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Begin Your Wedding Hunt By Attending Bridal Shows

Updated on June 8, 2014

Begin Your Wedding Hunt By Attending Bridal Shows

The Bridal Show

One of the smart first things a bridal might do when she begins her hunt for wedding vendors is to find bridal shows to attend. Bridal shows are a great way to get an idea of what different wedding professionals are all about, a bride can learn some new things about weddings and gain some ideas and she can meet a lot of wedding vendors in one spot and can learn what services they can provide, she can book some appointments, some with a nice discount and she has an opportunity to win a prize.

Bridal shows feature a gathering of local and national wedding vendors in which they showcase their services one on one, face to face with brides in the hopes of them landing a deal for their services. All sorts of wedding vendors attend bridal shows, many vendors have assigned booths, some with a 10 X 10 foot booth space, some have a larger booth space. Bridal shows sometimes offers a dozen booths, some shows have around a hundred booths, a convention hall might offer hundreds of booths.

You can meet dozens of different types of wedding vendors at a bridal show, a partial list includes bridal shops, caterers, reception halls, ceremony sites, officiants, florists, reception decorators, bakeries, photographers, videographers, calligraphers, wedding musicians, wedding disc jockeys, transportation companies, travel agents, honeymoon destinations, jewelers, photo booth companies, sweet shoppes, wedding hairstylists, makeup artists, and many wedding vendors more.

Each wedding vendor booth is decorated to grab your attention and has an agent you can talk to that can talk about the services they can offer. Many booths are designed with logo banners, they might show props, pictures, slide shows, and videos on how they run their business. You will see booths with wedding dresses, bridesmaid's gowns, and groomsmen tuxedos. Many booths will hand out flyers, brochures, may offer voucher coupons, or may hand out a promotion gift with a little favor with their company logo or other contact information. Some gifts they may handout include a company engraved writing pen, notepads, calenders, logo highlighter, water bottle, a hand sanitizer, a candy or snack with their loge, or a sample of their work.

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Where Can You Find Bridal Shows

Bridal shows are found in various types of locations. You can find them in malls, upscale resorts and hotels, country clubs, convention centers, civic centers, department stores, and bridal shops. The bridal shows are advertised in numerous different ways. Often they will be advertised around town, they may be advertised on billboards, signs about town, newspapers, wedding related magazines, often on radio, on wedding related websites, and occasionally on television.

There are many websites that advertise upcoming bridal shows. Some popular websites that advertise them include weddingwire, greatbridalexpo, weddingzone, perfectweddingguide, wedalert, onewed, afnpi, dspibridalshows, and the weddingsource . You can also find local bridal shows using the internet by inputting your city in a search bar followed by "bridal show".

Bridal shows can vary in entrance fees, in a mall they might be free, some mid sized ones can run from a few dollars or run about $6.00 or $10.00 or a large event could run about $25-$30 but tend to offer lots of freebies, food, drink, and the opportunity to win a nice prize or maybe a free night hotel room or win a free honeymoon.

A bride attending a bridal show should pre-register online and sometimes the bride may be able to get into the show free or get a discount admission. Many times if a bride doesn't pre-register at the event, she may have to wait in line to enter, most bridal shows have the brides sign in so they can share the brides names with wedding vendors at the event. Most bridal shows will have the bride wear some type of identification as they go booth to booth. The identification may be a name sticker, a colored wristlet, or some type of marked sticker. This allows the vendor to know who the engaged brides are as they go booth to booth. At these shows you can be sure, engaged brides will receive lots and lots of attention.

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First Things To Do At A Bridal Show

One of the first things you want to do at a bridal show is pick up a bridal show program. You want to find a place to sit down and study the layout of the show itself and identify the vendors who will be in attendance, which ones you really want to talk to and find their location and avoid vendors you really don't need, visit the vendors that are most important and then if you have the time go back to the others for backups and to receive their literature and freebie possibilities.

If there is a fashion show as part of the bridal show, claim seats for the show, an hour before the show for you and any companions that came along with you, the object is to claim a good vantage point to view the event.

Many of the larger bridal shows will feature caterers, representatives from banquet halls, hotels, restaurants that host rehearsal dinners, bakeries, dessert shops, chocolate shops, candy bar buffets, and sometimes beverage companies such as coffee bars. Sometimes these companies provide a sampling of some of the delicious food that they offer. At some of these bridal shows you might attend a food tasting, sample hors d'oeuvres and appetizers, attend a cake tasting, sample desserts, or try a coffee beverage.

In some areas of the country, the bridal shower might offer a beverage bar, sample mixed drinks, or attend a taste testing of wine or beer. Often at these bridal shows, there will be wedding musicians such as a string quartet, a flutist, a violinist, a pianist, or a harpist playing a snippet of wedding music. At some booths you may be asked to wear earphones to hear music offerings that disc jockeys play as their specialty.

How To Carry Yourself At A Bridal Show

If you are serious about meeting wedding vendors at a bridal show, you don't want to invite too many companions along. Invite along people such as your fiance, your mother, a sibling, your maid of honor, a bridesmaid, best friend, or one who is helping you cover the cost of the wedding, anyone who you invite will surely have a good time.

Some fiance's would love to go and some might not be into it, don't pressure him. Tell him he may win free stuff and get samplings of delicious food. You could use someone to carry much of the materials you pick up such as the flyers, brochures, discount vouchers, and other freebie favors.

Be mindful of the company you might invite along, if you invite too many, you may get differing opinions on wedding matters and you risk some of your companions wandering off and you might find yourself hunting them down, defeating your purpose of collecting information from your different wedding vendors.

When you attend the event, wear casual clothes and make sure you wear comfortable shows, you want to take advantage of the day and sore feet can make you leave early. Don't carry much such as a coat or a heavy pocketbook, you will tend to collect a lot of materials at bridal shows. You may think to bring along a tote bag or you might search for a plastic one at one of the bridal show booths.

Bring along in your tote bag a bottle of water or your favorite drinking beverage such as flavored mineral water or soda. Also bring along a health snack that you like. Bring along a wedding timeline, which includes an approximate target to book different types of wedding vendors, bring along a good writing pen, a notebook, an appointment book, a calender, checkbook, credit cards, debit cards, a little cash, a plastic baggy for business cards, your camera or picture phone all to keep in your tote bag, and have a sheet with high level wedding category budgets.

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Groomsman Wayfarer Sunglasses

Preparing For The Bridal Show Event

One of the first things you want to do before attending a bridal show is to identify your wedding timeline, know around the time you want to meet with wedding vendors in your specific wedding categories. Some wedding vendors such as ceremony sites, reception halls, caterers, officiants, and wedding planners you want to identify 6 to 9 months before the wedding. Many of your other wedding vendors you want to book closer to your wedding date, such as 3 to 5 months before the wedding date, you will know more of your wedding theme, color scheme, distance to travel and wedding guest headcounts then.

Before attending a bridal show, a good idea is to prepare peeling address labels. If you have a computer you can use, create labels that shows your name, address, phone number, email address and wedding date. Another option is to create a stamp that you can carry with all your address information on it.

It's a good idea to open an email account that is a secondary email account, this email account is setup just for your wedding vendors. Set up this second email account so your primary email account does not get hit with all sorts of wedding advertisements, you may get plenty after you attend bridal shows and again as you meet with wedding vendors. Your name will be at both booths you visited and may get on a master list from the bridal show. Close your secondary email account about two weeks after your wedding or after you have identified all your wedding vendors.

Also during your wedding planning period, think of getting a PO Box account instead of having a normal mailing address. By doing this, you can prevent your mail box from filling up with a large amount of mailings, brochures, flyers, and advertisements. Check your Post Office Box a time or two each week before your wedding and cancel your PO Box once you are no longer interested in the mailings.

Meeting Vendors At Bridal Show Booths

The bridal show is good at helping you get comfortable in meeting with wedding vendors, you get ideas on lots of different things from the styles of wedding dresses and what color schemes captures your attention, you will get different ideas on foods to serve, arrangements of wedding bouquets, how to decorate both your ceremony and reception space, get ideas on photography formats, be exposed to different wedding music, design of wedding invitations, and many more things you can have for your wedding.

Your goal at the bridal show is to find wedding vendors you can click with, find what services they offer, get ideas for your wedding, find vendors you can afford, and answer any questions that you have. If you get a good feeling with a vendor, try to book an interview appointment around the time your timeline calls for booking a vendor for the wedding vendor category.

Your ultimate goal when booking a wedding vendor, meet at least 3 or 4 vendors in a wedding category before choosing one to go with. Always try to find a vendor you feel comfortable working with.

Often at bridal shows, especially big city bridal shows, some vendors will offer special pricing that is if you book the day of the show, or maybe a day or two after. This tactic, is often a sales gimmick, they will try to lock you in, minimizing your chance to book with another competitive vendor.

At many bridal shows though, you often don't get the chance to engage in deep conversation, your goal if you are interested in booking with any vendor, set an appointment for later according to your time line, when you meet negotiate a discount deal similar to the one they offered at the show. Remember, when negotiating with a wedding vendor, the bride has the upper hand, it's a brides money a vendor wants, there are many other vendors in every category that wants to work your wedding. Book a full interview with all your wedding vendors, negotiate their services and get all your questions answered.

One more note, whenever you encounter a major outlay of money paying for a vendor's services, always pay by credit card, even if you have cash. The reason, if a company goes bankrupt or non-performs their service to satisfaction you can get your money back, you are protected. If you pay by cash or check, there is a risk of not getting your money back.

Bridal Show Final Thoughts

Be prepared to spend 3 to 5 hours at the bridal show. At each booth you are interested in, pick up a business card, mark on the back of the card your interest level. Mark a 1 with strong interest, mark a 2 for medium interest, and mark a 3 for low interest. This will help you to identify the vendors that captured your attention at the show, it's easy to mistake names of businesses hours after an event.

Don't forget bringing along a peeling label or an address stamp when you attend the show or you may get writer's cramp signing in at each and every booth. Hit the important booths first and if you have time hit the less important booths. Some booths offer drawings, maybe you can get a free honeymoon, free room, or gift package. Most booths will leave you with a brochure, flyer, voucher coupon, or logo promotion favor.

Most bridal shows will feature two fashion shows, decide on which one to attend, the early or later one. Try your best not to book with the vendors at the bridal show, book later after a one on one interview appointment, try to meet with wedding vendors in a wedding category in a span of a week to 10 days and get back to the vendors and let each one know whether you are booking with them or not so they don't hold your spot so they can find another bride to work the day of your wedding.

Lastly, enjoy the bridal show with the ones close to you or with ones that are helping you to fund your wedding. For most engaged brides, you can really enjoy a bridal show one time in your life, for many it's an exciting day.

Bride's Planner

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