I am exhibiting at the Arizona Bridal Show at the Phoenix Convention Center January 11th and 12th!!! I am really excited to meet all the engaged couples! This is my fifth year doing the bridal shows. I feel confident in my experience at these shows to give some tips for attending a Large Bridal Show! These are the shows with more than 100 vendors vs smaller shows that venues put on of their preferred vendors. Let’s get right to the tips!
Tip 1: Know Your Goal
Were you recently engaged and are just starting your planning? Then you are probably looking for information to get your feet wet in wedding planning. Large bridal shows are a perfect place to do this! But just know, you will get ALL of the information. More than you know what to do with! Plan on stopping at all the booths that catch you eye rather than trying to stop at ever booth. Then set some time after the show to go through all the flyers you get!
Are you in the middle of planning and already have some of your vendors booked? Awesome! A large bridal show is great for you too! These shows have so many vendors that you will be able to meet a few in each category you still need for your wedding. Make a list of vendors you still need and only visit booths of those vendors. Pass up booths of vendor categories you already have booked. (Except for cake samples. Always stop for free food!)
Tip 2: Bring A Bag (or two)
A lot of these shows will have a ‘bridal bag’ for you when you enter the show. This is filled with lots of information from some of the vendors from the show. You can use this bag to collect all your flyers and free items, but I suggest bringing your own bag. Something that is super easy for you to tote around if it gets heavy. (Seriously, all of the flyers..) Backpacks, messenger bags, and rolling bags are some of the favorites I have seen.
Ok, but two bags? Yes! For the flyers and information of the vendors that you really hit it off with! It is helpful to have their information separate from the rest of information so you can easily follow up with those vendors.
Tip 3: Giveaway and Contest Entries
Most vendors will have some sort of giveaway or contest for you to enter. These are a great way to not only get some free items or discounted services, but a great way to connect with the vendor. Often you are agreeing to be signed up for a newsletter and/or contacted by the vendor when you enter one of these. So don’t be afraid to say no if you are not into that specific vendor. (Sure, a free cruise sounds cool, but you don’t need china plates and they will call you… a lot…)
To quickly enter contests you are interested in, you can create stickers with your information. You can get address stickers or business card sized stickers from the office supply section of Target or head into a Staples or Office Max. They will ususally have a template you can use to create the stickers. Here is the information you will want to include:
- Your Name
- Your Fiance’s Name
- Wedding Date (Month/Season/Year or TBD is OK)
- Wedding Venue (Or City, State if you do not have a venue yet)
- Your Phone Number
- Your Email Address
Some vendors will ask for additional information as well, but this is what most vendors will ask. So be sure to look at their form and fill in any information that is not included on your sticker.
Tip 4: Bring Your Fiancé
More and more couples are planning their weddings together. And this is a great time to plan together. Especially if you are looking for vendors that will be with you on your wedding day like photographers, wedding planners, dj’s, and venues. You will want to make sure you both get along with the vendor and this is a great place for first impressions. You can also taste catering and cakes together! And, you can narrow down your choices of each vendor category to a few to follow up with knowing you both enjoy those vendors!
Tip 5: Bring Helpers
Your fiancé can also be your helper! But, depending on how involved your fiancé will be in the planning, sampling, and talking to vendors, you may want extra help. Maids of Honor, Best Men, Siblings, and Parents are all good choices.
Here is the thing, brides and grooms (but especially brides) will be stopped and talked to at every possible opportunity. Your helpers will help make sure that you are able to achieve your goal for the show. Here are some ways they can help:
- Grabbing food samples for you to try (with the business cards/flyers so you know who is who)
- Buying you drinks and snacks!
- Scoping out vendors in advance so you can only stop at the ones that fit your needs! (Example, having a wedding out of town, they can make sure the vendors can travel before you stop at their booth!)
- Running interference. (So you don’t get stopped at booths you are not interested in. They can help you from getting needlessly stopped.)
- Entering you into contests. (Send them with your stickers!)
There you have it! My top 5 tips for surviving a Bridal Show. I hope you the best of luck and hope that you meet the vendors of your dreams!