Wedding expos are a great way to get face to face contact with some of your potential wedding experts! You can meet lots of vendors that you still need to find for you big day, and enter giveaways! That being said, they can also be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time going to one, or if you’re newly engaged. Not to worry though! Here’s some of our advice for navigating a Bridal Show with success!
Before The Show
Make a list of vendors that you still need, along with the ideal budgets for each. This will not only save you time while you’re there, but will also help keep you streamlined and focused on your priorities.
Limit how many people you invite. While we would all love to invite our entire family and bridal party, a bridal show might not be the right time to do it. Chances are, it will be a crowded environment, with lots of noise and limited space. Enjoy the time that’s focused on you and your fiancé by just inviting a handful of people. This could look like your fiancé, mother, and maid of honor; your fiancé, mother, and future mother-in-law; your maid of honor, and small bridal party; etc. the possibilities are endless, however keep in mind that it might not be the best place for your wedding party to get to know each other.
Consider creating a specific email just for planning your wedding! This will help keep your personal inbox from getting bogged down with emails.
Create info labels for giveaways! We’ve seen brides do this, and it’s genius! Be sure to include your first and last name, phone number, email address, and wedding date.
At The Show
Go snackish! While there usually aren’t enough appetizers and samples to fill you up, you can certain go snackish and prepare yourself for all the deliciousness that will be served on your wedding day!
Bring a tote bag! You’ll need a place to store all of the free goodies, business cards, and brochures in! Bonus points if you bring a coupon book with pre-marked slots for “Yes,” “Maybe,” and “I was pressured to take this card but I’m not a fan,” slots. Amazon has some great ones that will even fit standard size brochures (about 8.5×3.75”) to help keep you extra organized!
Visit only the vendors that are on your list of ones you need to find. This not only saves you time, but also keeps you from going over budget.
Circle back around! If there were any wedding professionals in particular who stuck out to you, circle back around and snap a picture of their booth (and business card if no sign is displayed). This makes it much easier to remember who you liked after the fact.
This tip is a little controversial, however I advise against booking any wedding professionals at the show. Expos are notoriously overwhelming, and many vendors will pressure attendees to book ASAP with them. If you know with 100% certainty that you love a particular wedding pro, and they have to be a part of your wedding; go for it! However for people who have a more direct influence on your day (and how you’ll feel on your day), such as a wedding planner, DJ, photographer, etc, I recommend setting up a time to meet in the weeks following the show. In my opinion, getting a discount for booking at the show isn’t worth the headaches that come with selecting a vendor that isn’t a great fit for you and your fiancé.
Take breaks and step outside as needed! Wedding expos can be overwhelming. If you feel like you’re starting to get overwhelmed, take a breather, and come back in a few minutes.
After The Show
Once the show is over, make some time to go over your thoughts with your fiancé while it’s still fresh in your mind. If possible, make a full day out of everything! Have a great time and collect inspiration at the bridal show, and then treat yourselves out to a nice dinner while you review notes. This is all about you and your fiancé after all! Set aside some time to go over your thoughts with each other.
Check your email regularly- you may just win a few giveaways!
Choose which wedding pros you loved and set up a time to chat or meet up with them! Many people will offer a special for a certain timeframe after a bridal show, so if possible, try to take advantage of this.
Before any meetings or phone calls with potential vendors (or as one of our incredible brides said, “preferred party people!”), do a little research and jot down any questions you have for them. Questions are essential to making sure that they’re not only a good fit for your big day, but also to make sure that you’re all on the same page! If you’re looking for a DJ, perhaps ask how they hype up the reception and get people out on the dance floor. If you’re looking for a wedding coordinator, consider asking what their experience is with resolving hiccups on the day of. You’re interviewing the wedding pros; allow yourself to ask as many questions as needed to make sure you’re a great fit.
Planning your wedding doesn’t need to be full of stress; see it as a time to really connect and bond with not only your fiancé, but your future family-in-law. Bridal shows are a fantastic way to gather inspo and meet people you may not have come across before, but keep in mind the overall theme of it; you’re getting married to your best friend in the entire world! Your wedding day is simply day one. Enjoy the time planning the first day of the rest of your lives together, but remember that at the end of the day, you’re getting married to the love of your life, and that’s what really matters.
Let me know what some of your favorite tips and tricks for attending bridal shows are! I’d love to hear!