Maybe you were that little girl, who planned out her wedding in perfect detail by the age of ten, or maybe you’re that adult—the one with multiple Pinterest boards dedicated to wedding planning, or maybe you don’t really have a plan at all. Too many brides spend more time being stressed and overwhelmed with planning, perfecting and Pinteresting instead of feeling happy and excited.
A great way for you to collect ideas, get in touch with vendors, caterer and DJ’s all in one swoop is by attending a bridal trade show or two.
You don’t have to necessarily attend for the purpose of buying things or committing to anything, you can simply use the show as a way to form a vision of what you want, taste some cakes and get some cool design ideas.
How Can You Approach The Show?
Regardless of your reason for attending the bridal show you can benefit from setting up an email account before going. This account will house your contacts, store emails from people and vendors you met and keep your regular email clutter free.
You will also want to check out parking before you head down to the venue so you can avoid paying inflated fees or not finding any parking at all.
Next you’ll want to make a list. What are you looking for specifically—ideas, flowers, music, cake? If you have a list you can make sure you visit booths with all of these items and gather business cards, take pictures and make notes of things you liked.
Take it all in
As you work your way through the room, weigh competitors displays and products, and if you’re looking for a service pay attention to the person behind the booth as well. A photographer that takes beautiful photos but can’t be bothered to ask you important questions like, ‘what’s your vision’ or ‘what do you want to avoid’ may not be the best fit for your wedding. It’s important to find people who are not only willing to listen to you but want to listen to you.
Many of the people you meet will want your contact information—feel free to give them your email address for the account you set up specifically for wedding things and make sure to grab business cards and brochures from people or services you were particularly interested in.
If you have already done some planning and know what color your dress or your bridesmaid dresses will be try to bring a swatch of that cloth with you so you can check out possible pairings, hold it against decoration and show to planners. You’ll also want to grab your bridesmaids, mom or some friends to help you make decisions and to bounce ideas off of.
Wear comfy shoes and casual attire. You’ll want to take your time and avoid feeling rushed so try to fit in a fair on your day off.
Bring a bag or a backpack with you. Some shows will provide you with a bag, but many do not and you’ll want something to put all the information you gather in so you don’t lose anything. You’ll also want to come hungry so you can try cake samples and small bites caterers are offering. If you try something you really like make sure you get that companies business card. It helps if you have an idea of the kinds of foods or cuisine you’d like to have at your wedding so you don’t end up with hodge-podge of flavors that don’t really work together.
Take Advantage Of Discounts & Giveaways
When you’re talking to vendors ask them if they’re offering any deals for brides who book at the show. Don’t let a good deal woo you into committing to something you don’t love, but make sure you’re aware of all your options. Often vendors will offer special deals just for attendees.
You may be able to get some extra savings depending on what day you plan on holding your wedding. Brides who have weddings on non-traditional days like weekdays are often able to get discounts.
Finally, take the time to sign up for giveaways being offered at the show. Many will offer an all-expenses paid honeymoon, a nice dinner or gifts to select winners and there’s a chance that could be you.
The last thing to remember—an expo is a great place to find ideas of things you can make and do on your own instead of paying for. Look for decorations and designs that catch your eye and chat with your friends to see if it’s something you can make at home. It can be fun to get all your bridesmaids together for a ‘craft night’ to make wedding decorations.