If you’re newly engaged or starting to plan your wedding, bridal shows provide a great opportunity to visit many vendors all at once. You can get ideas for your weddings and find vendors to help you fulfill your vision. I’ve attended a few and found them to be very valuable experiences but they can be pretty overwhelming. I’ve compiled a list of tips to ensure you make the most of your time there!
1. Prepare a list
It’s incredibly helpful to have a list of types of vendors you’re searching for, for your wedding, for example, wedding venue, photographers, DJ etc. Don’t get me wrong, you can certainly visit all the booths but I find that if you have limited time, it’s important to focus on your goal of attending the bridal show. Make sure the person or people coming with you, know the types of vendors you’re looking for that day.
2. Pack light
You’ll want to take home brochures, business cards, and booklets from the various vendors. In addition, you may receive a few magazines too and after a while, they start to feel heavy as you continue walking around the bridal show. There will usually be a few vendors who will give you a tote bag as their gifts bags which you can use to store all your goodies. I found that a stylish backpack was the ideal accessory as it kept my hands free and didn’t hurt my shoulders as a purse did.
3. Bring a water bottle
You’ll be sampling many snacks including candy, cakes, ice cream and cupcakes. There are vendors who aren’t food-related such as limo companies, who will also have a bowl of candy or chocolate. So you’ll be glad you packed a water bottle to cleanse your palate.
4. Wear comfort shoes
There are few places to sit since you’re spending most of your time walking around. Booths won’t have seats unless they are providing a hair or makeup trial or you’re trying on gowns. Most people stay for a few hours due to the volume of vendors which means a lot of walking and standing. So, your feet will thank you if you’re wearing comfortable shoes as you’re carrying around your bag of goodies.
5. Remember your favourite vendors
Make note of your favourite vendors or remember their company names to contact them within a few days of the show. For some vendors, you could book appointments with that day such as for wedding dress shopping or to build your registry. You also want to pay attention to any promotions they have. Many vendors offer discounts for being at the show. One of the biggest benefits of meeting vendors at a show is that you can already start to build a rapport with them and determine if they’ll be a good fit for you and your partner to work with. I hired my photographers after meeting them at a bridal show!
6. Bring a few people
You want to bring people who understand your vision for your wedding and will assist you in vetting vendors. I’ve attended shows with different people each other but have only brought one person per time. Personally, I think it is more manageable to only bring a couple of people as you guys can easily stay together or split up and find each other later on. As well, you won’t get overwhelmed by many different family members or friends calling for your attention.
7. Don’t give out your email to everyone
I’ve learned this the hard way. The first bridal show I attended, I signed up for emails and contest draws for 90% of the vendors. As a result, I received a TON of emails in the week after the show as well as promotion emails from time to time. As a result, I had to unsubscribe to many of them. Needless to say, only provide your email to vendors you’re truly interested in and don’t feel obligated to sign up for anything you don’t want to.
8. Lastly, enjoy yourself!
You’ll definitely receive free swag. I’ve received lip balm, gift certificates, coupons, small bags of candy and photos from photo booths. As well, I’ve received a hair trial as a vendor promoted their straightener and curler. Plus you can attend a fashion show to see wedding dresses, tuxedos and evening gowns. It’s a fun experience that’s a part of the wedding planning process.
Be sure to check out my other wedding-themed posts including wedding venues Part 1 and 70 questions to determine your wedding venue. Be sure to check back for more wedding-themed posts in the next few weeks.