Bridal shows can be so overwhelming with hundreds of vendors just waiting for you to visit their booth, offering huge discounts that they will not offer any other time. You may think, “I’m just going to go check it out, walk around a bit,” but that is honestly a complete waste of your time without a game plan. Go through the steps below to take complete advantage of your time in bridal shows and to make your life easier in your wedding planning process.
- This is the most important: DO YOUR RESEARCH. I don’t mean do your research after you attended the bridal show and looked around. No. Do it BEFORE. Take about an hour or so and think about the services you still need for your wedding. You could still need all of them, but write them down. Then, go to the bridal show’s website and look at the vendors who will be attending. Go to each individual vendor’s website for the services you need – and I do mean all of them. This will give you a way to sift through the vendors you don’t want to see and the vendors that pique your interest.
- Create your questions. Now that you have a list of vendors you would like to visit and talk with, create the questions you would like to ask these vendors. This could be anything from the process, timeline, wedding date availability and my personal favorite: “What happens if I book now?” This may seem self-serving, but honestly, it’s not. Vendors usually provide the LOWEST prices of the year at these shows or add services for free or little cost that they normally would never do. Most likely though, these deals end when the bridal show is over. I’m not suggesting making a quick, unresearched and unbacked decision to book on the spot. Visit vendors, see if they fit your personality, style and budget, make sure they resonate with you, and after that, if you like their discount they are providing, book.
- If you aren’t ready to book, that’s completely OK. Don’t sweat it. Take what you are given and research more later.
- COME LATE. If you’re like me, you chronically show up to an event on time, if not early. However, this is a time when I say do the opposite. Yes, some places offer prizes for being one of the first to show up, but do you really need it? If so, please by all means, go grab your free bag, but if not, please go later. And here’s why: Imagine the flood of other couples coming to the show early, and once the doors open, they are all hitting the booths at the same time. Most of the time, there’s only one or two people at the booths trying to manage everyone at the same time. Imagine the amount of personal time you will get with the vendors, and especially those you’ve researched to stop by and ask questions. Hint: it’s not very much. After about two hours, things die down a little bit and the chaos ebbs. This is when you want to show up. As Kathleen Drabeck of A Crystal Clear Sound says, “You can get much more attention later in the day when the crowd has thinned.”
- UNSUBSCRIBE. After the show, you will be put on a list with almost every single vendor there. I can’t even imagine what your inbox looks like after just one show. Don’t feel guilty about hitting that unsubscribe button if the emails don’t resonate with you. Some tips on what you want to look for: they educate you more than they try to sell to you, they were a vendor on your researched final list and/or they were someone you talked to at the show that you’d love to learn more about. Jay Farrell of Jay Farrell Photography says, “If you get a personal email from somebody you aren’t interested in, just simply say it!” The last thing vendors want to do is waste each other’s time.
Speaking of bridal shows, check out the shows I will be making an appearance at this winter/spring:
Southern Kentucky Bridal Show – Bowling Green, KY – Saturday, January 21 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Bridal Fest Wedding Expo – Bowling Green, KY – Sunday, February 19 Noon to 4 p.m.
Bridal Fest Wedding Expo – Lexington, KY – Sunday, March 5 Noon to 4 p.m.
I hope to see you there!
P.S. – If you’re looking for more help in wedding planning, subscribe below and grab a free copy of my workbook on what you need when meeting with your stationer. This workbook also applies to most vendors and will help guide you on picking your theme, wedding details and guests. If you want to schedule a complimentary consultation, pick a time that works with you!