Photo by: J.Anne Photography
Buy your tickets ahead of time to save a few bucks and avoid long lines at check in.
Be prepared for crowds
Remember that its not just brides at bridal shows. Its their fiancé’s, mothers, sisters, friends, etc. If you get anxious around crowds this may not be the place for you. Newly engaged couples are usually super excited to get their whole entourage involved in the wedding planning. Local venues often host open houses that are more intimate if large crowds aren’t your cup of tea.
Bring a large bag/backpack
You will receive countless flyers and information packets as well as business cards. You may even get some cool swag so remember to bring a large bag to tote all your goods around in.
Print out your contact information ahead of time
Every vendor you meet is going to ask you to fill out a contact form so they may be able to get in touch with you in the future. If you want to avoid filling out your information over and over again come prepared with mailing labels or a simple printout with your name, wedding date, phone number, and email.
Find your wedding venue first
As a wedding planner I always tell my clients that the first step in the planning process is to find your venue. It helps to be flexible on dates so that if you find your dream venue you have a few dates to choose from in case they are already booked. If you feel you need help sourcing a venue, I highly recommend reaching out to a local wedding planner.
Come hungry (but not too hungry)
There will be plenty of food to taste from various caterers and venues. However, remember that your ticket to the show doesn’t mean you will be getting a four-course dinner. Most of the food and dessert you will be trying is just going to be a bite or two. Oh, and you know how much everyone loves samples so be prepared to wait in a few lines.
Talk to vendors, but don’t book anyone on the spot
Bridal shows can be very overwhelming and you will be talking to numerous vendors throughout the show. If you find specific vendors, you really feel like you hit it off with take their card and put it in a safe place. Go home and sleep off the excitement and reach out to them with a clear head. I highly suggest researching potential vendors online and doing your “homework” before booking.
Be prepared for follow up emails, a lot of them…
When you fill out the contact forms from vendors you are telling them you had a genuine interest in them or their business. Be prepared for lots of follow up calls and emails. If you decided to book someone else politely tell them thank you but you are no longer interested. Or, there is always that handy unsubscribe button at the bottom of your emails. You can even create an email address solely for wedding purposes.