Your first exhibition can be an equally exciting and nerve-wracking event. Even though you have a great opportunity to display your services and products to interested couples who might become paying customers, you also have no prior experience at these events to inform your current efforts. Fortunately, thousands of vendors have already proven what doesn’t work at these exhibitions. Avoiding these common mishaps can put you at an advantage against other first-time vendors. In an effort to make your first bridal show as seamless as possible, here are six mistakes to avoid at your first exhibition.

Arriving too late.

Showing up late to an exhibition is a classic rookie mistake and one that can set you up for failure from the get-go. While all of the other vendors are organized and prepared to talk with potential clients, those arriving late will lose valuable time fumbling around with their stall. When you attend any exhibition, whether it be your first or hundredth, it’s crucial to show up well in advance of the actual start time. This gives you sufficient time to set up your booth, network with potential partners, and work out any kinks along the way.

Expecting couples to approach the booth.

Many first-time vendors make the mistake of expecting clients to approach their booth without any extra effort on their part. In reality, you need to be proactive about encouraging couples over to your stall. Depending on the size of the bridal show, there will be at least a dozen other booths vying for the attention and business of the couples in attendance. You can avoid this common mistake by actively enticing couples to approach your booth with free samples, a fun game, or some other intriguing detail that sets your booth apart from the competition.

No method for collecting contact information.

No vendor can expect to land all of their business on the day of the bridal show. First-timers and veterans alike get a vast majority of their contracts after following up with couples who showed interest at the show. What differentiates the successful vendors from those lacking business is a method for collecting contact information. In order to follow-up with interested couples, you’ll need some way to collect their emails, phone numbers, or social media accounts. A simple clipboard with a spreadsheet will suffice, although more creative options can yield better results.

No business cards to hand out.

Deciding to forgo business cards is another major mistake that should be avoided at your first exhibition. It’s not safe to assume that a booth is enough of a representation of a company to render a business card redundant. The whole purpose of a business card is to remind couples of your products and services after the bridal show. When attending your first exhibition, don’t be afraid to bring an excessive amount of business cards. It’s much better to have too many than too few.

Overcrowding the booth with decorations.

In an attempt to stand out amongst the crowd of competitors, some first-time vendors make the mistake of overcrowding their booth with adornments. While this will certainly draw attention to a stall, it can also make it appear overwhelming to couples. When designing your stall for the first time, you want to strike a balance between having an intriguing and inviting atmosphere. A pro tip would be to set up your booth beforehand to determine what will fit and what will only overcrowd.

Leaving too early.

Taking off early is the icing on the wedding cake of mistakes that need to be avoided at your first exhibition. While some other mishaps may be the result of poor planning or bad luck, leaving early is a deliberate decision. Couples will take notice when a vendor leaves an exhibition early. It’s perfectly fair for these attendees to assume that this behavior will be replicated at weddings for which the vendor is hired. It speaks volumes of your dedication and follow-through to stay until the very end of the event.

If you’re a first-time vendor interested in attending exhibitions in your area, feel free to visit Wedding Shows Work for a list of upcoming events.