For most brides and their wedding posse, attending bridal shows is one of many highlights in the planning process. Entering a space that has been designed to cater to your specific needs and filled with vendors eager for your business is exciting and often overwhelming. In many cases, after speaking with more than 50 different businesses it becomes hard to keep names and faces straight. Here are some tips to making the most out of your bridal show experience.
#1 Have a Game Plan
When you walk into the show, know what vendors you are seeking out. If the priority for the day is finding specialty linens and a killer DJ, visit those booths first. You will find that the businesses attending the show are interested in having a conversation with you regarding your event to find out how they can best service you. These conversations can sometimes become lengthy, but are critical in determining your feelings about moving forward in the booking process. Being able to meet with and speak to certified representatives is a very valuable resource that should be taken advantage of by any bride.
#2 Become Close Friends with Your Budget
You and your budget should know each other’s secrets by now. You should know what your bottom line is, where you intend to splurge and where you need to save. Most bridal shows have vendors from all different price points exhibiting and it helps to focus on those who are within your resources. Without a doubt you will see many displays that appeal to you. Most companies bring displays that are designed to knock your socks off and a lot of times these displays are only viable for 10% of bridal clients. Keep in mind that while the $500 centerpiece that was displayed at the show was beautiful, it won’t even closely resemble the $100 centerpieces that are more closely suited to your budget. While some vendors specialize in high end weddings, there are others who are more suited to the moderate and cost effective brides.
#3 Take Advantage of Show Specials
The goal for any vendor at a bridal show is to book business. To entice you to make a decision sooner rather than later, many companies offer show specials for that day. You may see that a vendor is willing to add some value into the package at no charge or even discount your order by a specific percentage. Sometimes these gestures may seem small in terms of the grand amount you are spending, but they do add up. As my Mother always told me, a dollar saved is a dollar earned. If you know that you love a particular florist’s work and see that they are running a show special, do yourself a favor and book it! You are only committing to doing business with them and locking in your special rate, all of your decisions and designs are still able to be altered and agreed upon. It is always better to book your vendors earlier rather than later to take advantage of current pricing and to ensure that the vendors you want will be available for your date.
#4 Bring Inspiration
If you have a photo of something specific you are looking for, bring it with you! A picture is worth 1,000 words and is very helpful for any vendor. A company can tell you almost immediately if they have in stock or can get what it is that you are looking for. Someone at the show will know exactly who to refer you to for a specialty product.
#5 Entourage Not Necessary
Bridal shows are packed houses. When you are traveling through a show with multiple people, you will find that each and every one of them wants your attention on 5 different things at once. It is best to bring your mom, your fiancé or your maid of honor and keep the group small. Going with less people will provide you with more time to speak with vendors, less guilt about not entertaining everyone and will allow you to really hone in on the reason you are there. The opinions that truly matter most at the end of the day are the bride and the groom’s.
And with these 5 simple tips, I send you off into bridal show season. May you enjoy plentiful cake samples, extravagant displays and free samples until you burst out of your skinny jeans!