The Bridal Show

Attending a bridal show can be most helpful in planning your wedding.  They are exciting, festive and full of terrific ideas.  You will be able to meet and ask questions from many wedding professionals all under one roof.  You will want to gather information, compare prices and services, register for prizes, see the latest fashions, get great new ideas and just have fun.


Where else but at a bridal show can you preview ceremony and reception locations, peruse photographers’ portfolios, see and hear entertainers and see if your personalities click with a Minister and their ceremony?  


Here are some tips that will help you get the most from your bridal show experience.


Pre-register before the show.  Some shows offer a discount toward the purchase of your ticket.  It saves you time at check-in, and a few bucks. 


Make a checklist of required services, accessories, the most important elements needed to complete your wedding plans and design questions that will streamline your efforts and help speed things along.  Plan to spend a minimum of 4 or 5 hours in order to see all the exhibits.  Plan a “rest break” about every hour.  Bring some cash for parking. 


If the bridal show has a wedding fashion show, check the times of the shows when you arrive, so you don’t miss out.  Seating is often first come, first serve.


Bring a list of questions to ask.  Ask the hard questions.  The vendors want to help you.  Don’t be shy.  You will know right away if they are someone you would want to work with.


Vendors will talk to you about their products and services in as much detail as you want.  If you find a vendor that you like, set up an appointment and meet with them later.  


Walk up one aisle on one side and check out the vendors, then walk down the other side of the same aisle to make sure you do not miss anyone.  You may miss the very wedding service you were looking for if you try to wander from side-to-side down the same aisle.


Keep your eyes open for ideas to incorporate into your own wedding, such as a type of flower arrangements, color combinations (in photographers’ sample albums, for example), and favors. 


Bring a camera.  Snap a photo of the Minister you spoke to, a cake that looked especially delicious or take a picture of an exhibit that you want to remember.  Use these photos to jog your memory about something that grabbed your attention.


Bring your fiancé with you for at least one trip to the event; do your best to stay together or at least, have cell phones handy so you can arrange to meet at a booth where the vendor is especially of interest.  


If you click with a vendor, put their information in a special bag, not with all the other stuff you collect.  Leave your purse at home in favor of a lightweight carrying bag. 


Make notes on business cards, the brochure or flyer for easy reference later.  Bring a red pen and indicate your level of interest, e.g., Call this one!  


Bring a small notebook and pen.  You never know what tips or ideas you’ll discover. 


Bring your Blackberry or personal planner so you will have your bridal shower, rehearsal, wedding and other important dates handy.  It can also be helpful if you choose to make an appointment with one of the vendors.  Ask about availability if you are interested.


Some vendors offer drawings for prizes.  Prevent writer’s cramp!  Bring address labels to save time in filling out registration blanks.


It is helpful to include your name, the grooms name, complete address, your wedding date and location, phone numbers and e-mail address.  If you don’t bring labels, print very clearly when registering for anything.


Don’t register for everything!  You don’t have to give your contact information out to everyone – provide it only to those vendors that interest you.


Most shows offer a Bride and Groom sticker when you register.  Wear it!  If the vendor knows you are the bride or groom they are more likely to give you that little bit of extra attention.


Material swatches and ribbons that suggest the colors of your wedding are helpful when speaking with florists, bakers, balloonists, gown shops and other professionals. 


Bring your credit card – not your checkbook.  You will often find discounts that are available only at the show.  A word of caution. . . although most vendors are reputable, if a wedding vendor goes out of business before your wedding you can usually get your money back if you use a credit card but you will be out of luck if you pay by check.   


People often walk fast past booths because they fear the vendor will pounce or be overly aggressive.  Some are.  If a vendor tries to “pressure” you into booking their services or placing a deposit with them “right now,” keep walking! 


Ask for referrals from vendors you’ve booked.  They may have worked with others at previous weddings and can make a valuable referral.  Wedding venues often have “preferred vendor” lists available upon request.


You should always feel comfortable with a vendor’s attitude toward your event.  Personality and communication play an important role as well.  Chat with the vendor to see if you feel comfortable with their personality, and if they will be easy to work with.  Notice which vendors “listen” to your needs and ask what “you” want.


Leave the children at home!  Hire a baby sitter.  You will be glad you did.  


Bring bottled water and a few snacks so you don’t spend most of your time in line at the concession stand.  This will give your tummy room to enjoy the cake tasting and other catered food samples.  


Wedding shows are not supposed to be stressful or overwhelming.  Taking your time to view each exhibit will help reduce the stress. Remember wedding planning is preferably done over time, not in one day.


Many of the exhibitors book up rather quickly on choice wedding dates.  There is usually a rush of appointments and their calendars fill quickly immediately after a show.  Act quickly.  Don’t procrastinate or you may end up with your second or third choices.


Remember, you cannot have a wedding without a ceremony!  Lots of couples wait until the last minute to book the minister.  First, choose your wedding date, second, book the wedding venue, and third, book the minister.  Those of us who are busy performing ceremonies often book wedding dates as much as 6 to 9 months in advance.


Dress casual and wear comfortable shoes.  Leave your heels at home.  You will be doing a lot of walking.  Be prepared for sore feet.


Grooms take note!  You may want to make arrangements for a foot massage for your future bride or arrange a visit to the hot tub when the day is through.


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One Response to “The Bridal Show”

  1. Letetia Says:

    Very concise, accurate and informative. Bookmarked!

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