Bridal Show season is in full force! If you are planning your wedding, bridal shows can be an excellent resource for ideas, vendor shopping and cake tastings!
If you are planning to attend a bridal show, set up a bridal show strategy beforehand. Knowing what you need to accomplish before, during and after the bridal show will help you to optimize your valuable wedding planning time.
Prior to the Bridal Show –
Research the Bridal Show. Check out the bridal show’s web site. While you are on the site, check out the show’s list of the exhibitors. Will the bridal show highlight the type of professional wedding vendors that you are interested in hiring? If the answer is no, save your time for another bridal show.
Pre-Register. Sometimes, bridal shows have long lines of brides purchasing tickets on-site. You can avoid those long lines by pre-registering. Before you actually register, Google the bridal show – you may find links to free show tickets on the blog or web site of some of the bridal show exhibitors.
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 wedding vendors you would like to see, your wedding 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 e-mail messages from the show’s wedding vendors. To avoid overloading your personal in-box, consider creating an e-mail address specifically for your wedding e-mails and use that for all of your wedding planning correspondence. After your wedding is over, you can delete your wedding e-mail account.
Bring Contact Labels. Most bridal show vendors will ask you to complete their contact sheet. Instead of risking a “writer’s cramp” in your hand, consider printing labels with your name, your wedding date and your e-mail address. Then you can just give out a label upon request.
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!
Bring a Camera. Some vendors will allow you to take pictures of their table designs for future reference.
At the Show –
Bring a Partner. If the bridal show is large, consider bringing a bridesmaid or your mom with you. Then you can split up the duties. Plus, your partner’s input will be extremely helpful when you are going through all of the brochures and literature.
Take Time to Ask Questions. Ask a few questions about their company. 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 Brides. Take an opportunity to chat with other brides 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 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 the bridal show participants. If you have a vendor that you would like to work with on your wedding, ask them if they offer a special rate for bridal show participants.
Un-subscribe to the vendor e-mail lists that don’t interest you. Don’t waste your time receiving e-mail messages from vendors that do not interest you.