Have you thought about attending a bridal show?
Time for a confession…
Before you got engaged, planning your wedding seemed super fun and OH SO easy!
You probably have several Pinterest boards of inspiration for the dress, the reception, the pictures that you absolutely want to take…
But, then reality kicks in and you realize that planning a wedding after a full day of work and your other responsibilities is not exactly a piece of cake.
When you do feel motivated to do some planning, you probably change into your favorite PJ pants and fuzzy socks, pour yourself a glass of wine and grab your laptop.
True, there are tons of online wedding planning tools like checklists, websites, registries, and vendors.
And best of all, you can find them from the comfort of your couch.
BUT there are actually some serious benefits to attending a bridal show!!
Yes, I mean attending IN PERSON!
(And yes, that means you have to wear actual pants…)
If you don’t know what a bridal show is or think it’s not for you, you’re in the right spot!
Just keep reading, reading, reading
What is a Bridal Show or Expo anyway?
A bridal show is a place where wedding vendors come together to show their products and services.
Brides-to-be stroll through the venue to meet vendors and learn what they have to offer.
This can be a great experience as you only have to spend a few hours to get great contacts, inspiration and learn about many different products and services for your big day.
I’m doing a DIY wedding, is there anything for me?
Actually, you might be surprised.
With DIY weddings being super popular, there are many vendors that are expanding into this market.
You will more than likely find several vintage decor vendors at a bridal show.
These vendors often bring in several items and set up displays that are full of inspiration.
Even if you do not use anything from them, you may get some great ideas.
I have already booked all my vendors for my wedding. Should I still attend?
You make a good point here.
While a typical bridal show has many vendors for your wedding weekend, there are also many vendors for after you’ve gotten married:
- Real estate agents who can help you find your newlywed home
- Beauty consultants that can help with your wedding day makeup and recommendations for your everyday look
- Gyms & fitness coaches who can get you into shape for your dress and create long-term plans for you
And don’t forget about all of the freebies and samples. You may just find that perfect eyeliner you have been looking for!
Most importantly, you will make great contacts that can extend beyond your wedding.
This can be a lifesaver if something should happen to one of the vendors you have already booked. And all of a sudden you can’t get a hold of them, no phone, no website, nothing.
What would you do if your vendor just ghosted?
Now that you understand Bridal Shows, here are some tips to prepare you for the show.
Save the fancy dress and shoes for your wedding day.
You will be on your feet most of the day and you will want to be comfortable.
Bring your fiancé or a friend
Your fiancé is an integral part of your wedding day.
And even if you have to take your fiancé kicking and screaming, this is a great way to get your partner involved in planning your wedding.
You may taste the perfect cake and if you are both there, you may be able to book your baker right at the show at a discounted rate!
Bridal shows can be a bit overwhelming for sure, but having a friend can help keep you focused.
(And if they’re a good friend, they will also let you know their honest opinion if you need one.)
Though many bridal shows require you to purchase tickets, they also allow several people to attend on one ticket or offer highly discounted rates for friends and family of the couple.
Bring pre-printed address labels
We have heard from several brides who attended shows that did this and found it works great.
Print up some address labels with your name, email and phone number.
Many vendors will have a sign-up form for a raffle or email list at their table.
Rather than having to write this information over and over, simply pull out an address label and place it on the sign-up sheet.
This saves you a good bit of time (and hand cramps.)
Come prepared to sample food
You probably don’t want to come hungry, but don’t eat right before the show either.
There will be many caterers and bakers letting you sample their food and cakes.
Leave room in your tummy to enjoy a bite or two!
Many brides are looking for very specific items and vendors.
Keep an open mind as you may run across something you haven’t thought about.
You will find that most vendors at the show are willing to hear what you want and find a way to meet your needs.
These are just a few tips to prepare you for your bridal shows. Bridal shows are a fun and exciting way to prepare for your big day in an efficient way.
So now that we’ve debunked some objections and shown you how to best prepare for a bridal show. Let’s move on to the benefits to you and your wedding planning.
Here’s how you can benefit from attending a wedding show…
1. You can save lots of time
Finding and contacting vendors takes time.
We already agreed earlier that you have better things to do than search Google and make phone calls all day to find vendors.
After speaking to several vendors, you may find that they are out of your price range, don’t provide the services you need or just aren’t a good match.
And, all of that is before even sitting down with them to check out samples or schedule tastings.
At a bridal show, you can meet vendors, learn about their services, get an idea of the price range, taste or sample their products and even schedule appointments with them, all within a few minutes.
And that is just for one vendor.
You can do this time and time again with all of the vendors at a bridal show.
You may be able to secure most of your vendors within a few hours at a bridal show.
Talk about efficiency!!
2. DISCOUNTS, DISCOUNTS, DISCOUNTS
Vendors are at bridal shows because they want YOU to be their client.
Most of the time they are willing to offer very generous discounts if you make a commitment at the show.
It is not uncommon for some vendors to offer a couple hundred dollars off of their services if you book right there at the show.
3. Gather inspiration for any budget
Okay, so your wedding budget isn’t that of Prince William & Kate…
That doesn’t mean you can’t have the wedding of your dreams!
A bridal show is like a live version of Pinterest.
As you stroll throughout the show, have your camera ready to snap pictures for inspiration.
You may find that next big idea right there and it’s just waiting for you to recreate it.
4. Get on vendors’ email lists
Even if you are unable to book a vendor on the day of the show, many vendors send out newsletters or coupons with special offers.
By getting on their mailing list, you ensure you will receive these offers even after the show.
You can always unsubscribe later from any vendors you choose not to go with.
5. Take a chance on new vendors
Many wedding vendors use bridal shows as a launchpad for their business.
These businesses can sometimes be hard to find on the internet because they are brand-spanking new.
But that’s their edge and that’s why they can offer very competitive prices.
Sure, we agree that your wedding day is not exactly the best time to try something new.
But just because a vendor’s business is new, does NOT mean that they are new to the industry.
Many have worked in the industry for years for another company and are starting on their own.
You can always see samples of their work at the show as well. This can be a great way to save tons of money.
Ready, Set, Let’s Go!
Now you’re all set and ready to attend your first bridal show!
If you live in the Northeastern US, check out Once Upon A Time Events and say hi to them at one of their upcoming expos. Much of the awesome information in this post was provided by them!
If Maryland is a bit far for you, you can find a bridal expo near you on Great Bridal Expo’s website!
Enjoy and let us know how your first bridal show experience went!
Did we miss any amazing bridal show tips that you know?
Help others out by sharing a comment below. If your comment is really helpful we’ll even add it to our post and give you credit for it!