Welcome to another Wedding Wednesday! It's quickly become my favorite day of the week! I absolutely LOVE going back through my wedding planning materials and reliving it all!
Today I want to go over my advice for surviving a wedding expo. Bridal show, wedding showcase, bridal expo, wedding expo, whatever it's called, it can be extremely overwhelming. Depending on the size of the show, you could be faced with anywhere from 20 to 200 vendors! And all of them want your business.
So without further ado, here's my advice for how to make the most of your bridal show experience!
Go to several and go early!
I went to 3 different bridal shows way before my wedding date. You want to go pretty much as early as you can. Even if you're on the verge of engaged and there's a show coming up, go to it! I went to the 2nd Forever Yours Dream Wedding Showcase on February 21, 2010, the Richmond Bridal Showcase on January 9, 2011 and the Richmond Wedding Expo on June 26, 2011. We didn't get married until March 24, 2012! Each time it was just my mom and I that went. Bringing more than 1-2 other people can just get crazy. Bringing your fiance is not required and he will probably thank you for not dragging him along. If he wants to be involved, by all means, he can come! But honestly, it's more of a bride/girl thing and chances are he won't have much fun.
Also, "go early" means to get to the show early. If it's on from 12pn-4pm, don't wait until 2pm! You want to get there early so you have enough time to go through the booths at least once, preferably twice. It's a lot to take in, a lot to see, do and there are tons of vendors to talk to. Plus, many expos will have exhibitions going on throughout the day. It could be a runway show of bridal party attire, wedding dresses, photographer slideshows or even a DJ or band performing. Check the schedule on the expo's website ahead of time to get an idea of who and what you want to be sure to see!
Don't assume you'll remember the company name or website. Even if they're out of business cards, write. it. down. Even if it's a service you're not sure you'll use (like a limo company or a wedding planner), err on the side of caution and take the info. Later on you can filter through and decide what you'll need and what you won't.
Take your time
Like I said before, give yourself plenty of time to visit every booth. You don't want to miss anything. Go early and plan to stay for a few hours. It can be exhausting but you want to be thorough. Plus, if the door prizes are must-be-present-to-win, you don't want to miss out!
Bring your planner, a pen or pencil, a tote bag and a water bottle. Sometimes vendors or the show will have these things for attendants but don't count on it. Be ready to write your name, fiance's name, phone number and e-mail address about a hundred times. Oh and don't eat a big meal before going, but do eat something. Very often, caterers and bakers will have samples available to try so you don't want to be too full to try them! And don't stress about your "wedding diet," just eat the tiny square of cake and be happy.
Enter any and all giveaways
Unless the prize is something you know you'd never use or couldn't give to a friend, enter them all! The show will most likely be hosting some giveaways/door prizes as well as many of the vendors. Vendors will also do their own giveaways. Some will have raffles, some will have spinner wheels and some will just be offering discounts for anyone who books with them at the show. Think carefully before signing up for those, though. You don't want to get stuck with a vendor you're not sure about.
When you get home from the show, kick back and take a breather. Then, get yourself organized. If you haven't already, get a 3 ring binder and sort all of your goodies. Creating a wedding organizer will be a whole separate post but it's something you should definitely do! Sort your brochures, pamphlets, business cards and price lists by category and make an initial "toss" pile. Again, there will probably be some info you take from vendors you really don't think you'll use so feel free to toss them. If there's a photographer you liked but is waaay out of your budget, toss it. There's no need to bum yourself out over something you can't have.
If you've already established a wedding budget, factor in the bridal shows. It counts.
Last but not least, as always, enjoy it! Breathe, smile, eat, laugh. Meet other brides, meet vendors, don't stress.
And there you have it, my advice for making the most of wedding expos! If you are in the Virginia/D.C./Maryland area, then keep an eye out for expos all the time. Richmond and D.C. have multiple shows each year and they are top notch! To find wedding expos near you, simply Google it. Don't exclude nearby large cities, that's probably where most will be held.
Have you been to a wedding expo yet? If you have, what was your favorite part about it?
Till next time,
If you liked this post, be sure to check out the other editions of Wedding Wednesday!
- Getting Started on Wedding Planning
- My Tips for Less Stressful Wedding Planning
- Choosing a Photographer
- How to Survive a Wedding Expo
- Mirror, Mirror - Why Big Mirrors Are a Must!