Bridal shows are one of the biggest perks to being a bride in my opinion. I've attended a couple since I've been engaged, and I wish someone had given me the skinny before I made the trip. It's an interesting outing for a BSB, and personally, I'm not a negotiator or a “schmoozer” so it was a bit awkward for me at first. I want to lay it all out there so you can be prepared before the bridal show season hits.
- Invite a friend. This is a fun outing to bring a friend to, and sometimes you just need a partner in crime. Sure, you can bring your fiance…Josh was a champ and came along with me to help in making decisions, or you can ask a fellow bride (also fun). Or invite one of your girls whose a big fan of this kind of thing…always a blast!
- Make a list. Whether you're “just browsing” or well into your wedding planning, I recommend making a list before you go. Chances are, you can access the vendor list online, and note which ones you want to make sure to stop by. This is a great time to mark some of those wedding tasks off your checklist!
- Create address labels. This is a great tip because of all of the drawings you'll want to enter! It's way easier to slap on a label than have to write out the same info 20 or so times. Here's what you need: your name, address, e-mail, and wedding date. Warning: Don't put your phone number unless you really want them to contact you this way. I've had several vendors call at the same time every day which is super annoying, but I guess I gave them the okay by giving it to them.
- Take notes. Try to do this as you go through. This will help with the after-show analysis of who to follow-up with.
- Grab, enter, and schmooze! Grab as much free stuff as you can-pens, samples, Koozies (!)…all of it's for you. Enter the drawings. Schmooze with vendors who catch your eye.
- Keep all of that loot. It's good to keep the brochures and info vendors give you until you know for sure you're not going to use them. I attended a bridal show when I was looking for a photographer for our engagement pictures. I met one of the photographers at the show and kept the brochure. Once I was home, I did a lot of research on style, location, and pricing, and I remembered the woman I had spoken to at the show. I found the brochure, and it turns out the company had great style AND pricing though they were out of town. We chose them for our engagement and wedding photography and couldn't be more happy (more on them later)! Truly pays to do your research.
- Have fun! No matter who you go with, what you enter for, or who you talk to…remember to have fun. You're a bride, and they're there for you…so eat it up, BSB!