Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tips for Getting the Most out of a Bridal Show

A bridal show is a rite of passage for the bride and groom. It is exciting and fun and romantic to be in the same room with so many other engaged couples. It is awe-inspiring to realize all the wonderful options and fabulously creative vendors available at your finger tips to custom make the wedding of your dreams. On the down side a bridal show can also feel intensely overwhelming. After all, bridal coordinators dedicate their entire livelihoods to planning weddings obviously it is not as easy as just saying, "I do." And the groom usually has no idea what he is getting into when he proposes...

So just indulge yourselves in the creative process of designing your most sacred day together and don't expect to walk away from the show with signed contracts or concrete decisions. A show is a place where you luxuriate in brainstorming and fantasizing, have your questions answered and make follow up appointments with vendors to discuss your wedding in more depth. Wedding planning is a process that takes place over a significant period of time so there's no pressure to make all your decisions at the show. And remember there are professionals to guide you and if you really feel overwhelmed there's always a wedding coordinator! Here are some helpful hints to get the most out of your bridal show experience:

  1. Pre-register for the show for discount tickets.
  2. Contact a participating vendor ahead of time and ask if they have complimentary tickets.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes.
  4. Come prepared with peel off labels with your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and wedding date printed on them to enter the various giveaways and promotions.
  5. Rent a PO Box if you prefer not to divulge your home address.
  6. Use a specially designated "wedding email" account
  7. Sign up for all the discounts and prizes.
  8. Bring someone with you to share the fun and to help you not feel too overwhelmed. If your family will be involved in any aspect they should really come along so they can get a full appreciation of the complexity of wedding planning.
  9. Make sure all members of your entourage have cell phones with them in case you get split up.
  10. Bring swatches of material or ribbons with your wedding colors on them.
  11. Skip the fashion show if you already have your gown and visit vendor's booths during that period. 
  12. Bring a drink and snacks with you.  Why waste time and money standing in line for concession food?
  13. When filling out forms make sure to print VERY clearly.
  14. Avoid bringing children to the show if possible.
  15. Take as much literature as you can from everyone. You might not think you need information on a certain type of vendor, but leave yourself the option of changing your mind as your creative ideas flow during the wedding planning process.
  16. Bring your date book with you so you can schedule your appointments for follow up.
  17. Ask lots of questions.
  18. If you want to be guaranteed a free bridal magazine pick it up early!
  19. Take notes on your conversations to help your differentiate among the vendors
  20. Wear a back pack or bring a large bag to carry all the materials. 
  21. Take a video camera or regular camera to capture ideas and help you remember vendors.
  22. Don't purchase anything under pressure. If a special show discount is being offered negotiate a 24 hour grace period for you to do your research.
  23. Avoid unscrupulous people who approach you in the aisles, outside the venue or put flyers on your windshield. They are not affiliated with the show and their professionalism is questionable.
  24. Plan to spend 3-4 hours at the show.

See you there!

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