If you’ve never attended a bridal show/fair/expo or you’ve been to one and didn’t really get anything out of it, maybe this week’s tips will help your next experience be more positive.
- Do your homework.
Check out the list of exhibitors on the flyer or website, check out their websites or reviews on WeddingWire.com and be prepared to ask important questions on the day. Not only will you get more out of the expo for your own planning, but you’ll become more memorable to your chosen vendors as you’ll stand out from all the standard spiels they’ve had to give.
- Take all show-floor promises with a grain of salt.
Our first show we talked to a local hotel rep who had us practically sold on her meeting room–it’s great for 50 people and it’s only $150 to rent. Wow! Thankfully, Todd had the idea to stop and take a peek on the way home. 50 people could fit in that room, sure, presentation style. And even then it’d be tight. Get sample contracts if you can, or at least get them to write down the too-good-to-be-true offer on the back of a brochure.
- Be honest about your budget.
I’m not saying you have to put your budget on your nametag, but if you’re standing at a table for a local mansion whose rental fee (before Food & Beverage) is your entire budget, tell them. They may have a venue they can recommend or a smaller building on the property that’s in your price range. But don’t lead them down the peony-lined path if there’s no way in Prada they can make a sale.
- Enter everything.
Okay, maybe not everything. But don’t pass up an opportunity to win a free honey, a discount on your catering or a floral consultation. Nixed the limo due to budget? Enter the giveaway and maybe you win the use of a town car. Already have honeymoon plans? A pre-wedding getaway might be just the ticket for your stressed selves. And a door prize is always nice. Even if the gift isn’t your style, maybe one of your bridesmaids would like it?
- Print up info labels.
This is the best thing I ever picked up along the way! Print up some basic address labels (30 per sheet) with your names (bride & groom), mailing address and email address. You can also, depending on your font size and preference, put your wedding date on there. Bring these labels with you to the next show and not only will you breeze through all the sign-up sheets and cards, you’ll impress the hell out of the vendors.
I almost didn’t bother going to any bridal shows this time around–I figured I knew enough from before. But the first 2 shows I attended taught even this wedding-veteran a thing or two, yielded some impressive intel and even snagged me a couple of door prizes. The first show I went to I won a piece of jewelry from a local shop and this last one I got a gift certificate to the store that hosted the show. Now I’m just wondering how long the luck lasts?
Any other tips on surviving the bridal show circuit that I’ve missed? Do tell!