First and foremost, don’t go alone. Bring your maid of honor, brides maids, mothers, etc. This is a fun atmosphere with a lot going on and you’re going to want to enjoy the time with someone else, not to mention weigh out options with an unbiased partner(s). This is meant to be fun so enjoy it and pick people who will enjoy it with you! With that said, recognize that your friends/family are joining you to support you so show appreciation regularly for their time investment. It is not crazy for your other half to come as well, about 30% of grooms attend. This is a wedding for two people, after all.
Bridal shows are packed with vendors clambering for your time, attention, and email address. Many will offer a free this or that if you just fill out a form with your address and email; in fact, VEBO will often offer a drawing for a beer tasting or, even, hot air balloon ride! Save some time and avoid carpal tunnel by stopping at Office Depot for some address labels. You’ll want to include physical address, email address, name, wedding date. A veteran recommendation is to create an email address specific to wedding correspondence so that you don’t miss an important message but can get “in wedding planner mode” when checking email.
As mentioned, there are hundreds of vendors with a variety of offerings who are specifically there to grab your attention; this means that it’s easy to be overwhelmed and to lose track of what you’re there to do. You may be at the very beginning of the planning period and just want to scope out the scene, if that’s the case don’t feel pressured to commit to anything. Many vendors will be at the show doing a “today only” deal to get you to commit to a photographer, videographer, florist, groom…wait, that should probably be a commitment you’ve already addressed; the “today only” deal is usually a marketing ploy and it will likely be the same deal at next week’s bridal show. If you’re farther into your planning and have some goals of fulfilling specific needs such as finding a photographer and a venue, then be sure to review the event map noting all the booths you want to see. Remember, quality of vendor isn’t always determined by curb appeal, your ideal photographer may have been dealt a bad hand in regards to location at the show and is in the back corner next to the restrooms and bored grooms-to-be.
Your registration will likely include a “bride to be” button but feel free to sport bridal tiara to remind vendors that you’re the star. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of “brides to be” at the event so you’ll want to be quick and clear about who you are and aim for less popular times. Pro tip: most bridal shows have some kind of fashion show towards the end of the bridal show. These shows are entertaining but may not serve you for what you came to do, but not all of the other brides know that. So while they are in the auditorium watching overpriced dresses prance down the runway you should stick around in the main hall monopolizing all of the vendors’ attention and getting sh*t done! Most shows require vendors to stick around until the scheduled end of the show so you can bet they won’t be ducking out early and will be happy to see you during the lull.
Here is your general agenda to any bridal show: walk, stand, walk, stand, walk, bathroom, walk, stand, walk, stand. You are going to be on your feet all day so stilettos are probably not your friend in this circumstance. Wear some comfy shoes and clothing that is warm (or cool) enough for you to be comfortable for the entire show. It would be a sham to miss the ideal wedding cake vendor because your calves couldn’t take it any longer. Dress for success; and in this case that means comfort.
Put a face to your favorite wedding registry and come visit us at the VEBO booth. We’re a small team that really does see every registry that comes through so we’d be honored to meet you in person. If you haven’t signed up with us (yet) come chat and find out why we think you’ll love your VEBO registry. Not to mention we are usually serving some kind of free alcoholic beverage as well as doing a giveaway for one of our awesome experiences.
Alright, get out there and plan that wedding! Drink mimosas too; definitely drink mimosas.