Wedding planning is so exciting but can be a little overwhelming. One of the first things I did when we got engaged was sign up for a local Bridal Show. I had lots of ideas from the years of pinning pictures to my Wedding Board on Pinterest but I had very little knowledge about local vendors and exactly all that I needed to plan. My first Bridal Show was lots of fun and a ton of information! Here’s some tips to surviving your first Bridal Show based on my experience!
Before The Show
- Ask a close friend or family member to come to the show. This is definitely a fun experience and you don’t want to go alone! You need someone to enjoy the day with and to be an extra set of eyes and ears but you probably don’t want to bring your entire bridal party – you want to feel like you can take your time talking to all the vendors. If your fiance is in to all of the little details then this can be a fun day for the two of you but I chose to bring my mom and sisters.
- Talk about your vision and budget with your fiance. You want to have an idea of what types of venues, food, honeymoons, etc. are part of your vision and what your budget is. You also want to talk about where you are willing to splurge and where you want to save. This will help you narrow down vendors and spend time talking to the right people.
- Print return labels. Create labels with your name and contact information. I prefer emails to phone calls so I included my name, physical address and email address. Every vendor asks you to fill out some sort of contact sheet so these will really come in handy!
- Create a separate email address or email folder for wedding information. You will start to get tons of emails and information immediately following the show and may not have time to look at it all right away so you want it organized in one place.
- Create a list of all the vendors you still need. I went to my first show right after getting engaged so I needed to find a venue, photography, cake, catering, music/entertainment…basically everything. Depending on where you are in the wedding planning process a list of what vendors you need can help you stay focused at the show.
At The Show
- Wear comfortable shoes and plan on staying the whole show. When I saw the times for the show I thought there was no way we would stay the whole time but I was wrong. There were so many vendors that we barely got through them all! The exhibit hall was huge and there was a ton of walking so flats are the way to go.
- Watch the fashion show if they have one. I wasn’t super interested in the fashion show but we watched it anyways and I found a bridesmaid dress that I absolutely loved! I was able to find online right after!
- Bring your wedding planner binder or a notebook. If you have a wedding planner binder you definitely want to bring it or your regular planner so you can write-in appointments. You also want to bring your list of vendors you still need and take notes! This is my favorite wedding planner binder: All the Essentials Wedding Planner: The Ultimate Tool for Organizing Your Big Day
- Be prepared to make decisions so you can take advantage of discounts. I was not prepared at all to make decisions at my first bridal show, I was really just looking for ideas but I missed out on a lot of discounts. Most vendors offer a special wedding show discount for a short period of time after the show.
After The Show
- Make a list of top vendors. While it’s all still fresh in your mind, make a list of all your favorite vendors and your top picks for all of your needs, then you can start setting up appointments and making decisions with your fiance!
- Pay attention to your email! You’ll get tons of emails from vendors that were at the show but make sure you read them because you may have won a giveaway or one of your favorite vendors might be offering a special discount!
A Bridal Show can be a huge help in planning your wedding and even saving a little money if you’re ready for it!
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