Michelle’s Tips for Surviving the Bridal Bazaar

bridal show

Bridal shows can be a fun and bonding experience either with your betrothed or your wedding party. It can also be a bit overwhelming.  Here are my tips to survive the Bridal Show!

#1 – Wedding Email. Create an email address specifically for your wedding that you can close after your wedding has taken place.  At Bridal Shows, everyone is going to want you to sign up to win a prize or an offer, do you really want to receive emails from wedding vendors months and years after your wedding has taken place?

#2 – Address Labels.  Print out small address labels with your name, mailing address, email address and wedding date or approximate wedding date. Phone number is optional.  This makes signing up for the free offers go much faster. Sign up for everything, at every booth, as long as you want/need what they’re offering. (Don’t forget to check your SPAM folder a few weeks later in case there is a prize notification hanging out in there)

#3 – Go with a plan. What is your goal while you’re there? Do you want to just “experience” the Bridal Show as a rite of passage or do you meet vendors that you’ll want to hire?  If the latter, then come ready with a list of things that you need to book (cake, caterer, stylist, etc) and questions that you’ll want to ask. When you first arrive, you’ll receive a show booklet listing the vendors by category, their locations, and a map. If you’re short on time, use the map to plan your rounds. Don’t expect to book vendors onsite, but do plan to make follow up appointments so have your calendar at the ready.

#4 – Colored Stickers. It’s going to be tough remembering everyone you meet.  You’re not going to have a lot of time to make detailed notes.  Have three colored stickers to quickly add to the marketing material that you’re given.  For example: Green (Loved them, set appointment), Yellow (Liked them, need more research). Red (Not for me).  Make any notes or observations on their literature. This will greatly help when you empty out your bag of stuff when you get home.  You won’t have to rely on your memory.

#5 – Prepare yourself. Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of walking on a concrete surface, dress in layers, bring water and energy bars. You’ll be given a bag to hold your goodies, but if you prefer, bring your own backpack or tote bag. There is usually food to purchase but the lines tend to be long and it can be pricey.  Less and less caterers are bringing full samples so that probably won’t fill you up, unless you plan on sampling all of the cake and desserts.

#6 – Try and find a sitter.  Being a mom, I know how tough this can be and of course children are welcome, however stroller navigation is very tough in crowds, in tight aisles and older kids will get bored pretty quickly.  They will also want to try every sweet tasty thing being handed out.

#7 – Arrive early.  The show tends to get busier as the day progresses.  If you want to sail on through, arrive at the show opening and start in the BACK and work your way forward. Note: If you want get a complimentary up-do, hit that first.

#8 – Enjoy! Don’t forget that wedding planning is supposed to be fun.  So relax, enjoy and take it all in.

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Oceanside Weddings on the Beach or Paradise Gardens?

When dreaming about a fall wedding in October, one dreams about the clear crisp autumn air and bright blue skies.  Being a wedding venue in the Beach City of Oceanside, we’re often asked how close we are to the beach for those seeking out a beach wedding.  I personally think that they’re asking the wrong question.  The question should be, “How far away are you from the beach?” Being born and raised in coastal Southern California, I can share a little secret with you.  The coastline is often plagued with heavy traffic and a heavy marine layer.  What is a marine layer you ask?  It’s dense clouds/fog that hangs right on the shore that will sometimes burn off in the afternoons, but not always.  We locals refer to this as “May Gray” or “June Gloom”.  Well, this last week of October, the coast has been blanketed with the stuff once again so I on my way into Paradise Gardens, I ran down to Harbor Beach to snap this photo of the pier.

Oceanside Pier

Then when I arrived at Paradise Gardens (10 miles east), I snapped this photo:

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I’m not suggested that the beach is always gloomy.  If you’re going to have a beach wedding, it’s going to because that has always been your dream and you know the weather risk.  However, based on my unscientific observation, we have more sunny days and sparkly starlit nights at Paradise Gardens than our coastal compadres. Come check us out for yourself!

Paradise Gardens is a private wedding and event venue located in Oceanside, California, centrally located between San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles. Please visit our website at www.paradisegardens.com for more information on hosting your San Diego destination wedding

Kristen and Gregory


Caterer: Anything But Ordinary
Photographer: Top Shelf Photo
DJ: Advanced Entertainment
Bouquets: Anything But Ordinary

Paradise Gardens is a private wedding and event venue located in Oceanside, California, centrally located between San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles. Please visit our website at www.paradisegardens.com for more information on hosting your San Diego destination wedding

Candice and Wes in Coral

Caterer: Hunter Steakhouse
DJ: On the Go, DJ Pro
Musicians (loved them): Steel the Band
Photographer: Ocean Air Imagery
Cakes: Susie Cakes
Transportation: Grand Pacific Charters
Rentals: Anar Party Rental

Paradise Gardens is a private wedding and event venue located in Oceanside, California, centrally located between San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles. Please visit our website at www.paradisegardens.com for more information on hosting your San Diego destination wedding

Bree and Denver’s Fall Wedding

I’d say my face hurts from laughing after being around these two, but I’m fairly certain that Denver would have some witty retort about him hurting by looking at it so we just won’t go there.  I absolutely loved how beautiful this wedding turned out with the fall colors and accents.  Look how the orange pops! A lifetime full of love and laughter is definitely in the cards for these two.

Thank you for all your time and advice, we really couldn’t have done it without you! Thanks for all the emails and coordination, it all helped us stay sane, and we are so glad we got to share our big day with you! – Bree & Denver

Caterer: Anything But Ordinary
DJ: DJ Wreckrd – Preston Foreman
Flowers: Karens Floral Artistry
Photographer: Nicole Angelo
Cake: Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen
Photobooth: My DJs

Paradise Gardens is a private wedding and event venue located in Oceanside, California, centrally located between San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles. Please visit our website at www.paradisegardens.com for more information on hosting your San Diego destination wedding

Lounge Furniture for Weddings

Have you thought about sprinkling the gardens with a little lounge furniture?  Several of our brides this year did just that!  From cocktail tables and loveseats by the waterfall, to upholstered chairs in the gazebo, it’s those special touches that will make your wedding stand out.  Paradise Gardens has lounge furniture available for their clients to rent as well.  See photo below on the left.

For more information regarding different lounge furniture options, please check out this video from Lounge Appeal in San Diego.

Paradise Gardens is a private wedding and event venue located in Oceanside, California, centrally located between San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles. Please visit our website at www.paradisegardens.com for more information on hosting your San Diego destination wedding

Estelle and Derek’s Tropical Oasis


Caterer: Anything But Ordinary
Flowers/Decor: Anything But Ordinary
DJ: Advanced Entertainment – Steve Hasty
Photography: Sean Hagen
Cake: Edelweiss
Bar: Barworks

Paradise Gardens is a private wedding and event venue located in Oceanside, California, centrally located between San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles. Please visit our website at www.paradisegardens.com for more information on hosting your San Diego destination wedding