Photo courtesy of MaggShots Photography
Thinking about heading to a few bridal shows? It does seem kind of like a rite of passage for most engaged couples. Shows can be a wonderful place for you to get an idea of what is out there in vendor-land and started zeroing in on what your priorities actually are. Or, alternatively, shows are a great place for free champagne and cake samples, and I fully endorse all the tasting. 🙂
If you’re going to a show, here are some quick tips and tricks to keep you moving and get the most out of the day.
- Wear comfortable shoes and hydrate.
Sorry, my former camp counselor self can’t help but start with the essentials. Some of the bridal shows are an all day thing, held in massive convention centers with not much in the way of seating. Expect to be on your feet and plan accordingly!
Photo courtesy of Krystle Akin Photography
- Bring the labels.
Everyone you talk to is going to want to know how they get in touch with you after the show! Save your writing hand by bringing printed labels that have both of your names, wedding date, and contact email and phone number. Some of the bigger shows will offer these as a complimentary add-on to your ticket, or you can print them at home yourself. You might also bring some star stickers (or whatever you have on hand – mine tend to be Pixar!) so that you can mark the materials of the vendors you want to follow up with later as you stuff their info in your bag.
- Be thoughtful about booking vendors on site.
Some vendors will offer truly extraordinary price breaks if you book while at the show. This can be awesome for your budget. I suggest taking a quiet minute in a corner with your cell phone to check some details online before booking. Do a quick skim of reviews, check some other similar vendors to see what, exactly, the pricing break is, and check the vendor’s own website for info on their services. Sometimes a killer deal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s worth paying a little more to get significantly better service from a different vendor! You can also ask vendors if they’ll honor the deal if you book by the following day or end of the week. That way you can take all of your info home and check in with your other decision makers, if they’re not at the show with you.
Photo courtesy of Melissa Flanagan Photography
- Consider options that might not be on your list.
There are always some really fun and different options to see at bridal shows – a recent favorite of mine was flavored cotton candy. How fun is that? Come into a show with an open mind. Maybe you’ll find something that will perfectly showcase your personality or be incredibly helpful during your planning process that you didn’t expect to include!
- Check your calendar.
Most vendors would be THRILLED to set up an appointment with you for the week or two following the show so that you can talk more in person about your big day! That gives you the headspace to see if you truly click with the vendor in question and to be able to ask all of your questions before committing.
Photo courtesy of Katie Cassidy Photography
Alrighty, now that you’ve got your primer, where are these magical shows? January is always a big month for wedding shows, and this year is no exception! There are basically two types of shows out there – large multivendor shows and smaller venue-specific shows, usually called open houses. Multivendor shows are open to any vendor wanting to purchase space. Open houses usually showcase the vendors on the venue’s preferred list, and so are a bit more selective.
Here are some good bets for this month (including where we’ll be!)
– January 20: McKinney Bridal Show, held annually and always full of fun vendors (like us! Come say hi!). Read about it at https://www.mckinneytexas.org/1781/Bridal-Show.
– January 27-28: Dallas Bridal Show, the biggest of them all in a two-day extravaganza! See info at http://bridalshowsinc.com.
In general, a good place to find an up to date list of bridal shows and open houses is on the Brides of North Texas website. https://www.bridesofnorthtexas.com/wedding-events/
All of this just too overwhelming for you? No interest in using shows to get more info? Reach out to us, and we can help you navigate the wedding madness without the chaos. You can also check out some of blogs to help get you get you started – Venue, Budget & Guest List. Happy hunting!