Hey Lovelies, so we took a little break for the Christmas holidays to spend time with family and now we are back at it! If you got engaged over the holidays, congratulations and welcome to the Bridal Gush community.
With the new year comes a season that many of you are looking forward to and that is Bridal Show season. Many of the bridal shows take place early in the year as many soon to be brides get engaged on over Christmas and like to hit the ground running with wedding planning. Bridal shows are not just a wedding dress fashion show, they are also a great place to meet wedding vendors that you will want to book for your wedding and a place to get new ideas.
But if you do not prepare for a bridal show it can be a little overwhelming and you could end up feeling like it was a big waste of time… trust me girl been there, felt that! So in order to help you lovely ladies that will be embarking on a slew of bridal shows this year, I have put together this Ultimate Guide To Get the Most Out Of Bridal Shows.
What To Do Before The Show:
1. See What Bridal Shows Are In Your Area
To find a local bridal show do a google search for Bridal Shows in your area. Many of the larger shows will have advertisements in other places as well like billboards or in magazines.
2. Find A Show With Vendors You Need
When looking for bridal shows in your area make sure you go on the show’s website and find out what vendors will be there. If you already have some of your vendors booked and looking for a specific type of vendor, make sure that show has that type of vendor. Some bridal shows can be small and only have few vendors, so if the vendors you still need are not there, the show is not worth your time.
If you have just started planning your wedding it could be beneficial to go to multiple bridal shows as different vendors could be at each one. But beware, it can be tempting to want to go to them all as you may feel like you are missing out on something if you don’t go. You do not want to spend all of your weekends at bridal shows. I would suggest going to about 2 shows should be enough to help you find the vendors you need.
3. Do Your Research
Now that you know who will be there, do a little research on them. For examples, if you are looking for photographers, look up the websites or social media pages of photographers listed and see which you like. This will help to narrow down who you spend time talking to at the show.
3. Print Out A Map
For the larger shows, there may be over 100 vendors so trying to get to everyone can be hard if you do not go in with a game plan. The best way to prepare is to print off the map for the event ahead of time. Then mark where the vendors that you really want to see are so that you are sure not to miss them.
4. Always Get Discounted Tickets
Some bridal shows have a fee to get into them, but they usually offer discounts. To get the discount follow their social media pages or check their website. Usually, if you register in advance for the show you can get a discounted price.
5. Make Name and Email Labels
Make some address labels with your name, wedding date, and email. If you do 1 thing from this list make sure it is this. This is a Bridal Show hack that will save you A LOT of time. Each vendor is going to ask you to write this information and after about the 10th one, you will be so over it. If you have these labels you can just peel, stick and keep it moving. You can easily make labels by getting some from your local office supply store and printing them on your home computer or at your local print shop.
While At The Bridal Show You Should:
1. Stick To The Plan
When you get to the bridal show make sure to stick to the plan you made. If you have a group of people with you make sure they know the plan and are helping to get information for you.
2. Bring Snacks and Water
This is a critical thing that most people forget, including me. Bring some snacks and more importantly WATER. Usually, if a bridal show has water or snacks for purchase it is very expensive, so make sure to bring your own. And trust me after you have tried your 5th piece of wedding cake, you will wish you had some water. And this brings me to my next point….
3. Try ALL The Cake
If you are a cake lover or just love sweets then you will love bridal shows. Many bakeries are usually at the bridal show and they usually offer samples. Now, this is not a time for you to pig out on wedding cake, but rather to see what different bakeries have to offer in terms of flavors. By trying them you may find cake flavor you love, but maybe never thought of. When you find something you like, check out that bakeries cake designs and schedule a formal tasting.
4. Dress in Layers
For us Ohioans, January and February bring bitter cold so you may be tempted to dress extremely warm going to the show. However the shows can be large and packed with people, so carrying around a big heavy coat is not ideal. Dress in warm comfortable layers that are easy to carry around or can fit in a shoulder bag.
5. Always Enter the Drawings or Giveaways
Everyone loves getting stuff for free and a bridal show is a great place to win free things like money towards a dress, free dance lessons, or discount with a certain vendor. Some shows do a raffle to win these prizes. Definitely stick around for the raffle results because you might just win. At one bridal show, I won $100 off my wedding flowers, SCORE!
6. Take Advantage of The Bridal Show Discount
Many vendors may offer a discount to you if you sign up for an appointment with them at the bridal show. Always take advantage of these discounts by making the appointment whether the discount is big or small if you think that vendor would be a good fit for your wedding. Every little penny saved when planning a wedding is very important. And if you decide later you don’t want them as a vendor just call or email and cancel the appointment. I signed up with a vendor at a bridal show and got 20% off my wedding invitation order which really helped reduce the cost of my order of 200 invitations!
7. Take Pictures
If you see a dress, table setting, invitation or cake that you like, take a picture of it. Make sure to try and have the vendors name or business card in the picture to help you remember what vendor had that item. This will help you later on when you are trying to decide which vendors you like.
8. If You See Me At A Bridal Show Say Hey!!
And a little shameless plug for myself! If you see my smiling face at a bridal show say Hey Girl! I would love to meet all of you and if you have any questions I am always happy to help. Ok now back to it!
What To Do After The Show:
1. Go Through Everything
You are going to get a TON of papers and promotional items from all the vendors you talked to. While it is all still fresh in your mind, go through everything that night and decide which vendors really interest you. Keeps those vendors information and toss the others.
2. Make An Appointment
Now that you have found the ones you liked, go forward and make an appointment to meet with them to discuss how they can be of service to your wedding.
3. Check Things Off Your List
And for the best part of it all (except for the cake eating of course), once you find and book all of your wedding vendors, check those items off your wedding planning to do list!
So lovely ladies, now that you have this you are all prepared to tackle bridal show season and get all of your wedding vendors booked! If you are going to an upcoming bridal show, let me know which one in the comments below. Who knows I might see you there!
If you are looking for more wedding planning advice check out our guide to what do first when planning your wedding in You’re Engaged, Now What?