If you’re reading this you probably just got engaged or you are close to someone who just got engaged, either way CONGRATULATIONS are in order!
You may be overwhelmed on where to start with your wedding planning, but I am here to help. A good place to start your planning is by attending a bridal show. These shows are great for any step of the wedding planning process.
Do I really need to attend a bridal show?
Yes, you will meet every type of vendor you need on your wedding day. I really mean every type, some shows even have dentist offices promoting teeth whitening, you will really find everything you want or need for the big day.
Why is this important? Can’t I just do my research online-yes you can and you should, but in addition attending a bridal show has so many other benefits.
1. You will meet people
Meeting a vendor in person is such a helpful experience. You can ask questions up front, often times receive their pricing (some vendors don’t have pricing on their websites), and you are able to see their personality and how you vibe together.
You will meet many photographers, florists, venues, etc but being able to talk with this person for a few minutes and see their personality, hear their knowledge or lack their of, can make a big difference in who you hire the big day!
2. Find new vendors
You may find a new venue or florist that you didn’t find online during your wedding research. I found my venue at a bridal show, and I had never heard of them before (trust me, I have heard of about 100 venues in my city). This was a newer venue but I fell in love with the pictures they had and the owner I spoke with (again you get to see their personality) and we ended up scheduling a tour. Once I went out to see the venue in person, I was more in love and we booked them! If I hadn’t of gone to that bridal show, I probably wouldn’t of found my venue in time, before I booked someone else.
3. Free stuff or discounts
Yes, you read that correctly, I said free. Most bridal shows require you to buy a ticket, but you will instantly get your money back with all of the free items and discounts you receive. Many vendors will have promotional items for you to take home, pens, drink holders, notepads, coasters, etc.
In addition to the free merchandise, many vendors will offer special discounts for brides who attend the bridal show. That means the $15 ticket you bought to attend the show, now becomes an investment because you fell in love with a photographer and now you are saving $100 off her package.
So hopefully by now you are nodding your head in agreement that you need to sign up for a bridal show.
When you do attend, here is some advice to make the most out of your experience. Attending a bridal show although beneficial and great, can be overwhelming for the first few minutes. There are sometimes over 100 vendors and they are all eager to meet you. The best way I can describe it is, you are a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and the vendors are the flys. When you first enter the show you will feel like everyone is surrounding you, but its only because you are so sweet 😉 like a PBJ sandwich.
ADVICE for attending a bridal show
1. Invite a friend
Notice that I said friend and not bridal party. Note: it is totally acceptable to take all of your bridal party, but hear me on why it you may want to reconsider. Like I mentioned previously, a bridal show can be overwhelming, and you don’t want to add to that by have 5+ girls tugging at you to taste cake and see this floral arrangement. You do want someone there for support and to help you make decisions. A great person to invite would be your mom, maid of honor, or your fiancé(é).
2. Make a list
All types of vendors will be at these bridal shows, so its is a good idea to make a list of what you want to get out of the day. Are you in need of a certain vendor, then let your supportive friend know that you are on a mission to find your photographer.
Did you find what you think is the perfect venue online, make a note that you are going to try and find them at the show so you can talk to them in person and ask questions.
3. Take notes
As you receive brochures from vendors, make notes on them. Did they mention they only allow 200 guests or did they say they will charge extra to travel? Make notes of anything you think is important. You are going to meet a lot of people and you don’t want to confuse information at the end of the day. Trust me, you will forget who said what, its just human nature after meeting that many people.
4. Do research
In addition to taking notes, when you get home, take time to do research. Look at their website and/or social media to see past work they have done and check reviews. If you have time before the show, do research on what vendors will be attend. Some bridal show websites will have their vendors online, or if you look at the vendors individual social media, often times they will post that they are attending. This will help you save time on the day of the show because you will already know who you are there to meet!
5. Bring a bag
Between all of the brochures and free items, you are going to need a bag to keep all of it. Some bridal shows will give you a free bag, but not all of them so you want to be prepared. Whether you bring a big purse or you bring a cute “Bride” tote, this is a necessity.
6. Eat before
This may seem like a silly tip or you’re thinking, “I don’t need to eat, I need an empty stomach for all the cake I will be tasting.” Bridal shows can be an all day event. Eat something before hand so you aren’t dying to leave before you’ve had a chance to meet everyone.
What was your experience when you attended a bridal show? Tell me about it in the comments.
Bianca Nichole Events is a San Antonio based wedding planner, serving San Antonio, Austin and the surrounding areas.