HITCHED NICHE: Wedding pros say ‘I do’ to Las Vegas at Convention Center trade show
It’s hard to imagine a better location for a wedding industry trade show than the Wedding Capital of the World.
After all, everybody loves coming to Las Vegas, whether or not they have marriage on their minds.
That’s what organizers of the Wedding MBA show discovered when they made the decision to move it here, from Phoenix, in the convention’s early years.
“It was a real game-changer for us,” says Shannon Underwood, conference director of Wedding MBA (Merchants Business Academy). The move “helped boost attendance, and people were really excited to visit Las Vegas.”
Now in its 14th year, Wedding MBA returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center Oct. 14-16, 2019, for its biggest show yet. Organizers expect to draw 5,500 wedding professionals — planners, florists, caterers, officiants, photographers and so on —to the convention’s 175 exhibits and 150 educational seminars with topics that run the gamut, from dealing with burnout to marketing to millennials.
Billed as the world’s largest conference for wedding pros — and generating an estimated economic impact of approximately $8.9 million for Southern Nevada — the show focuses on the business side of the industry.
“Really talented wedding professionals — everyone from cake bakers to florists —can be really good at their craft, but when it comes to actual business sense, sometimes they don’t make all the best decisions,” Underwood says. Wedding MBA is a place where they can hone those business skills.
Attendees also get to see the latest wedding technology and trends — from tables that glow from the inside out (thanks to LED lights) to virtual reality tools that let couples see exactly how their venues will look — and participate in that most vaunted of business-related activities: networking. The latter proves especially popular because, for an industry dedicated to bringing people together, the wedding biz can sometimes be lonely.
• Las Vegas is the Wedding Capital of the World with more weddings per capita than any other state.
• More than 1 out of every 25 marriage in the US took place in Clark County.
• Las Vegas brides, grooms and guests generated more than $2 billion in economic impact in 2017.
• In May 2019, Clark County issued its 20,000th same-sex marriage license.
Many wedding pros are solopreneurs or work only with a spouse. For them, the best part of Wedding MBA is “meeting other people and knowing they’re not alone,” Underwood says. “Developing those relationships is just huge.”
That kind of support comes in handy when dealing with challenges that come in an ever-evolving industry. For example, the U.S. marriage rate has been declining. According to the Pew Research Center, half of Americans 18 and older were married in 2017, down 8 percentage points since 1990. In 1960, 72 percent of U.S. adults were married.
“We’re finding there are less total people getting married each year, and the numbers keep getting smaller,” Underwood says. “It’s a little more of a challenge finding those couples.” The good news is “there’s still couples out there spending a lot of money on their weddings,” she adds.
This year’s Wedding MBA attendees can get tips on finding those elusive pairs in seminars such as “True Detective: Clues to Detect More Wedding Couples.” Whatever challenges they face, wedding pros also get to be part of one of the most rewarding industries out there.
“You get to take part in the most important day of somebody’s life,” Underwood says. “It’s such an honor, such a gift, such an emotional and exciting time that sets them up for the rest of their marriage.”
To offer feedback on this story or suggestions for future stories on Las Vegas Newswire, contact Managing Editor Steve Bornfeld at SBornfeld@lvcva.com.