Feb 25, 2011
Here Come the Bridal Sales
Kathy Krassner, Contributing Writer

From bachelorette items to wedding favors, there’s much to sell to the bride-to-be.

Although weddings take place all year round, spring is still traditionally a strong time to attract sales from brides-to-be. To ensure you’re tapping this market to its fullest potential, be sure to carry a broad selection of bachelorette items, bridal-shower accessories and wedding-reception favors – as the customer and products for these events can vary greatly.

“Bridal items tend to be more for the bridal shower and therefore appeal to a more traditional group of people,” explained Warren Berkowitz, product development manager at Forum Novelties. “These items are less edgy and are more mainstream. They can be anything from favors and decorations to humorous gift items for the bride, such as ball-and-chain earrings.”

On the other hand, Berkowitz said bachelorette items can range from good, clean fun to the more adult and edgy items. These tend to be more directed to destination parties such as Vegas or bars and restaurants.

Therefore, decorations are less important, and funny gifts and wearables such as tiaras, bridal veils, beads, etc. are the best sellers. Forum Novelties carries a full range of both bridal and bachelorette products.
Carlson Craft’s bachelorette line includes satin sashes with preprinted or custom wording.

“It’s a fun way for the bachelorette party members to stand out from the crowd,” acknowledged Brenda Boyer of Carlson Craft’s marketing department.

“Whether girls are heading out for a fun road trip or simply painting their hometown red, they love to stand out while looking good!” agreed Mary Dietz, marketing manager at Cathy’s Concepts.

Festive, personalized bachelorette items from Cathy’s Concepts include sashes and veil sets, shot glasses, themed party kits, and car decorations – including flags and window clings.

Wearables are definitely in demand by attention-seeking bachelorettes, and Ivy Lane offers several fashionable apparel items for the bride-to-be, including T-shirts, tanks, hoodies and hats in various styles and designs – many of which can be personalized.

“Personalization continues to be the hot trend in favors, with every bride wanting to make her favors her very own,” said Steven Kahn, president of Ivy Lane Design, which offers a wide array of bridal-favor packaging options including favor boxes, labels, tags, ribbon, candy bar wrappers and water bottle labels.

“Monograms are still very popular,” added Regina Goernemann, sales manager at Designing Ducks, whose line features a variety of themed personal-care and gift items, as well as personalized specialty-food gifts for the wedding.

“Today’s bridal couples are looking for ceremony and reception items to make their wedding day different than other weddings,” said Carlson Craft’s Boyer, who notes the company’s best-selling favors include boxes shaped as a wedding gown and tuxedo, as well as labels imprinted with the couple’s name and wedding date, which can be attached to candy, water or wine bottles, favor boxes and more.

Dietz of Cathy’s Concepts observed that bachelorettes are choosing fun themes for their parties, such as golf, Vegas, angels/devils and cosmopolitan. Additionally, couples are selecting favors that reflect the color theme of their wedding celebration, according to Boyer of Carlson Craft. Among popular color combinations that Boyer has seen lately are purple and teal, lilac and sky blue, warm gray and any pink or coral, mocha and blush pink, and olive and mauve.

Barbara White, owner of Simply Charming, has witnessed a heightened demand for exotic animal prints on bridal accessories such as garters, and said that peacock and zebra patterns have been a huge hit.

“On the other end of this spectrum,” White said, “we’ve noticed a rise in the popularity of traditional and vintage patterns, including fine embroidered laces, silver trims and crystal appliques.”

Merchandising More
Just as customers’ tastes vary, so should your displays for these various bridal-related events.

“Unlike the wedding itself, most bachelorette parties are more of a ‘fly by the seat of our pants’-type deal,” said Dietz of Cathy’s Concepts. “While there is still plenty of planning involved, it’s generally more of a last-minute thing; so, it’s incredibly important to have actual samples for brides, their bridesmaids and friends to see. This not only makes it much easier for them to make purchase, but it also helps capture the more impulsive buyer.”

While of Simply Charming agreed that impulse items are key: “Stock your stores with enough variety of merchandise so brides and bridesmaids won’t go someplace else.”

Kahn of Ivy Lane Design believes that a good way for retailers to sell more bridal items “is to display a favor idea center where the bride can see firsthand a multitude of completed samples and options.”

It’s also important to make the most of a bridal customer’s time while you have them in your store.

“When the bridal couple finishes placing their invitation order, immediately open the album to favors,” suggested Carlson Craft’s Boyer. “The retailer should explain to the couple that it’s a time saver and stress reducer to order the favors and other items now, then it’s done and they don’t need to worry about it later.”

She additionally advised having a checklist nearby and going through other items that the bridal couple might need, such as personalized napkins in their colors, attendants’ gifts, personalized toasting goblets, etc.

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