The fall wedding season is coming to end, so I took advantage of the opportunity to walk the “Unveiled” show in downtown Minneapolis yesterday.
The show was set up in two different ballrooms of the Convention Center, with a wide red carpet running down the hallway between them (Boy, do these people know how to appeal to brides-to-be!). Along the carpet were booths for disc jockeys, old-fashioned photo booths like the ones that used to be in stores like Woolworth’s, and rows of headless mannequins showing off the latest in bridal gowns. It looks like sleeves are slowly making a comeback.
I paid my $15 admission (much cheaper than a show booth!), accepted a stack of beautifully printed materials, and began to make my way through the ballrooms. Banquet tables glittered in silver and gold. More sparkly wedding gowns appeared, and tuxes. Cakes that would give the Cake Boss a run for his money. Wine, wedding cake and other delicacies were available for tasting. Dazed young men who looked as if they were barely 12 years old followed determined-looking brides as they navigated past the photographers’, caterers’ and venue booths.
I was blown away by the prices. Twenty-eight-hundred bucks for a wedding photographer to follow you around for eight hours on your wedding day. Register to win a $350 discount off your wedding flowers (My bouquet of dried flowers cost one-tenth of the discount! Of course, that was 35 years ago.) Diamond rings I was afraid to even look at.
As I wandered amongst all this splendor, I soon found my target audience: Moms. They were there in support of their daughters. The mothers of the brides and the mothers of the grooms, in league with one another, to help plan a special event. Moms who know that most of marriage comes after the ceremony. Moms: the ultimate long-term thinkers. Moms who have been invited to yet another bridal shower and need a gift, stat!
Before leaving home, I had printed out 100 bookmarks directing to Amazon.com or Etsy.com to buy a copy of An Anniversary to Remember. I approached these moms with a smile and asked if they would like a bookmark. Nearly all of them said yes and thanked me.
Within 90 minutes, I had handed out all but four of my bookmarks and I found I was starting to approach the same people again. I walked out into the warm November sunshine. As I strolled through Loring Park on my way to the bus, I hoped some of those moms would take another look at those humble little bookmarks and place an order.
In the meantime, I’ll try to recover from the sticker shock.