Bridal Shows – are they worth my time?

The new year is here and the bridal shows are lining up. Whether you just had a ring placed on your finger over the holidays, or you are in crunch-time with your wedding in a few months, there is something to be gained from bridal shows.

Before you sign up for any bridal fair, do some homework of your own. Fairs can be overwhelming and if you go without a game plan, you could miss out on some of the positive aspects.

Do you have a date set? This will be question #1 from anyone you talk to. Your wedding date is the keystone to your planning calendar.
Do you have general guest count? Venues and caterers will care about your expected wedding size. There is no point in looking at quaint venues that hold 75 people if you know your confirmed guest list is going to top 200.
It’s okay if your answers are ‘no’
If you don’t have the answers to the above 2 questions – you will be in the browsing stage at a bridal fair. There is nothing wrong with that, but go with the mindset that you are looking for ideas and inspirations. You are probably not ready to sign contracts and take advantage of the show specials. Do not get your feelings hurt because the vendors are not spending much time with you. If there is a crowd, the vendors will be focused first on couples that have an established wedding date.

Every vendor in attendance is there for one reason – and one reason only. They are there to find prospective clients. Depending on the fair, vendors pay a few hundred dollars, up to a couple thousand dollars just to walk through the doors. Add on top of that any costs associated with the booth, staff, samples and paperwork. As a bride (or the one paying for the wedding), you are potential business to every owner with a booth. As long as you understand that before you walk in the doors you will be okay.

Put on some comfy shoes, bring a bag or backpack to gather the brochures & samples you will collect, and walk through the doors with a plan. Bring your calendar, your wish list, your budget and someone to keep you on track.

If you are financially able to secure agreements – this is a great time to save money! This is the area where you can benefit the most from a bridal fair. Most, if not all, businesses that are represented are going to be offering “show specials.” Many times, this is the best pricing structure that will be offered all year long. Those discounts will typically be best for couples that are ready to sign contracts or place deposits during the show itself. It is possible that the discounts may be extended for a short time period after the show — depending on the nature of the business and how full the vendors’ calendars are at the conclusion of the event.

Do your research in advance and have a plan of which vendors you know you MUST talk to – That is where you should start your day. That is especially important if the vendor is limited to how many dates they can book on a particular event. No bride wants to hear “I’m sorry, I booked that date an hour ago.” from her preferred reception hall. Once all the “have to” stops have been made, enjoy browsing, tasting samples and getting ideas for your day.

Large Shows or Small Shows?
Bridal Shows come in all shapes and sizes. You will find large national shows that cover multiple days and are packed with brides. The quantity of vendors will be larger and their displays might be fancier, but you are going to compete with many more brides for their attention.

Mid-size regional shows should still have a large variety of vendors, most of which are local companies, covering all aspects of wedding planning. Many of these shows are done by local broadcasting companies or local convention or community centers. The benefit of a mid-size show is that you should have more time to discuss your wedding with the local vendors and you will have less competition for their time from other brides.

Small business-based shows are typically found at local wedding shops or done as pop-up shows at local wedding venues. You can expect a smaller number of vendors with lots of personal attention. These shows are often planned by local event planners as an opportunity to showcase the vendors that are on their preferred list.

Regardless of where you are in your planning process, bridal fairs are a great resource for ideas early-on and can benefit your budget when you are ready to start securing companies for your wedding day.

PhotoMe Photo Booth has chosen a couple of Mid-Size Regional Shows to take part in this year. We will be at the Hannibal Bridal Expo at the Star Theater on February 23rd. There is no cost to attend, but you can register here.

We will also be at the Cedar Lake Cellars Wedding Show on March 24th. Registration is not open yet – but you can watch their events listings on their website.

The Faces of Alzheimer’s – My Story

ENDALZWhen it comes to offering my booth for charitable events, my heart will forever be connected with the Alzheimer’s Association. My family, like so many others, was deeply affected by the destruction of the disease. My dad starting exhibiting symptoms in his 60’s, but was never truly diagnosed. In fact, his symptoms eventually became understood as Alzheimer’s although the word was never put on paper as a diagnosis. It began as forgetfulness and progressed from there.

The disease took away some of the things that he was most known for in life, including his sense of direction and his loving character. I lived a few hours away from my home town. When my parents would come visit, Dad’s confusion would show more prevalently during his visits than it would at home – on the streets that he grew up on. In the early days, while Dad was able to drive, he would randomly get lost or would argue that he was going the right way, when others knew he that he wasn’t. Before the disease, my Dad could go somewhere once and would always know how to get back there again. That is a trait I wish I had inherited – thank God for GPS!

The focus of my Dad’s life and everything that he did was for the love of his family. He never shied away from showing affection. Maybe he didn’t say the words because he wasn’t much of a talker, but you knew it in his actions. He worked hard, gave everything he had and disciplined with a kind heart. As the disease progressed, but he still had awareness, you could see the frustration come to the surface. Eventually, the disease created a personality in my dad that was completely unrecognizable. What was left behind was an empty shell with periods of aggression and anger that simply didn’t exist in the dad that I knew growing up. It was truly agonizing watching my mom become the caretaker of a stranger, and an angry one at that.

Anyone that has walked the road with someone progressing through Alzheimer’s knows that each day is unpredictable at best. Every person has a unique experience with the disease. You spend your time trying not to be angry and then are left with guilt, loneliness and recent memories that are created by a disease that overshadow a lifetime of happy memories. My heart goes out to the caregivers, family and otherwise, that live day to day with the pain of loss. I still wish I could wipe away the Alzheimer’s memories so only the happy ones are left.

“His memories are not gone. I am simply keeping them safe until he joins me someday.”

At one point during a particularly difficult time for my dad, I was praying for him, my mom, myself and anyone else that stepped in during the most uncomfortable situations. God left me with this sense of hope… “His memories are not gone. I am simply keeping them safe until he joins me someday. I can assure you that someday you will see your Dad again and he will know you and have back his lifetime of memories.” That hope has stayed with me as a healing balm. I miss my dad every single day, but I take joy in knowing that he has been restored fully with his memories intact.

If you choose to walk during the Alzheimer’s Walk – thank you! If you are a caretaker (family or otherwise) – thank you! If you have lost someone like I have, or are experiencing the disease on a more personal level – have hope. I pray someday there is a cure, but until then, I know that God has a stash of memories that he is hanging onto until the day comes when they will be returned to their rightful owners. I pray that helps lift some of the despair that this disease brings to those it touches.


The local “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” walks are:Faces of Alzheimers_purple_mockup

St. Charles County, MO – at the St. Charles Community College in St. Peters on Sept. 29th
Lincoln County, MO – at Troy Middle School in Troy on Oct. 13th.

Stop by my photo booth near the end of either walk route and take a keepsake photo that you can text to yourself or a loved one. Together, We Can End Alzheimer’s.


Ideas for your Company Halloween Party

It is just as important for companies to establish traditions as it is for families. Halloween is one of the best holiday traditions to establish at work.

Halloween now falls second to Christmas as the most popular holiday to celebrate; and it is extremely popular for employees as well. Typically, Halloween isn’t tied to any particular religion, so it is a good holiday to celebrate across a diverse workforce. If there are employees that oppose the Halloween holiday, you could follow the same guidelines and make it more of a fall celebration instead.

Because holiday celebrations are not part of the typical day-to-day work schedule, you should make participation voluntary. Employees should never feel pressured to celebrate any holiday that requires dressing up in a costume. If you have employees that select not to dress up, you should honor the diverse needs and values of every employee.

How to Prepare for your Halloween Party

Depending on the size of your workforce, you will want to form a small, cross-department committee to plan and carry out your Halloween activities; or you can use your employee events team if one already exists.

Rotate the responsibility of event and holiday planning between departments so that no single department feels burdened or excluded. This is also a good exercise in team building and leadership development company-wide. Rotating leadership allows for new ideas to be generated, which keeps the tradition of the celebration going with fresh activities from year to year. In addition, it lets you see who rises to the top of the leadership pool when employees are given a unique task.

Celebration Ideas

Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

Costume Party or Parade – The first thing everyone will think of when it comes to a Halloween celebration is going to be costumes. It gives your employees a chance to break away from their normal routine and dress up for work. You can keep the event simple, and just encourage your employees to wear costumes for the day. Picking a new theme every year is also fun – like 1980’s, famous actors or book character. Let your staff vote for a new theme each year.

Prizes are always a good thing, but avoid popularity contests. Avoid having staff vote for their favorite costume. Instead, you could have various prize categories. For example, the funniest, most sophisticated, the one that took the most work to make, the most creative, etc. Give a list of the judging categories in advance and give small gifts to the winners.

Halloween Breakfast – This is a great option for companies that cannot utilize the costume concept, or have employees that will not participate in dressing up. Provide a breakfast of cider and doughnuts, or pumpkin or apple flavored breads, coffee cake or muffins. Also offer healthy options such as assorted fruit or granola. Require staff to gather together to enjoy the breakfast, rather than retreating with their plate back to their office or cubicle.

Halloween Luncheon – If you have more time to allow your staff away from their day-to-day routine, organize a company lunch. If necessary, hold it for a few hours so that your staff can stagger their time so everyone can attend. Play appropriate music, make an orange-colored punch and serve pizza, sandwich wraps or sub sandwiches on black plates. If you are serving hot food, make sure that employees that eat at a later time get. hot food as well — arrange more than one pizza delivery, if necessary.

Halloween/Fall Decorations Competition – Use prizes to encourage your employees to decorate their work area. You can also create a team building exercise by encouraging groups of people (or departments) to work together to decorate their shared work space. You can also have team pick specific areas to decorate – for example, the lobby, company conference room, break room, etc.

You can tie this idea in with the luncheon. Everyone decorates in the morning, followed by a luncheon to announce the winners.

Pumpkin Carving Contest – Start late in the day and allow employees to bring in their significant others and children. Allow older children to participate and have younger children watch and cheer on their team.

Trick or Treating (no tricking allowed) – Encourage all employees to bring treats to share and have all employees go cubicle to cubicle or office to office trick or treating. Provide each person with a company branded bag for extra fun! Have each employee come up with their favorite joke to tell (office-appropriate) and give a prize for the best joke.

Schedule a Work-Day Volunteer Event – Reach out to your community and lend your assistance to a local need or facility. Have employees visit senior care centers, homeless shelters or hospitals in full costume and pass out treats. Participate  in clothing or food collection drives. Do research in advance, get approval and provide a list to your employees. Then, allow them time during the normal work-day to volunteer.

Add a Photo Booth to the Fun – If you have your employees all dressed up and gathered image 05 - 1080x1080together, create a hashtag for the day and add a photo booth to your luncheon or family event. PhotoMe Photo Booth will create photo keepsakes both for your employees and for the company photo album. We will brand the photo overlay and your employees can share their images on social media with your hashtag. It is fun for your employees and you add social sharing for more brand awareness – a win for all involved!

If your place of business is available to the public, open the booth to the public as well. Invite the public, place the booth in a well-traveled location, give out candy to the kids (and parents) and send them home with a branded photo from your business. If your employees are dressed as well-known characters, take photos with the kids!

PhotoMe Photo Booth would love to be part of your Halloween Celebration. Drop us an email at to start a discussion on how we can add to the fun of your celebration.

Multi Media Text Messaging

Magical Mirror Messaging

Multi Media Text Messaging
Getting a printed 2×6 photo strip image from a photo booth is the standard. Photo Me Photo Booth steps it up a few notches by offering 4×6 prints for each person in the photo, PLUS a Multimedia Messaging Service that lets your guests text their image directly from the touch-screen mirror.

MMS is especially important if you have created an event hashtag — your guests can hashtag their booth images in social media during real-time.

Take advantage of the social media sharing options that we can offer. Elevate your next event with Social Sharing through MMS texting.


Drop us an email at to start a discussion on how we can incorporate multimedia messaging at your event!

Custom Photo Branding at Business Establishments

Did you know that Photo Expressions is available for rental at business establishments? What a fun way to elevate the excitement of Valentine’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mardis Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, the Super Bowl, the World Series, and local events like Prom Night and any other big celebration or festival!

We will create up to 3 custom photo overlays, branded with your business information and logo (including your images if you want). Your clientele will take home a photo keepsake to remember the fun that they had in your place of business.


This is a picture of a standard winery overlay that is not branded.

Compare that to the images below that have been branded for Kuenzel Valley Winery in New Haven, Missouri.


Kuenzel Valley Winery_2V_custom

Your clientele will be able to select any of the custom overlay options before printing their keepsake.

There are multiple rental options available for retail establishments. Drop us an email at to inquire about your upcoming event.

It’s time to strike a pose

PhotoboothA_Poses14_VIPYou are next in line for the booth — and the pressure is building. This photo will be in your friends’ photo booth scrapbook… FOREVER! Here are a few ideas (and things to avoid)

  1. Action! Act out a movie sequence (and see if your friends can guess it)
  2. Tell a Story. Use all 3 images like a cartoon strip.
  3. Get Creative. Use the props provided – or come up with a prop of your own. If you are known as being on your phone all the time, use your cell phone as a prop. Even table decor can be used (just be respectful of items that you don’t own)
  4. Practice in advance. Yep, I said practice. Have you noticed the people with the best selfie photos are always taking selfie photos? It is no accident!
  5. Duck Face. Don’t. Just Don’t.
  6. Keep it classy. Don’t take photos that you will regret tomorrow, or will have to be censored in someone’s scrapbook. You are not the only one getting a copy of your photos.
  7. Pay attention to your surroundings. If the photo booth is an open air booth – be respectful to those in line and watching from a distance.

Most important tip — HAVE FUN! Maybe you can even encourage someone sitting quietly and just watching to participate as well.

5 Questions you should ask when hiring a Photo Booth for your next event

I am thrilled that you are considering a photo booth for an upcoming event! Photo Booths are the perfect way to get your guests out of their seats and to interact with each other. You can’t help being a little silly striking a pose with a mustache and a feather boa!

Not all Photo Booths are created equal, however. You should know upfront exactly what you are booking for your event. Here are some questions you should ask before you even ask about price.

  1. What is the booth made of? That means the actual booth – is it made up of a homemade concoction of pvc pipe and bed-sheets, metal poles and draping, or is it an open air design?
    Photo Me Photo Booth is an open air design — meaning it can fit more people in the booth and your guests get to interact with those that are posing.
  2. What kind of equipment will be used? The quality of the camera and the printer will dictate the quality of your finished prints. You do not want web cameras or ink jet printers to be used at your event.
    We use Canon cameras and a dye sublimation printer. That means your photos will be professional quality and the print time is less than 10 seconds.
  3. Who is doing the design work for customizations? Will the company outsource the work or will it be done by someone that isn’t qualified to be creating custom designs?
    All of our designs are done by a professional graphic designer with the appropriate high-end software. All images will be high resolution for the best quality printed product.
  4. How much “live time” am I getting for my rental? It may seem like the answer to this is obvious. However, make sure the set-up and take-down times are not included as part of your rental time.
    Photo Expressions completes set-up and take down outside of your scheduled rental time. When booking, schedule the time you want the photo sessions to start. We also have the option to add “idle time” so you don’t have to pay for live rental time during events like dinner when the booth will not be in use.
  5. How many photos can be printed during each session? Clarify the limitations for each session. Some companies limit the number of printed photos to 2, regardless of how many people are in the image.
    If you have 4 people in a photo, you can print 4 photos of the session. If you have purchased a Scrap Book, that image is in addition to the guest prints.