How to maximize bridal shows
So you and your beloved are engaged! That is lovely news and we congratulate you!!
"Have you set a date yet?" "Where are you getting married?" "Will I be invited?"
You've probably been asked these questions many times already...or others like them. Planning for your special day, your "dream" wedding, can be overwhelming, even if you've been secretly stashing away magazine clippings and have that hidden board on Pinterest. Well, time to bring out those clippings and unhide that Pinterest board and start planning for real!
Bridal shows (or "expos") are a terrific way to scope out all the talented wedding vendors in your area (including Paper & Pearl if you happen to be in Rhode Island!). The shows should be easy to find through searches on all the social media sites and through Google.
Our experience with bridal shows has been the following:
~There are many shows -- generally between January and March
~Some shows charge admission and some are free
~The location of the shows are often at venues where you might want to consider for your reception
~The number of vendors and their services is very comprehensive
~There's always a fashion show, great music and lots of delicious food to sample
Overwhelming? Yes, they can be...but we have a few tips to help you survive the shows, either with your beloved, your Mom, or your bridal party!
Plan: Wedding planning lists are everywhere -- you can search and print various list and try to organize them in a binder, or we recommend The Wedding Book by Lucy Sui. The planner is the perfect size and is organized to make your planning so much easier...you're not likely to forget a single thing!
Review: Check out the show's website for the list of exhibitors. This allows you to do some background work on the photographers you like, the florists who did your best friends beautiful arrangements or that makeup artist who is all the rage on Facebook!
Map it: If the show is at a large convention center, we recommend mapping out your plan in advance (maps should be available through the show's website). That is not to say you shouldn't walk the aisles and see everyone who is dying to meet you, this idea just let's you keep an eye out for those vendors you don't want to miss. If the show venue is small enough, do visit all the booths...you never know who will meet!
Be organized: One of the best tips we've seen from couples at the shows we've attended are those that come ready with pre-addressed labels for the many door prizes, raffles, and mailing list opportunities throughout the show! Rather than writing out your information dozens of times, bring sheets of labels that contain your vital information such as: Your names, wedding date, and email address. Emails from vendors are easier to sort through than lots of phone calls, so leave your phone number off.
Follow Up: After the show, reach out to those vendors you liked and really start planning. We recommend setting up personal consultation appointments where you can meet for larger chunks of time one-to-one. You'll receive the time and attention you need at those appointments for all the questions you'll have.
More to follow on how structure those post-bridal show follow up consultations in a future blog. For now, be prepared, but most importantly, relax and have fun at the shows -- get your picture taken at a vendor's photo booth for a keepsake!
All the best!