Thelma Keller Convention Center Bridal Show Effingham, IL

It’s that time of year where couples across the nation are beginning to plan their big day, which means it’s that time of year that bridal shows take place to showcase wedding vendors. For the past four years we have been attending the bridal show in Effingham, IL and it’s one of the best shows around in this area. A huge number of brides are present as well as so many different wedding vendors. Our first show was January 2010. I would like to forget this one as it was our first show and at that moment in time we had only 2 weddings that were completely edited, so most of our pictures were engagement pictures and the album we presented was an album of my Natasha and me. This was definitely a very sad presentation, but we all start somewhere right? The next year we went with the living room set where we built up some walls, had some furniture, lighting, and whatnot, and I loved this setup, but was it a hassle to have to put up! It literally took about 3 hours to set up and finalize the look and just as many hours to tear down and load. The next year (2012), we decided to go with a double booth and no have any walls. We wanted to go simple but overload the booth with pictures, and we did just that. Also, by partnering with an awesome DJ in the area (anatime entertainment) we were able to show off their decorating services and have a nice backdrop to our booth.

This finally brings us to this year. We had a similar backdrop as last year from Anatime Entertainment, but we had even more pictures and much larger pictures. Throughout the years the pictures got bigger the albums became nicer, but 2013’s show was all about going even bigger and better. If you stopped by our booth, I’m sure you saw some of the albums we had on display, they are unlike anything that most of the photographers there. Our booth may have not been the cleanest looking booth or even the best, and while I absolutely loved my living room themed booth, I also love what I call a “controlled mess”. It was simply just a mess of pictures. I’m a photographer, I take pictures, so why not show them off in their full glory and show off a LOT of them, right?

Next came the outfit and the evolution here. I remember in 2010 when I came into the center to set up, I was wearing nice jeans and a dress shirt. Something that was casual yet still formal. But as I looked around, everyone, even the photographers had on suits. So I just assumed this is what you had to do since this was the first show, I didn’t know there was a dress code. haha It wasn’t until 2011 I decided, why dress like everyone else? It’s known that I’m not going to wear jeans to a wedding, but at the expo I want what I am wearing to reflect my personality and be a reflection of my business. I’m not one to do what everyone else is doing, in fact I like to do things differently, so 2010 started what I wear today; designer jeans, shoes, and dress shirt w/ a vest. Again it says formal but yet it’s casual enough to be comfortable to talk to me. You don’t feel like you are dealing with a car salesman all suited up trying to sell to you. And this is exactly what I don’t do. I never “sell” anything. We just simply talk, I love that about this job. I also think at least for photographers, what they wear is very much a resemblance of what kind of business they run. Unless they are in a designer suit that cost them 5,000 dollars, a suited up photographer at the expo, very formal looking, very traditional,  the pictures probably are probably very formal and traditional as well. One year a photographer dressed in what looked like old jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball hat… not sure why, but this would tell me that they do not have pride in themselves to clean up, chances are they do not take pride in their pictures or their business. The route we go with the designer jeans and dress shirt (untucked) with a vest, in my opinion it says that I’m edgy, try to do things a little different, and I’m far from old school traditional. haha Lastly is the plain jain dress slacks and shirt, not too formal but not edgy just kind of there, this is what I had my first year, I call this the “I’m not sure what my style is” look. They might be traditional/formal, they might be modern and fun, it’s the gamble look. All in all, I was very much surprised how laid back the expo was this year, it seemed like more and more vendors were taking the relaxed look, which made the vendors wearing suits look extremely formal. But I thought this is great for the brides, because you want to feel comfortable to talk, you don’t want to feel like you’ve got a salesman cramming their product on you.

This year’s bridal show came with a little extra, Anatime Entertainment brought in DJ Casper (The Originator of the Cha-Cha Slide) who even did a live presentation of the cha cha slide. 🙂 I’m a HUGE fan of the cha cha slide and as a fan it was definitely pretty awesome to do the slide as DJ casper himself led it.

Overall it was a great show. We had a chance to meet with a lot of awesome couples and I look forward to working with some of them.2013 is starting to fill up pretty quickly and we are already booking weddings for 2014! I’m so excited for the upcoming year and can’t wait to show off some of the new things we will be doing.

Hanging out with DJ Casper afterwards.