28 Jan Bridal Shows – Tips to Enjoy the Experience

Why attend a bridal show?  Because you’re engaged and it’s your time in the spotlight… that’s why! Seriously though, attending a show can save you time and money by allowing you to meet with wedding industry experts, get ideas, and see the latest wedding trends. Here are some tips to help you navigate your bridal show experience, but above all… have fun!

  • Pre-register before the show if possible. Registration only takes a few minutes and will save you from having to fill out a registration form at the show. You may even be able to check out the vendor list and contact one or two vendors for complimentary show tickets. See… you’re already saving money!
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.  The odds are you’ll be on your feet for several hours, and uncomfortable shoes are not the best option. Shows are generally kept at a cooler temperature to account for all the warm bodies, so if you’re cold-natured, bring along a sweater.
  • Avoid bringing small children to the show. They can tire quickly and derail you from your mission of finding vendors and ideas for your wedding.
  • Arrive early. Those that arrive first to the bridal show sometimes receive the coolest prizes.
  • Plan on attending the bridal show for several hours.  This will allow you to visit all the vendors and find everything you need.
  • Don’t wait for the end of the show to pick up the free bridal magazines.  There are usually many more attendees than there are magazines, so don’t get left out!
  • Don’t come alone. Bringing your fiance, mom and friends to the bridal show will help them feel involved and also will give you a chance to bounce ideas back and forth.
  • Prepare some contact labels. Vendors will often have awesome drawings for prizes at their booths. Instead of having to fill out multiple forms with your contact info, prepare some electronic labels before the bridal show.  Information to include: your name, address, phone number, email address, and wedding date. Avery 5160 (30 per page) are easy to complete labels on any word processor. Some shows provide labels for those who pre-register… so ask. That’s more savings for you!
  • When filling out forms make sure to print VERY clearly.  You’d hate to miss out on a spectacular prize because they couldn’t read your handwriting!
  • Bring your date book so you can schedule appointments for follow up.
  • Bring a notebook and pen so you can take notes.  Prepare for information overload.  When you find a vendor you would like to follow up with, take a pen and write what struck you as appealing about them in your notebook or on their card or literature.  When you get home and are faced with brochures from 14 different photographers, your note may be the only thing you have to remember which ones you liked and why.  Also, write down any good tips they may have given you on their literature to help you remember who was knowledgeable and helpful.
  • Bring a digital camera or your smart phone. Taking pictures will allow you to easily remember some of the great things you saw at the show.
  • Visit every vendor regardless of whether you need their services or not. Many vendors can tell you other people they work with and who they recommend. Take the literature or brochure they are handing out. Even if you think you have no use for their services, it’s better to have it in hand in the event you change your mind.
  • Ask lots of questions.  The show is filled with wedding professionals, so take advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as you can.
  • If you already have your gown, skip the fashion show and visit vendor’s booths during that period.  They will be eager to talk with you since most everybody will be watching the fashion show and you will probably receive quality individual time with them.
  • Sign up for all the giveaways. Some vendors give discounts for their services, but more have been giving prizes such as toasting glasses, honeymoon packages and even cash. Just because you already have a photographer doesn’t mean you can’t use what they have chosen to give as a door prize. And yes, you’ll get stuff in the mail, but it’ll be worth it. Many vendors will send you coupons, offers, discounts and just great information that you can use to plan your wedding.
  • Open a temporary P.O. box and/or email address to provide to vendors. If you really don’t want offers and information coming to your home and email addresses, provide these when filling out contest entry forms and inquiry sheets. When the wedding is over you can simply cancel the accounts and avoid any further wedding related information. Reserve your main e-mail address for vendors you actually contract with.
  • Beware of vendors who offer discounts on the day of the show only.  If you don’t have the opportunity to talk with them in depth, how do you know they are right for you?  Vendors really should offer you their “show price” for at least 24 or 48 hours.

  • Watch out for the street vendors… the ones that may approach you, hand you their business card and try to talk to you briefly about their wedding services.  All of these people have skirted the rules and requirements for participating as an official vendor of the show. They are behaving in an unethical manner and you should think long and hard before traveling down that unknown road. In most cases, they may even be unlicensed. The actual vendors at the show are giving you their information at their assigned tables. Anywhere else is not acceptable.
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