Congratulations on your engagement! Now what to do? At this point I am sure everyone is giving you advice on how to plan for your wedding day celebration and you may even be feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the well meant helpful advice. Finding wedding vendors can feel like a pig and a poke if you were to look through the yellow pages. Many times we find good vendors by word of mouth but finding all of the vendors you will need can be made very easy by attending your local wedding show or bridal expos.
Tis the time of the year when many wedding shows will become available. I find that many of the shows are geared towards Fall and Winter which is perfect timing especially if you are planning for a summer wedding next year! Once a year I participate in the Seattle Wedding show which always happens just after the first of the year. I especially like the timing of this bridal expo as brides and grooms who attend are so excited after the holidays and celebrating the new year. This is a perfect opportunity to find invaluable resources to assist you with your wedding planning and save you time.
Each Wedding show and bridal expo can be different so best to research out their websites to see what types of vendors they will have available for you. Most shows charge an entrance fee however I can say that fee can be worth finding great established local vendors and for inspiring you with ideas. Although I offer custom made wedding accessories which will coordinate later on in the wedding planning process, you would be surprised to know how many brides have said later they were so happy to have met me at the show and seen my handcrafted bridal jewelry and hair accessories. They have shared that getting to meet me and see my work at the wedding show made it stress free later on when they were ready to order their wedding day jewelry.
Before attending your local wedding show, take some time to research the show to see a vendor list for service and product categories will be available. You should easily be able to access a website for the show and most shows should provide a vendor list. Many times they provide the floor plan and booth numbers so you can map out the specific vendors you would like visit. Also, website links may also be provided so you can check out the wedding show vendor ahead of time. I love when a bride comes to my weeding show booth and says I looked at your website and would love to see these bridal and bridesmaid jewelry items I saw? By doing this, she has saved herself so much time and was able to find the products and services she needs.
12 of my most helpful tips for attending a wedding show or bridal expo!
- Before attending, do a little research online to find products and services you think you will or may need. Make a list and if possible find where their booth locations are and place this information in a wedding planning notebook.
- Preregister for the show online if possible. This will save you precious time when you arrive at the show and many times you receive a discount on your ticket fee and advance show information.
- Be organized! Create a pretty binder ahead of time that makes you happy when you look at it. Create sections for each type of service you are looking for and have notebook paper and file folder inserts to put flyers and counter cards into. Also, have a section which you have your checklist and any pictures of dresses, fabric swatches, wedding colors such as papers to be able to show the vendor. This will make it easier for you when you get home and look through all of the information. I suggest bring a comfortable shopping bag too for all of the additional samples and information you will receive.
- Bring your appointment book! Once you have found the vendors you need or would like to connect with them after the show to see more of their products, make an appointment with them. Vendors are more than happy to set up your own personal appointment time with them especially if you are not ready to sign up or choose their products at that time. The vendor should follow up after the show to confirm your appointment, or at least I think that shows their organizational skills and follow up skills, something very important in wedding planning.
- Bring printed address labels and stickers and save your wrist! You will find many prize giveaways, special promotion lists and the list can go on. Having the address labels with you will make all the difference in the world. I would suggest not only your address but include your email address and wedding date.
- Set up a wedding email account. Let’s be real. Part of your attendance to the show will mean that many vendors may email you as a follow-up or with specials on their services. Setting up your own wedding email account makes it easy for you to look through these emails late in the evening and allows your own personal email to be free of advertisements.
- Bring a digital camera. It can be very helpful to take pictures of ideas that you wish to be able to follow up with the vendor after the show. As a courtesy, do make sure to ask the vendor for permission to photograph their work or booth.
- Make sure to wear comfortable shoes. You may be on your feet for hours so dress fashionable with cute comfy shoes. You will be happy that you did not wear your high heels at the end of the day.
- Depending where you are in the planning process, Bring your fiancé’ or some of your closest girlfriends and relatives. Make a togetherness day of attending the wedding show. Start with breakfast before attending the wedding show and then have fun.
- Make sure to drink water and eat! Oh my goodness, I can not stress enough drinking fluids. I have had many a bride who has nearly fainted. Water and food is an easy fix!
- Be prepared that you may find vendors who have products and services you had not even thought of. Take a few moments to obtain their information and check their products and services out. A friend of mine did not even know you could rent chair covers. She was thrilled to find a vendor who did this and she saved a lot of money with her planning.
- Lastly, please, please, please have a fun day. Attending the wedding show is supposed to be fun, not stressful. You are planning for a wonderful celebration!
Ok girls, onward you go forth with a perfect plan for your wedding planning event. Attend several wedding shows and bridal expos in your area and above all have fun!