I attended my first ever bridal show this past weekend. Despite having many of my vendors booked, I really wanted to attend a show just to check it off my wedding bucket list. It can be a very overwhelming experience so I figured I would pass along some tips that I discovered. If you are just starting to plan your wedding, I highly recommend checking out a show as it’s a great way to meet a variety of vendors in one setting.
BEFORE YOU GO…
- Pre-register for the show online if it is an option! It saves time when you arrive. The show I attended was cash-only but if there’s an option to pre-pay online, I would also recommend doing so.
- Check out the list of vendors & make a list of those that you want to meet with. I already had a lot of my main vendors booked so I had a short list to visit! If you’re in the early stages of planning, keep an open mind and shop around.
- Print mini labels with your name, address, and phone number. Most vendors have prize giveaways and this will save you from having to write out your info each time!
- Take a buddy! At this show, the bride and groom could enter the prize draws, but friends and family could not. Therefore you could double your chances by taking your significant other! I took a group of friends with me but if they are already married or not planning a wedding, it may not be very exciting for them.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE…
- The show that I attended was giving away bridal bags to the first 200 brides. I opted not to arrive when the doors opened at 11am because quite frankly, I didn’t care if I got a bag or not. I arrived at 1pm and actually snagged the last bag! It contained a gym bag, some chocolates, pens, and a bridal magazine.
- Try not to get overwhelmed! When I first walked into the room, I was immediately overwhelmed with vendors vying for my attention. If there was a booth that I definitely wasn’t interested in (for example, I already had my photographer booked so I skipped those booths), I tended to avoid eye contact and kept walking!
- That being said, most vendors had prize giveaways which often required making small conversation. If I wasn’t interested in the prize, I kept going! But I would talk to anyone if it meant getting the opportunity to win a great prize.
- Be prepared to answer the following: who’s the bride? When is your wedding? Where are you getting married? Do you have your [vendor] booked?
- Try samples! Cake vendors often provide sample mini cupcakes and one of the catering companies was sharing samples of mashed potatoes & gravy! I was too stuffed from breakfast to try anything so learn from my mistake and leave a little room for snacking.
- Introduce yourself and take the time to chat with any vendors you are interested in. I was able to speak to the bridal salon that I loved, a florist, and a DJ, as those were three vendors that I hadn’t booked yet. I bypassed the decorators (but oogled their set ups for ideas!), the venues, and the photographers as I already had those booked.
- Be prepared to book your vendors on the spot or within a few days! The vendors tend to have promotions on for the bridal shows. I was able to book my florist and save the tax! Many other vendors offered $50-$200 off their packages or products if you booked at the show (also another reason to bring your significant other).
- Head to the fashion show early! We waited until about 5 minutes before the show started and unfortunately, we didn’t have prime viewing. I do recommend the fashion show if you haven’t purchased your wedding dress or bridesmaid dresses. It was so nice to see the dresses in motion as it definitely gives a different perspective than seeing them on a mannequin!
- The bridal show that I attended offered a $1000 cash prize draw to one lucky bride! The only catch: you still had to be in attendance when it was drawn. This is why I opted to arrive late rather than early. They actually had to call three names before they found a bride that was still there.
AFTER YOU LEAVE…
- I’m not an impulsive shopper so I didn’t book any vendors at the show. I went home, discussed what I liked with my fiancé, then contacted the vendors that I was interested in booking. They still honored the discount when I told them we were speaking at the bridal show.
Have you ever attended a bridal show? Do you have any other tips for future brides?