In what has grown into a multibillion dollar industry with hundreds of thousands of vendors and hundreds of conventions across the country, Fred Jacobs of the Pink Bride has only one person in mind this weekend: the Chattanooga bride.
The Pink Bride show will bring its brand of bridal to the Chattanooga Convention and Trade Center this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., attracting photographers, florists, caterers, planners, DJs, bakers, stylists and countless other wedding-related vendors.
The guests won’t be easy to miss—brides and members of a bridal party who registered in time snagged pink T-shirts monikered with “Bride,” “Bridesmaid,” “Maid of Honor,” “Mother of the Bride” or “Mother of the Groom.”
“I’m a huge proponent of services like Wedding Wire and The Knot,” Jacob said. “But they are up in the clouds. I’m on the streets of Chattanooga.”
Keeping it scenic
The Pink Bride is almost akin to the Tennessee version of a bridal empire. Jacob and his wife, Donna, began in the wedding business 22 years ago in the Knoxville area with Here Comes the Bride magazine.
That venture grew into a calendar of local wedding shows, first in Clinton and Oak Ridge, then Athens and Cleveland, then Jefferson City and Morrison. Those smaller shows transitioned naturally into a larger Knoxville show.
Eventually, through purchasing other business’s existing show and building shows from scratch, the Pink Bride settled in Chattanooga, Nashville, Memphis, the Tri-Cities and Murfreesboro. The Jacobs are the largest bridal show producers in the state.
The brand also has local magazines in each of the markets, excluding Murfreesboro, featuring local wedding stories. The magazines are available in print—in a large, picture-oriented format designed to be “Pinterest on paper”—and electronically on the Pink Bride website, which is in and of itself a fully functioning blog and shopping and planning resource center.
The roster for this weekend’s Chattanooga show, which will coincide with the Pink Bride Nashville show, includes Cinderella Photography, Whitestone Country Inn, AlShabibi Catering, SoundForce, Action Rentals, Belk, the Mill Gallery and many more, representing 21 different category of wedding needs.
“We are geared toward the Tennessee bride and the local bride, who we can reach through the shows and the magazines,” Jacob said. “We know that today’s bride is 28. She is independent and knowledgeable about what she wants.”
A room with a view
With that in mind, the Jacobs design their shows around providing face-to-face time between brides and wedding experts. Rather than an overwhelming schedule of booths in row after row, speakers and shows, the Pink Bride shows are well-paced, comfortable affairs.
Vendors are organized in groups of four to create quads, as Jacob calls them, where each vendor has a corner space with 8-foot walls. The extra room allows a business to build out a cozy area more like its actual home office with decor to represent its style—an important feature in an industry that is visually oriented.
The space has also fostered on-site business: Because of the customary cramped quarters, vendors typically just brought brochures. At the Pink Bride shows, however, vendors have created their own version of Black Friday sales.
Chattanooga brides at this weekend’s show can take advantage of show-only discounts, including 10 percent off Cynthia Howell Stationery invitations with a $100 deposit, 20 percent off all wedding packages from Cinderella Photography, and 20 percent off any DJ or photo booth package.
In addition, two fashion shows at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. give guests a chance to rest their feet before returning to the floor.
Over the years, Jacob has come to recognize the distinct personality of the individual shows and the individual cities. He explained that a Knoxville caterer or photographer could easily cover a wedding in Chattanooga, but Chattanooga, as with all of the major cities, has its own roster of professionals attuned to Scenic City brides.
This all-too-important detail continues to help steer the Pink Bride brand. Brides can see the trends and services available in their own backyards without the stress of worrying they may not be able to book the exclusive, must-have vendors. Brides and grooms can begin their lifelong process of decision-making as a couple. Families can draw from a familiar network to celebrate a momentous occasion.
“Our mission is to do whatever we can to connect the bride and the groom with the best local professionals so that they can have the best wedding experience possible,” Jacob said.