1. Have a Plan! Make a list of vendors or services that you need or are interested in. Having a plan of the booths you want to visit will help keep you focused and that means a better chance of staying on budget and getting the information you really need.
2. Pick the perfect time. Do not plan on stopping into a bridal show when you have other obligations. Plan on spending some time getting to know vendors and asking questions. Its best to go when you are not starving or when you know you will not be able to concentrate. Plan a leisurely time to enjoy all that the show has to offer.
3. Take notes. Don’t expect to remember every idea or to recall which vendors you liked. Write down your favorite vendors or new ideas so that you can review them in a less hectic atmosphere.
4. Ask questions. Vendors want to answer questions about their services. If you like what you hear, make note and ask the vendor if they can contact you at a later date. If a service is not right for you, say “no thank you, not what I’m looking for” and move on. Don’t be shy, ask away!
5. Bring pre-printed labels with your name, address, phone number, email and wedding date. This will save you time filling out vendor forms and entering giveaways. If you are not interested in a service, reconsider filling out the form or entering for the sweepstakes. This will keep down the amount of phone calls, emails and mail that will come in after the show from businesses that you have no interest in.
6. Bring a friend or family member. Opinions and support of those we love and trust can be beneficial when making big decisions on services. Enjoying the planning process with those close to you will be a memorable experience for all involved.
7. Take advantage of special promotions. Some vendors may offer perks or discounts as a “show special” if you book them at or shortly after the show. If you already know that you will choose a certain vendor, ask about special pricing or benefits to booking at the show.
8. Attend a few shows and don’t overlook other methods of finding that perfect vendor. You will meet a wider variety of vendors by attending at least two shows. Remember that a bridal show is a great way to meet new vendors or follow up with someone you may have been considering. One bridal show will not have every vendor and you may be missing out on a great one by limiting your options. Once you find a vendor you trust, ask for referrals too!
9. Keep the swag! If you pick up information from vendors you are interested in. Keep it. Tag the swag you receive with a sticker or a note about what you liked about them. Having the vendor’s printed material to refer back to when you are in the final stages of planning can be valuable information and will help you keep details organized.
10. Have Fun! This is a special time in your life. Planning your event should be filled with happy memories, not stress and indecision. Relax and know that the planning of your wedding and visiting bridal shows is part of your wedding story. Make the pages of your story be filled with fun and joy. It will set the stage for the big day ahead!