Bridal Show Survival Guide

Thursday, March 14, 2013
I recently attended a bridal show as a soon-to-be-bride and not a vendor. Attending a bridal show can be fun, exciting, and an exercise in sensory overload.  Bridal shows and expos are a great place to go for ideas and even discounts!  Should you decide to attend (one or even a few), be prepared before you go so you get the most out of your experience? Here are some of my Do’s and Don’ts when trying to survive a bridal show!

DO…

Purchase your tickets online – most bridal shows charge extra at the door so why not save $5 -$10 and pre-purchase your ticket.

Wear comfortable shoes – bridal shows and expos are marathons, not races. You will do a lot of walking and standing as you navigate the isles of vendors.
  So take care of your feet!

Set-up a wedding only email account – the number one information request from vendors is phone and email address. I set-up a wedding specific email account, just for vendors. This prevents my personal email from being bombarded with clutter or spam.

Pre-print address labels with contact information – to expedite your time and to minimize hand cramp print out 1-2 sheets of address labels with your name, address, email and wedding date (if you have one). That way you don’t have to keep filling out forms, you don’t have to worry about people reading your handwriting, and you can provide the information vendors are asking for.

Make a list of needs– figure out beforehand what items you need or are interested in so you can stop by those particular vendors.

Keep contact information for priority vendors – you are going to receive bags, and bags, of swag and hundreds of business cards. For vendors I wanted to actually call or follow-up with I put their information in my mini accordion folder. You can use ziplock bags,
 purse pockets or whatever but it makes it much easier to keep track of the vendors you actually like if you separate them from the pile as you go.

Hydrate and snack- water is your friend. You are going to be moving and shaking so be sure to keep food on hand. You can only eat so much cake before you start feeling the sugar rush so some additional snacks will help.

DON’T…

Start at the entrance – the front door is a high traffic area and gets backed up very easily. Start at the back of the expo and work your way to the front. Ease your way into the chaos. That way you see the highly visible vendors on your way out.

Bring your entire bridal party – this is a fun event sure but do you really need all of your brides maids. It is great to have extra hands but keep your entourage small. It makes it easier to stay together, they can hand out labels on your behalf and you can cover more ground.
  But the larger the party the more difficult it can be and the more opinions you have to hear.

Rush –you need to take your time, this is a marathon not a race (remember).
  Bridal shows are not for the overscheduled and they do take time. You want to make sure you talk to vendors and see their products.

Forget your camera - You’ll see tons of designs and details that will help you finalize your wedding plans. Some vendors do displays, table settings, and more. Having your camera or camera phone is a great way to document ideas you like and gives you images to add to your inspiration board or wedding notebooks.

Succumb to sales pressures and gimmicks – you are going to be attacked by sales people attempting to get you to commit to booking appointments, call backs, and so much more. You can and should say NO.
  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is so just learn so you can make informed decisions later. You don’t have to commit to anything just yet.

Bring your groom – I fully support groom involvement in planning but bridal shows are a mad house with limited seating.
  They tend to be on weekends and are full of anxious, emotionally heightened women.  Free cake tasting will only keep his attention so long.  You don’t want to scare your spouse before you really get to plan. I would recommend leaving him at home (unless he volunteers to attend) and bringing him to a smaller show once you know what you are getting into.  

Panic – know your exits, find your happy place and don’t let the constant bombardment of questions and information make you anxious or concerned about your wedding planning. Bridal shows are designed to showcase a large amount of vendors but they can incite panic in brides that may already be dazed and confused.  Remember to breathe and if it is too much for you just take a walk outside (reentry is often allowed).
Attending a bridal show and expo is a smart way to explore the latest styles and trends for wedding décor, fashion, favors, food, photography and more!  Have fun and good luck!

Bridal Show Gift Bag Contents

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