner)
- greatest.people.watching.ever. (this requires more detail than I feel comfortable putting in parentheses, so please read below)
(The following people attend bridal shows:
Type A personality bride: She arrives with her mother who appears to be dragging an entire mobile office. Her wedding is over a year away and she has planned every detail. If you don't believe her, you can look in her binder which is organized by product/vendor type and then alphabetically. Within each section, she has notes from the interviews she has conducted with prior clients. In fact, she is only at the show to second-guess all the decisions she has already made. She refuses to use your pen and brings her own.
The "Oh Shit, I'm getting married....I should probably plan something" bride: She brings 6 friends, who all agree on nothing. In fact, this group can't even go out to lunch together because they can never come to a consensus on where to eat. Her wedding is in 6 months, or something....she thinks. She has a location probably, maybe, picked out. It isn't until she gets to your photography booth that she realizes that maybe she should have one of those. She asks one of the contentious cronies she brought with her to write "photographer" down. They realize they brought nothing with them to write that on. You offer them a napkin from the mini crab cake you just got from the food vendor neighbor.
A man (yes, just one): He is dragged up the sidewalk by a woman, and has the same look on his face as someone who wakes up in a hospital after a coma. As they enter, receive a door prize, and a bunch of free stuff is shoved in his hands to carry, he asks, "where am I?". He then turns to the woman and says, "you said we were going to get lunch." She quickly ushers him to a food vendor, and says, "see, lunch." Every time he tries to ask another question about why he is there, the woman dragging him shoves another caprese skewer in his mouth. When they arrive at your table and you ask her when her wedding date is, he nearly chokes on the toothpick. She informs you that they haven't quite figured that out yet, and you take note of the lack of engagement ring on her finger.
The crazy: She arrives dragging a protesting teenage child. You are already confused, but thinking perhaps this is a second marriage, you ask when the woman is getting married. She gives you an even more confused look back. She informs you that she is here to plan a birthday party. How stupid could you be for not figuring that out? Confused, you walk over to the registration table to pick up a brochure, just to make sure you are, in fact, at a bridal show. While you step away to grab the brochure, mom flips through the albums you have out on the table. You arrive back at the table just in time for her to proclaim her irritation that all the photos are wedding photos, and for her to ask, "don't you have any of birthday parties?" Unsure of how to respond, you shake your head until she disappears.
The competition: They send ninjas to steal your advertising brochures to try to get a leg up on you. Always be on the lookout for ninjas. They have been known to use tactics as low as trying infiltrate your corner with robot spiders programmed to drag away your business cards.