Making the Most of Bridal Shows

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming at times.  Walking in to a large conference center full of bridal vendors can be equally overwhelming but don’t let that stop you!  Bridal shows are a valuable planning tool if you approach them in the right way.  Here are a few tips for making the most of your bridal show experience.

1.  Have a plan.

Every bridal vendor under the sun (and also ancillary vendors) will be in attendance.  Going in to the room and talking to everyone and signing up for everything will only lead to a VERY long day for you and confusion when you get home from the show.  You will end up with a bag full of pamphlets and a jumble of conversations to try to remember who was who.  Plan your attack.  If your bridal registry is complete, skip the cooking equipment vendors and gift shop tables.  Already found your dress, don’t oogle over the latest dress fashions in the booths–you don’t want to risk buyers remorse.  Focus your attention on 3 or 4 key vendor types that you still need.  Search them out and learn more about them.

2.  Know your budget.

Many vendors will have show specials.  Book today and save $100!  It’s great to save money on your wedding, but don’t fall in to the trap of booking just to get a deal when their packages may still be out of your price range.  Choosing a vendor based on price alone is another pitfall to avoid.  Be sure your vendors are going to work well with your personality, make sure they understand the style and feel of your wedding plans, and be sure they will be a good fit.  Some vendors you will end up working with for several months.  Be sure you feel comfortable with the ones you choose.

3.  Make connections…and THEN custom appointments.

Meeting bridal vendors face-to-face is a must in my book.  It’s the only way to know if you will be a good fit to work together on one of the most important days of your life!  Chat up the vendors you are interested in and learn more about them but keep it semi-brief.  A bridal show is a chance to meet vendors, find out if they have your date open, what are their general offerings and price ranges.  It is not, however, the place for a custom consultation.  If your general conversation has gone well, ask the vendor if you can get together later in the week to discuss your day in more detail.  It will let you connect more without the noise and distractions of the busy show going on.  Bring your calendar along.  Most vendors will be ready with their planners so you can make an appointment right on the spot.

*Here are some tips on what to ask your top photographers at those follow-up meetings*

4.  Have fun!

Above all, enjoy the day with your fiance, your mother-in-law, your bridesmaids, or whoever you brought along.  Take silly photos in one of the photo booths, sample the delicious food, enjoy the music, and take in the fun and excitement that also comes with planning a wedding:)

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