Bridal Show Overload!

Our Booth at a Recent Show

Our Booth at a Recent Show

So, it’s a new year and possibly a whole new chapter in your life!  According to ABC News and Modern Bride magazine, 26% of newlyweds got engaged over the Christmas season.  Along with all the excitement of the new engagement comes the whole new world of Wedding Planning, and therefore, Wedding Shows.

The concept of the Bridal Show is perfect – gather all the wedding suppliers a Bride might need, put them in one place to make it easy for the couple to gather information and see a snippet of each ones style, possible snag a booking deal in the process, and everyone is happy.

Crazy Crush of People!

Crazy Crush of People!

Good Concept, Overwhelming Reality!

The reality of a Bridal Show, from a Bride and Grooms’ perspective, is an overwhelming experience.  Imagine if you were 5 years old and someone took you to a candy store and said “OK, pick your favorite kind of candy”.  How could you possibly pick?  There are so many fantastic options!

It’s the same with bridal shows.  So many wedding vendors, so many styles, so many ideas, so many offers…and you are still getting used to the idea that you are getting married.

And let’s not forgot that the dollar figures these professionals are throwing around are often more than you earn in a month.  It’s enough to make your head spin.  No wondering I see so many Brides walking around with their eyes glazed over, not wanting to make contact for fear of more information coming their way.

So How Do You Get the Most out of a Bridal Fair?

If you are reading this before going to a Bridal show, let me give you a couple of pointers to help you stay sane

  • You will be offered tons of ballots to fill out to win prizes – bring along a pre-printed list of stickers with your name and the Groom’s name, email address, wedding date, phone number and address.  Be aware that there will be emails coming to you from most of these vendors.  They are offering you a prize in exchange for your information.
  • Dress comfortably.  This can be a long day of strolling up and down aisles among a crushing crowd of people.  If possible, check your coat so you don’t get over-heated.  Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Limit the size of your group.  You probably think “this will be fun!” but the fun soon turns work when you are trying to keep everyone together and happy.  The men don’t want to look at flowers – they want to see the limos or DJ equipment.  Your mom thinks that cake company looks good (because it looks like her cake from 25 years ago!), you want to see that stunning wedding dress booth.  Your sister, aka Maid of Honor, wants to see that cute guy in the tux getting ready for his stroll down the fashion show runway….Get the picture?  So take one or possibly two very trusted people or people who are actually helping you make the decisions, your fiance and your Mom possibly.   This way, you can focus and discuss what you are seeing.
  • Bring a little notebook.  I know, who needs paper and pen when we have everything electronic?  But some shows forbid the use of cameras, and some vendors will be very proprietary when it comes to pictures being taken of their goods.  So a little notebook is handy to record the name of the company booth you really liked, or an idea for bomboniere that was unique, or relevant information given by a vendor, and various other little details that you will want to remember but that will certainly become lost in chaos.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Go beyond the sales pitch that some vendors may be stuck on giving, and ask questions if you have some.  This is the perfect opportunity to find out about things you have been wondering about.
  • “How much does it cost?”  This is sometimes a tricky question for vendors to answer.  Some things are easy – “Our tuxedos cost $99 to rent”.  Easy.  That bouquet, but add in some calla lilies or take out some roses…..?  That hors d’oeuvre but change the chicken to lobster….?  These are questions that usually require the business person to sit down and calculate the costs.  So don’t expect an accurate answer to your wedding-specific question – that is what consultations are for.  And try not to test the person’s memory by asking what everything in their inventory costs.
  • Don’t weigh yourself down with everyone’s marketing material.  At some shows, I see vendors trying to put their material into every person’s hands.  Their material might not even be relevant to you.  And you will come home with a bag full of cards and brochures, and probably toss out 2/3’s of them.  Take only the ones that might be of interest to you, and make a note of what was interesting about that vendor (here’s where your notebook will come in handy 🙂 ).
Always the Highlight of a Bridal Fair, The Fashion Show

Always the Highlight of a Bridal Fair, The Fashion Show

How to Choose?

The selection of Bridal Shows available, especially in metropolitan areas, is incredible.  You could attend a show practically every weekend in January and February, if you were so inclined.  So, how do you decide which ones to attend and which ones to pass?  Choose one show.  Yes, you may miss vendors that won’t be at this show, but you can’t do every show.  Choose a show that works for your schedule, and tweaks your interest.

And of course, there is the lure of the Grand Prize Draw!!  The larger the prize, the larger the turn out of both brides and vendors.

There will be plenty of vendors, ideas, information, and samples available at that show.  I promise, you won’t miss much by choosing only one show.  A lot of your research will be done ultimately via internet, the show is just an introduction.  Don’t waste too much of your resources trekking from one show to another for fear of missing out.

So, if you haven’t already experienced your first Bridal Show – get prepared and enjoy!  And feel free to let me know how you liked it 🙂

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~ by OPULENCE Floral Design & Event Decor on January 15, 2014.

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