Calling all brides-to-be! Have you considered attending a bridal expo? These fantastic events can be some of the best ways to get a crash course in wedding planning — but, they can also be overwhelming. But, never fear! I am going to share some of the best tips for how to make the most of your day at a bridal expo!
Bring your ideas!
One of the most important things you can do to make the most of your bridal expo experience is to come prepared with the details of your big day! First and foremost, wedding vendors need to know your planned date in order to determine whether working together will even be possible. If the vendor is already booked for your date, it is better to know that in advance rather than to get your hopes up! And, if that vendor is unavailable, they may be able to recommend another trusted colleague who you may also want to look into.
Secondly, know your budget. While it is okay to not have a strictly-defined budget, it is important to keep in mind an approximate price range while seeking out vendors. You should have rough ideas of what you are planning to spend in each category.
Additionally, it is helpful to come prepared with ideas about your overall vision and style for your big day. While it is always exciting to explore a range of options, it can also make your search less overwhelming to begin with goals in mind. For example, if you love a light and airy style, you probably won’t want to look into photographers with a more dark, muted style.
Photo: Bold as Love Studios
Who doesn’t love free stuff? Giveaways are some of the most fun parts of bridal expos! At nearly every table, you will find vendors offering special deals, free items, giveaways, or raffles to attendees. Make the most of this! These offers are a great perk of attending this type of event. In addition to individual vendor deals, be sure to check out any door prizes, special prizes given out at certain times of the day, or grand prize giveaways. Sometimes, show sponsors will offer particularly big giveaways, so don’t miss out on these free opportunities!
And, on that note… Keep in mind that you will be writing your name and information a lot. In addition to signing up for giveaways, the main purpose of a bridal expo is to make connections with many potential vendors for your wedding. This means that you will probably need to write out your name and information a lot to sign up for email lists and book consultations. You may find it easiest to print out your name, phone number, and email address on a label so that you can avoid re-writing this info all day. This will save you lots of time! However, if you can’t print out labels, be sure to come prepared with a pen!
What do I bring?
Bringing a bag is always a good idea. You will receive many free items, business cards, and pamphlets from a multitude of vendors that you visit at the expo. It’s easiest to keep these in a bag so that your hands can remain free to look deeply through the products that each vendor has to offer. A notebook and pen are also great things to keep in your bag; you never know when you may want to take notes about a specific vendor, prices, or inspiration that you have!
Secondly, make sure to have a light lunch. You want something that will give you energy to last throughout this long day. However, there will often be caterers offering small free tastings that you may want to take advantage of! Other vendors may offer treats like cookies as well. In addition, mobile bars are super trendy right now! There are typically 1-3 of these bars at a given expo, so come prepared to sample!
The last — but perhaps most important — thing to bring with you is your “wedding buddy”! The person that you bring to a wedding expo should be someone that you are excited to talk about your wedding with. This can include your future spouse, maid-of-honor, or other close friend or family member. But, keep in mind that this person should be invested in making your dreams come true. For instance, if you and your mother don’t see eye-to-eye on your wedding plans, it may be best to bring someone else instead. You don’t need extra people with contradicting opinions that will hinder your vendor search. Similarly, children are going to be bored at a wedding expo, so it may be best to leave the young ones with someone at home instead!
Don’t be afraid to commit!
If you say you will circle back to someone, you may forget or run out of time, you may become too tired at the end of the day, or that person may become booked in the meantime!
Now, that’s not to say that you have to fully commit and sign a contract that day with every potential vendor you meet. But, booking a consultation at the expo is the best way to ensure that you will have the opportunity to work with that person! Remember, consultations are non-binding, so no need to be hesitant! But, if you’re on the fence, or encounter multiple vendors of one category that you like, write down their information so that you can do more research when you get home. There are few things worse than not being able to remember the name of that one vendor whose work you adored when you get home!
Take care of yourself!
Wedding planning is stressful business. And, like I said, a bridal expo is a crash course in wedding planning! Speaking with so many vendors and wading through a non-stop day of wedding information can be overwhelming. The best advice I can offer after this busy day of planning is to take the night off! It may be tempting to immediately go through all of your information while it is still fresh in your mind, but this is where your notes will come in handy! Taking the night off allows you to relax and reset so that you can come back to your information the next day with a clear head!