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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ten Tips For Attending Bridal Shows

After you get engaged all of a sudden you are inundated with places to go and things to do. One of those things are bridal shows. If you live in a major metropolitan area you'll have a huge choice of shows.  If you live farther out in the country, not as many.  But the same basic tenets apply.
  1. Determine how many bridal shows you plan to go to.  If you are planning to go to more than one or two, it's time to have a plan.  You'll want to hit one large show (which could put you off shows forever, but be aware, the smaller shows aren't as big a crush).  The larger the show the more likely you are to have a variety of venues, photographers, and honeymoon destinations. Choose one large show, and two smaller ones.  If you have ideas about venues you are considering booking, choosing a show there will give you a good idea of their organizational skills. Also you frequently get to taste food at smaller shows (always a bonus if you don't want to pay risk not tasting food until after you sign on the dotted line.) I suggest choosing one higher end venue and one mid/to lower end venue.  This lets you compare and contrast what each offer you.
  2. Make a list of vendors you want to contact while you are at the show. If you only need a photographer or DJ, hit those booths first.  Quick tip: I've found some great venue tips from DJs at bridal shows.  They know who is easy to work with and who has problem weddings. 
  3. Carry 'bridal' business cards with your contact info.  Some brides come with labels pre-printed with their name, address, phone and email address.  This lets you have more productive time with a vendor instead of wasting time filling out this info by hand.
  4. Make a list of questions you want to ask vendors.  At a smaller show you may well get some good one on one time. If not, carry your datebook with you so you can make appointments. 
  5. Don't be afraid to admit you're just starting to plan your wedding or don't have a date yet.  Usually a ballpark like 'summer of 2013' works for a vendor.
  6. Look for vendors who are actively engaged with brides. These are vendors who aren't sitting behind a table talking to the people running the table next to them.  These are vendors who are looking at YOU. If they can't focus on you at a bridal show ...
  7. Some shows encourage you to bring your fiance. While there are hundreds of brides per show, there aren't as many grooms.  So if you're looking to win a prize.... take a groom. 
  8. Don't waste your time all at one table. Stop at a table, get their "elevator pitch" and move on. Then take a break and make a note on the business cards of the details you want to touch base with a vendor about.
  9. Take advantage of free services if you have time, but don't waste your day waiting in line to get your makeup done. The show is short, make the most of the time you are there. Usually someone doing makeup is selling it, make an appointment with them for a 'trial,' scheduled after the show.
  10. Don't forget, good manners go a long way. I know one venue that gave brides a 10% discount for writing them a thank you note! Wow! That's a big savings.  Also if you see the person there who has organized the show, it doesn't hurt to let them know you've enjoyed the day. Your mother would be soooo proud.

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