Bridal Show season is in upon us! If you are planning your wedding this year, bridal shows can be a valuable resource for ideas, vendor shopping, fashion shows, and cake tastings!
If you are planning to attend a bridal show, set up a strategy beforehand to optimize your time on-site.
Prior to the Bridal Show –
Research the Bridal Show. Check out the bridal show’s web site and its list of exhibitors. If the bridal show doesn’t have the type of professional vendors you are interested in hiring, save your time for another bridal show.
Pre-Register. Some bridal shows will have long lines of couples purchasing tickets on-site. Avoid those long lines by pre-registering. But, before you actually register, Google the bridal show – you may find links to free show tickets on a blog or web site of some of the bridal show exhibitors and sponsors. If you live in the DC metro area, here is a list of some of the area’s upcoming bridal shows —
- January 14 – Washington Wedding Experience (in DC)
- January 21 – Washington Wedding Experience (in Northern Virginia)
- January 22 – Baltimore Bride Magazine Aisle Style
- January 28 – Washingtonian Bride & Groom Unveiled
- February 3 – Baltimore Wedding Experience
Have a Game Plan. Before you go to the bridal show, have a goal of what you want to accomplish, such as the type of vendors you would like to meet, your wedding day attire, and your wedding menu. Write down your goals and refer to them when you are on-site.
Create a New E-Mail Address. After the bridal show, your e-mail in-box will be flooded with messages from the show’s exhibitors and sponsors. To avoid overloading your personal in-box, consider creating an e-mail address specifically for your wedding planning e-mails and use that e-mail for your wedding planning correspondence. After your wedding is over, you can delete that wedding e-mail account, and your personal account is not affected.
Dress for Success. You will walk a lot, so wear comfortable shoes. Bring your own tote bag to place your “must read” vendor literature and use the bridal show bag for the “so so” literature and tschotskes. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water!
Charge Your Phone. You want to have it available to shoot pictures of table designs, fashion, and other ideas.
At the Show –
Bring a Partner. If the bridal show is large, consider bringing a bridesmaid or your fiance’ with you. Then you can split up the duties. Plus, your bridal show buddy’s input will be helpful when you are going through all of the brochures and literature afterwards.
Take Time to Ask Questions. Ask the vendors questions about their company and their services. If they have their calendar available, find out if your wedding date is available. Bring a pen and a notebook to take notes.
Network with Other Couples. Take an opportunity to chat with other couples while you are waiting in line to enter the bridal show or when you are waiting for the fashion show begin. You may gain some valuable insight or ideas based on their wedding planning experience.
Take a Break. Bridal shows can be overwhelming, and it is tough to make good decisions when you are exhausted. So, take a moment to sit down (away from all of the vendors) and take it all in.
After the Show –
Take advantage of the bridal show discounts. Numerous vendors will offer a special rate or discount to bridal show participants. If you have a vendor you are interested in working with, ask them if they offer a special incentive for bridal show participants.
Unsubscribe to the vendor e-mail lists that don’t interest you. Don’t waste your time. Unsubscribe from the vendor e-mails that do not interest you.
Best of Luck! And, Happy Planning!
Love and Soul Always, Kay