Bridal Show Tips, Part 2

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Bridal Show icon with lights and velvet ropeIf 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.

  1. Do your homework.
    Check out the list of exhibitors on the flyer or website, check out their websites or reviews on 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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?

Pretty Book and Flower Icon


Any other tips on surviving the bridal show circuit that I’ve missed? Do tell!

The ‘OMG, This Is It!’ Moment

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
Silhouette of a figure jumping against a blue-sky background

image via stock.xchng | photography by asifthebes

By fall of 2011, the Road Trips were firmly in the “we have an understanding” period of pre-engagement. We easily talked about ideas for the wedding and laughed at the antics of the Bridezillas on WE’s Wedding Sunday shows. I was devouring wedding planning books and magazines like they were going out of style–after so many years of thatain’tevergonnahappenagain I was intent on making up for lost time, apparently.

We’d seen a commercial for a Bridal Show in mid-September but I was in the middle of something and didn’t catch the url to order tickets. Mr. RT had, though, and ended up ordering the tickets for us that week.

(Now, we’re not the type to really keep score or anything, but if we were, T would have earned major brownie points on that one. I’m still grateful and amazed at his enthusiasm for wedding planning.)

At any rate, we attended the show, enjoyed ourselves, got several tips and ideas from the various vendors, and signed up for every drawing or mailing list there was. Hey, we’ve got 2 years to go and nothing set in stone, yet, but the date–we were up for almost anything.

Imagine my surprise when, a couple days later, I get a call from a jewelry store that T had talked to about maybe designing a ring for me: I’d won a prize from the Belle Etoile collection they carried! Since T had wanted to stop by their store, too, he went with me to pick up my prize that Saturday (I chose the Art Deco ring–which wasn’t really what I won, but they let me “exchange” it and pay the difference) and he browsed while I shopped. Nothing in their cases really appealed to him (style- or price-wise) so we left and I not-so-subtly suggested we go ring-browsing since that’s sorta what we planned to do anyway!

(Yes, I realize I was sort of failing on that “I don’t want to pick it out” statement I’d made earlier on, but oh well.)

That’s when Todd tells me he’s got a ring in mind, at a jewelry store in the mall, but he wasn’t sure it was “enough” for me. But maybe if I wanted to see it, I could decide if I liked it and, if so… well, that would be that and we’d make it official!

And there it was, the OMG, this is it! feeling. I think I blushed a bit, I know I had a goofy grin on my face and there were happy tears gathering in my eyes. I was giddy at the jewelry store. The ring was just right for what I wanted, T bought it and it was immediately sent off for sizing.

It wasn’t mine just yet, wouldn’t be for another week, but the moment was there.

Did you see the ring before the proposal?
Did you pick it out or let him choose?