My first experience with a bridal show was an awful one. I don't know if there was one definite thing that made it horrible, in fact I'm pretty sure it was several things. During my visit to a bridal show I made several mistakes from when I arrived and not preparing for all of the information I was going to have to carry around. I was lucky enough to have the Mister to accompany me and carry everything and since I am an introvert, he also started the conversations with most of the vendors we wanted to talk to. At the end of it all, I vowed never to return to one EVER again. [Spoiler alert! I'm going to another one!] I don't want anyone to be discouraged from attending bridal shows upon reading this. In fact, I want to encourage people to visit them no matter what stage of planning you're in. Not only are bridal shows a wealth of information, but many vendors offer discounts and many times you can be entered into drawing for free stuff! So here are my tips!
Source: My photo, Agape Creative Studios
Who - It's important to consider exactly who to bring with you to the bridal show. You're going to want to bring someone who is interested in your wedding planning and someone who can help you think things over and keep you from booking things impulsively. Bringing friends can be fun and it can make a great girls outing. Bringing family members such as your mom, mother in-law or sister can help make them feel included but they can easily overwhelm you with their own opinions if they're out spoken. Bringing your fiancee along can be fun, but remember that some guys aren't too interested in things like that. First consider if your guy would be okay going with you in the first place. If he doesn't don't take offense! I'm sure he will help in other ways! If this is the case sit down and discuss with him what you'd like to get out of the experience and what your plan of action should be if you find a vendor your're interested in. If your mister does come, remember that he may find other guys that were drug to the event by their significant others and catch up on the score for the big game. (There always seems to be a game of some sort that fall on these days.) If your man stands by you the whole day (congrats!) make sure to reward him! Treat him to a guy movie or beer after and let him know how great it was to have him by your side.
What - So what exactly should you bring to this? Remember that many vendors are going to want your information! So bring a pen (and your willingness to write the same info many times) or even prepare ahead with label sheets containing your information. It should be your name and contact information (mailing address, phone number and email). Bonus points for adding your wedding date also! This will save you time and save your wrist! I also recommend bringing a bag of some sort or have extra room in your purse. Most bridal shows provide you with a bag to store your goodies, but if they run out you don't want to be stuck lugging piles of paper from booth to booth. Lastly, you're going to be on your feet for several hours, so make sure you have shoes you're comfortable in!
When - When you attend the show (and which show if there are multiple in your area) really depends on how good you are with crowds and what features they have through the day. (I should note that the Mister compared it to a girls version of Comic-Con). Sometimes there are several different shows put on during different times of the year. Make sure to look into which vendors will be attending the upcoming show and which will meet what you're looking for. For example there is a local bridal company here in Fresno that put on a bridal show twice a year. One is smaller than the other which would be better suited for those who tend to shy away from big crowds but may not have some of the smaller vendors in attendance. If you choose the bigger show and are not a fan of crowds, try attending earlier in the day when less people are likely to be there.
Source: Premier Bride Showplace
I plan on attending another bridal show and hope to apply these tips. I anticipate having much more success this time around and will report back on how it goes!
Does you have any bridal shows local or travel to attend any? What was your experience? Do you have any other tips I may have missed? I'd love to hear your feedback!