How to Get the Most From a Bridal Show

Attending a bridal show can be most helpful in planning your wedding. You will be able to meet and ask questions from many wedding professionals all under one roof. You will want to gather information, compare prices and services, register for prizes, see the latest fashions, get great new ideas and just have fun.

Here are some tips that will help you get the most from your bridal show experience.

  • Register before the show. When you register before the show, some shows offer a discount toward the purchase of your ticket.
  • Research the show ahead of time to see what vendors will be there. Look specifically for the one's you need. Many vendors offer discounts on their services if you book them at the show.
  • Decide to concentrate on one vendor (Minister/Officiant, floral designer, photographer, deejay, etc.) and do your research ahead of time. At the show, gather info from other vendors too, but spend most of your time talking with the ones you researched.
  • If the bridal show has a wedding fashion show, check the times of the shows when you arrive, so you don't miss out.
  • Bring a list of questions to ask. Don't just rush by booths that have services you still need. Don't just listen to sales pitches. Ask lots of questions, that's what the vendors are there for. They want to help you and you are under no pressure to buy from them, so find out everything you need to know.
  • If their product or service is one you need and they are busy talking with someone else, stand close and just listen.
  • It may seem a little overwhelming at the show, but most vendors love to spend time with you and answer your questions. They will talk to you about their products and services in as much detail as you want. However, the shows are very hectic and noisy, so if you find a vendor that you like, it's best to set up an appointment and meet with them later.
  • Start a conversation with the people at the booths. Don't be shy. You will know right away if they are someone you would want to work with in planning for your special day. It is very important that you "click" with the vendors you choose.
  • Bridal shows are big. Some have more than 400 exhibitors. Come early. Don't be in a rush. Plan to spend a minimum of 4 or 5 hours in order to see all the exhibits. Take your time. Make a day of it. Don't hurry!
  • Visit every booth even if the exhibitor offers something you're not interested in right now. You might decide in the future to include it and you'll have the information readily available.
  • Walk up one aisle on one side and check out the vendors, then walk down the other side of the same aisle to make sure you do not miss anyone. You may miss the very wedding service you were looking for if you try to wander from side-to-side down the same aisle.
  • A great idea is to bring a camera. Snap a photo of the Minister you spoke to, or take a picture of an exhibit that you want to remember. Use these photos to jog your memory about something that grabbed your attention.
  • Bring your fiancè with you for at least one trip to the event, then go again with your Mother and girlfriends. Going twice allows you to really take in everything you need to see.
  • Do your best to stay together. If you are the bride and the groom is somewhere else, if may be difficult to make a choice later about a specific service unless both of you were present to hear the information.
  • If you are the mother of the bride and are gathering information for the bride and groom, make notes on the business card, brochure or flyer that you think might interest them the most. Bringing a small notebook and pen to make special notes is helpful.
  • If a vendor gives you information that you especially like and want to follow up with at a later date, put that information in a special bag, not with all the other stuff you may collect. Bring your own light-weight carrying bag. Some vendors will give you one, however, use your "own" bag to separate vendor information that is of special interest to you and use the vendor bag for everything else.
  • Another idea is to bring a red pen and mark that vendors information in a special way that will indicate your level of interest. Make notes on business cards, the brochure or flyer for easy reference later.
  • Bring a small notebook and pen. You never know what tips or ideas you'll find out and want to write down. There's so much to see that by the time you get home, you may forget.
  • Bring your personal planner so you will have your bridal shower, rehearsal, wedding and other important dates handy. It can also be helpful if you choose to make an appointment with one of the vendors. Ask about the exhibitors availability if you are interested.
  • Be sure not to make speedy judgments on whether the information offered might be of interest to you. Take one minute to listen to their offer and if a vendor offers you literature you do not want, don't take it! Be polite. Just say "No, thank you" and walk on. Vendors appreciate your candor because they spend a lot of money on their wedding flyers, promotional pieces, etc.
  • Some vendors offer drawings for prizes. Prevent writer's cramp! Bring address labels to save time in filling out registration blanks. Computer savvy? Make your own labels (or business card) on your computer.
  • It is helpful to include your name, the grooms name, complete address, your wedding date & location, phone numbers and e-mail address. This is very helpful to the vendor when you request additional information. If you don't bring labels, print very clearly when registering for anything.
  • Don't register for everything! If you know you will not need the service, don't register, otherwise you may be receiving unneeded information from their mailing list for many months to come.
  • Wear a Bride or Groom sticker to receive special attention from vendors.
  • Bring your checkbook in case you want to book any services or give a deposit to hold a date. If you are comfortable with the vendor, by all means, go for it. You will often find great discounts that are available only at the show. Proceed with caution and choose wisely. Read the fine print.
  • If you see one of the vendors you have already hired at a show, ask them for referrals to other reputable vendors you need. They may have worked with them at previous weddings and can make a valuable referral.
  • Don't be afraid to tell someone that you already have booked their service with another vendor. Take a minute and visit with them anyway. Who knows? You make pick up a tip or suggestion you or your vendor hadn't considered.
  • Most vendors respect your decisions and would never push their services on you if you already have another provider. Vendors respect each other. Don't worry, it takes a lot to hurt our feelings.
  • People often walk past booths because they fear the vendor will pounce or be overly aggressive. Some are. If a vendor tries to "pressure" you into booking their services or placing a deposit with them "right now," keep walking! Do not accept any pushy sales pitch to sign now!
  • Enjoy the food, get a soft drink and socialize. Plan a "rest break" about every hour. Pick up free samples, magazines, sample menus, business cards, brochures, and catalogs to take with you and review them later in the privacy of your own home.
  • Wedding shows are not supposed to be stressful or overwhelming. There is so much to see and so many vendors. Taking your time to view each exhibit will help reduce the stress. Remember wedding planning is preferably done over time, not in one day. It's one decision at a time.
  • Many of the exhibitors book up rather quickly on popular wedding dates, so don't wait too long after the show before you decide to call or utilize their services. Generally speaking, there is a rush of appointments and often their calendars fill quickly immediately after a bridal show.
  • Remember, if you go in with a plan of action, you most likely will get most of your planning done in one afternoon or at least gather enough information to make an informed decision when reviewing the info at your leisure.
  • Be sure to dress casual and wear comfortable shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking. Be prepared for sore feet.

Grooms take note!   You may want to make arrangements for a foot massage for your future bride or arrange a visit to the hot tub when the day is through.

Have a great time!

Copyright © 2006 - Larry James. Reprinted with permission. - Larry James is a profession speaker, minister, relationship coach and author of, "How to Really Love the One You're With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship."  Larry James presents seminars nationally for singles and couples. His wedding ceremonies are custom designed with romantic elegance and impeccable attention to detail. 

Contact: Larry James,
CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com,
P.O. Box 12695,
Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695.
LarryJames@CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com
www.CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

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