January 19, 2014

Seven Secrets to Getting the Most From a Bridal Show | Bridal Show Tips

It is that time of year again.  People are getting engaged and are planning their dream weddings.  That means that Bridal Shows are in full force.  We have participated in many Bridal Shows over the years and would love to give you some Bridal Show Tips.  You might wonder why you should attend a Bridal Show.  After all, so much information is at our fingertips in the privacy of our own homes with the internet.  But simply put, the human interaction at a Bridal Show is a good way to determine who is right for you.   Really.  It is a fabulous way to personally meet many different vendors in one spot at one time.  The internet can be a great tool, but you really do want to meet people in order to  get a true read on their personality.

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Loved this dress! The fashion show is often a highlight of a bridal show.  Dress provided by Angela’s Bridal.

Great Bridal shows can be noisy, crowded, confusing and overall pandemonium.  It can be easy to get lost in the craziness.  Do not give up!  Below are some tips for making your trip to a Bridal Show fun, easy and efficient:

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You can research the latest trends with many vendors in one location.

1.  Before you do any kind of event planning WHATSOEVER, establish a budget.  The dreaded “B” word.  Really, the “B” word is your friend.  Wedding expenses can add up quickly, so you need to figure out what your financial priorities are.  Maybe you want amazing photos, but don’t really care about the cake.  Perhaps your attire is the most important thing.  Knowing your financial parameters can make the entire planning process easier and a lot more fun.  Knowing what your budget is for each line item can keep you from spending time with a vendor who no matter how great, is simply out of your price range.  It can also give you a starting point when discussing what your needs are.

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You can find some cool cocktail ideas, like this one from Mazzone Catering.
Lovely stationary item by the Pink Orange.

2.  Most shows provide a program guide listing the exhibitors with a floor map.  Scan the guide to see who is attending and  prioritize who you would most like to speak with.  Determine what your mission is at the show.  For example, if you already have a venue and a DJ, then you really don’t need to see any of those categories.  Speak with the high priority people first. Color coded Sharpie markers can work great, i.e. blue for photographers, pink for florists, etc.–or whatever is visually easiest for you.  After you speak with each one, check them off so you know who you spoke with.  You can also jot down any notes or impressions you got.  A small notebook can be a great little item to have on hand.

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Try some yummy appetizers.

3.  Many vendors have raffles at their booths.  Save yourself some time (and possibly carpal tunnel syndrome) by pre-printing address labels with your name and contact information to stick on the forms.

4.  You may want to book appointments with vendors for a more in depth consultation, so remember to bring your appointment book/calendar/smartphone.  Also, bring some form of payment–checks, credit cards, etc. just in case you find a vendor you truly love and want to book on the spot.

5.  You might want to bring color swatches or swipe files of different things you want to incorporate in your day.  This will give the vendors more of an idea of exactly what your style is.  They can provide a great starting point for conversations and questions.

6.  If you live out of town–send your mom, friend, anyone you can trust to scout some things out for you.  Having someone do a little reconnaissance  work for you can dramatically save time in the long run.

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This booth had a range of casual to more formal arrangements that demonstrated the skill of the florist–A Lasting Impression Florist.

7.  Ask questions–most vendors are proud of their work and really like to talk about what they do.  We want to be helpful and give you great ideas on how to make the most of your special day.  It will also give you somewhat of an idea as to whether your personalities will work well together.

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This photo was taken last year at the Bridal Show at the Queensbury Hotel. The model is wearing a dress from Trace of Lace and the bouquet is from A Lasting Impression.

Most of all, keep calm, wear comfortable shoes and have a great time!  Planning a wedding is fun!

If you enjoyed this article on Wedding Planning, check out our post in Wedding Day Timelines.  Please fill out a contact form or call 518.584.4237 to schedule a consultation–we would love to meet with you!

Images were taken at the Hudson Bridal Showcase and the It’s a Love Affair Bridal Show on Lake George.

Susan Blackburn is a Wedding and Portrait Photographer located in Saratoga Springs NY specializing in Wedding Photography and Portrait Photography.