Well, it’s that time of the season yet again. With so many engagements taking place over the holidays the months of January – March are prime Bridal Show season! Yes, there are shows throughout the year but you will find the majority of shows and biggest at this time of year. If you have never attended a bridal show it can be a bit overwhelming. Even intimidating and frustrating. It doesn’t have to be that way. Having participated as a vendor in wedding shows for over 30 years I have some insight to share. So here is a list of some things to plan for and prepare to maximize your wedding show experience…….
- 1-2-3 approach. What I mean by this is to make 3 complete passes around the show floor. 1st pass should just be a quick walk around. Keep your eyes open and take it all in. 2nd pass, pick up literature and have quick casual conversations with vendors. Fill that bag right up to capacity! Make notes of the vendors that impress you. Finally, on the 3rd pass stop at the key vendor booth that you really were impressed by. Now is the time for quality conversations and engagement. Connect and set up after-show appointments. You will find that the experience is much less overwhelming on your 3rd pass because you are familiar with the room layout. A good pair of comfy shoes also helps a lot!
- Create several sheets of stickers with your name, address, phone and e-mail. Many vendors run drawings for prizes and this will save you the hassle of re-filling out sheets time after time. Remember, the vendors are there to meet you! Don’t be surprised that they want to talk with you. Be even less surprised that they will most likely contact you after the show.
- Which leads me to the next point. Create a special wedding email just for your wedding information and vendor interaction. example… JaneandBillWedding2020@example.com.This will keep your wedding organized and tons of junk email out of your primary.
- Hand sanitizer. LOTS of It!
- Don’t fall for deals that seem too good to be true. Cheap is the wrong reason to hire a professional! Its great to get a deal at a bridal show but if a deal is just so over the top that you can’t believe it the best course of action is to avoid it.
- Bring your fiancé. A show is always more enjoyable and productive when you can function as a team unit! Make this quality time together and just have fun!
- It’s ok to book a vendor at the show! If you make a great connection, the fee for service is reasonable and they have your date available what is the point of waiting? You may lose them. But only if you have absolutely no doubt that this is the pro for you to make your wedding exactly how you envision it.
- Try to avoid the HUGE expos and attend a few boutique bridal shows. A boutique style show usually has 20-40 vendors. Is at a hotel or wedding venue or small layout. A Expo can be at a convention style hall and feature over 100+ vendors. You walk in and instantly your head starts spinning. You may even leave early without seeing the whole show because its just too much.
- Bring a carry bag. Many shows offer bags but don’t chance it. And fill that bag with as much material as possible.
- Last but not least. When you get home, put the bag away for 2 days. Catch your breath but do NOT throw the bag in the closet and forget about it. After a few days when the dust settles go through the materials and make a pile of the best vendors you were impressed with. Do followup by going to their websites. The website should be as quality as the first impression. Remember that a web site says everything about a vendor. After looking through materials, viewing the website make a final contact list and CONTACT people. Average time to reserve a wedding vendor in advance is between 6-18 months before your big day.
Hope this list makes your bridal show experience productive and pleasurable! Our company Music In Motion Entertainment has been participating in bridal shows for 30 years in the Connecticut / Southern New England market. It’s a great way to meet the perfect couple to work for. Happy wedding planning and congratulations if you just recently became engaged!