We are smack-dab in the middle of bridal show season and with the awesomely, amazing Bridal Open House at Prime Time Party Rental upon us this weekend (details at the end of the post), we thought we would share some ideas for attending bridal shows.
Bridal shows can be a double-edged sword. They are great, one-stop shops to find your photographer, florist, and DJ all in one place and at one time…perfect for couples that are procrastiators or those that just want to get it done! It is a great way to see vendors in action. You can touch flowers, taste cake and get a feel for a variety of vendors. The double-edge comes in because these events are usually chocked full of brides, grooms, mothers and future mother-in-laws as well friends. Some couples bring an entire entourage with them which can create traffic jams as they are walking through the event and taking up a lot of room around booths. After a few hours of battling through the crowds, it can be easy to get annoyed or frustrated if you are trying to speak to a vendor or get some specific information.
We want you to make the most of your bridal show experience and we hope some of these tips and strategies help!
- Make up pre-printed address labels. You will have the opportunity to sign up for LOTS of stuff – information about vendors, contests, raffle prizes, etc. To make things easier, bring a few sheets of pre-printed address labels that include all of your information so you can just slap a label on a vendor sign-up sheet. The labels should include the couples’ names, home address, email address, and the wedding date/location (if known). This can save you a lot of time, all while avoiding writer’s cramp.
- Set up an email address that you will use specifically for wedding correspondence. Let’s face it, you will probably get a ton of email after attending a bridal show – you sign up for information as well as a slew of contests and giveaways. A separate email allows you to compartmentalize the multitude of emails you are likely to receive throughout the wedding planning process. Try using something that combines your two names or your soon-to-be married name.
- Bring a tote bag. Most shows will provide a bag for attendees but sometimes these bags can get heavy which can cause the handles to break or the bottoms to fall out. Plus just in case they don’t provide a bag, your tote bag will give you something to carry all of the goodies and brochures you will receive. If you do get a bag at the show, then consider using it along with your tote bag as an easy filing system. Here’s how it works: you carry one bag and have your groom/mom/friend carry the other one. When you stop at a booth and receive some materials, you put the information you want to keep, book, research, or review later into your bag. Put everything else you receive in the other bag. Using this method allows you prioritize all of the information you truly want to look through, in your own bag. If you don’t want to do the 2-bag method, you could also bring some sort of sticker (something like those little metallic star stickers we received in school or even just some small round stickers you would use to price items at a garage sale). Just place a sticker on the items that are important to you and you can easily sort through things in your bag once you get home.
- Bring your checkbook and a debit/credit card. A lot of vendors offer some GREAT discounts if you book their services during the show. In order to take advantage of this, you generally have to put some sort of retainer down to secure their services. This is great if you and your fiance know your budget and have a good idea of what you are looking for in a vendor. Some of the best deals or discounts are only available at a bridal show.
- Ask lots of questions. These shows are filled with wedding and event professionals. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn as much as you can.
- Bring just the essentials (in terms of people). Most bridal shows are jam-packed with people so the fewer people you bring with you, the more enjoyable you will be. We would recommend the key decisionmakers because sometimes the fewer opinions you have, the more focused you can be on your wedding and what you like or don’t like.
- Develop a plan of attack prior to the show. If you aren’t brand new to the planning process, you probably don’t need to find EVERY vendor necessary for your wedding. So if you already have a photographer or a wedding dress, don’t focus on those vendors. It will just confuse you or make you second-guess yourself. If you just got engaged, then try to focus in on venues, caterers and wedding planners. Those are the three vendors you need to look at first before you start looking into cakes or limos. If you can stick to a list of 3-4 types of vendors it will make the show less overwhelming as well as more enjoyable for you.
- Wear comfortable shoes. We know you want to look good and be stylish but there is a lot of standing and walking involved with a bridal show. You will have more fun and your feet will thank you if you choose comfy footwear. While we are talking about attire, you might also consider carrying a cross-body purse, that way both of your hands are free for activities 🙂
- Have your phone easily accessible to connect via social media. If you are at a booth and find a vendor that you really connect with or are interested in learning more about, use your phone to immediately follow them on Instagram or like them on Facebook. This way you can start seeing some of their posts instantly and will have the opportunity to review more of their work at a later date. Plus if you decide to not book them down the road, you can simply stop following them or hide them from your newsfeed.
DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!!!
Bridal Open House – March 5, 2016
If you are interested in attending this year’s Bridal Open House at Prime Time Party Rental you can get you FREE tickets by pre-registering at www.bit.ly/PTPRbride2be.
The first 50 brides in attendance receive a swag bag full of all kinds of goodies from some of the participating vendors. This is a bridal show unlike any other, so grab your friends and plan to attend this weekend!