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The Engagement Gap | COVID lockdowns | The gift that keeps on giving

What is “The Engagement Gap?” Well, as a wedding vendor, you’ve probably been experiencing a slowdown in bookings. Maybe you’re spending more money on marketing and getting fewer results. You’re definitely asking where all the engaged couples are. The Engagement Gap is a real thing and it’s impacting all of us. Let me explain.

During the COVID lockdowns of 2020, 2021, and even early 2022, the ability to meet new people was severely impacted. Instead of meeting the loves of their lives, people were learning to make sourdough bread from a starter and drinking on Zoom with their friends. (Weren’t we all?)

If you think about it, the typical first meeting to marriage timeline is an average of 3 to 3.5 years. What we’re feeling right now, is the reduction in those relationships. Without that first meeting, there was no first date, no time to fall in love, and no reason to get engaged, plan a wedding and get married.

For most of 2023, we’ve seen a huge reduction in the number of couples planning weddings because fewer couples met, fell in love, and got engaged. This is the Engagement Gap.  In happy news, lockdowns are well behind us and we’ll start to see an increase in engagements, likely starting over the Christmas season and increasing to pre-COVID levels over the next few years. In the meantime, how do you make the most of your lead opportunities?? 


Get past ‘The Engagement’ gap and focus on a marketing plan that works. Book a booth at one of our upcoming expos and reach your core demographic face-to-face. Having a successful expo experience despite the lower number of couples planning weddings comes down to 3 things:


These 3 things are true of all wedding expo experiences, but they’re even more important during the Engagement Gap.

GOALS: Set a realistic goal for what you hope to get from the expo. When setting your goal, work backward. How many weddings do you need to book from the show to break even? How many to make it a success? How many to make it a smash hit? How many couples do you need to connect with to get those bookings? It doesn’t matter if there are 10 couples or 1,000 couples if you know what you need to make the day work for you. In fact, too many couples can be a distraction and make your goals harder to achieve.

CONNECTIONS: The right couples are what turns a fun day with your vendor friends into a successful marketing experience for your business. I always say you’ll never get this opportunity to meet this particular audience of interested couples again. Make the most of it and bring your A game. Be ready to chat. Don’t wait for the couple to talk to you. Stay in your booth, but don’t hide behind your table. Stand when you’re chatting with couples.

Be welcoming. Wear comfortable shoes, deodorant, and your best smile. It’s only a few hours. You can not only survive it, but you can also triumph with some preplanning. PRO TIP: Have a few prompts ready to start the conversation. The right question at the beginning can help you focus on who you should be talking to. “Do you have your DJ yet?” or “When is your big day?” If they have already booked a vendor in your field, smile, offer to sign their passport, and let them move on to the next vendor, freeing you up to chat with the couples that do need your services.

FOLLOW UP: The fortune is in the follow-up! It doesn’t matter if you meet 10 couples or 10,000 couples. If you don’t follow up, you’re likely not getting the bookings. PRO TIP: You should be planning your post-expo follow-up before the expo! If you’re planning to send out an eblast, draft it ahead of time so you only must add emails. Not all follow-ups should be created equally. Follow up based on the connections you made. Hot leads first, warm leads next, then cold leads last. Don’t send a generic e-blast in the first week after the show. Couples will get tons of emails in the first few days. If you want to stand out, don’t be one of them. Instead, save the generic email for a week or two down the road. Instead, focus on sending emails to couples whom you feel you made a connection with you are expecting to hear from you. 

In summation, while ‘The Engagement Gap’ is very real, you can still get ahead of the curve, by using the resources available to you.

BONUS: Expos typically have a quiet periods. Savvy couples use this time for more in-depth conversations with vendors. Savvy vendors use this time to engage with these couples and network with vendors. Chatting with your fellow vendors, making new friends, and solidifying relationships lead to both referrals and excellent working relationships.

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