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.