Those big, bad events where you can “plan your wedding in a day”. I remember attending a Phoenix bridal show myself as a bride-to-be. My sister and I went to one, excited to find all the best vendor options and get inspirational ideas. Really, just anything wedding sounded like a blast. But when we got there, this introvert went into survival mode. We would go up and down each row of booths, pausing at the end of each one to take a breath. It was a little overwhelming. Okay, a lot overwhelming.
Take it from a planner–when you go in with a plan, you can get more out of bridal shows. If you prefer video, head over to my YouTube channel and see my video about Bridal Shows.
So, what do you need to know?
STEP ONE: First of all, create a unique email address solely for your wedding. Maybe it’s a combination of your names, or it’s your hashtag…just pick something you’ll remember and make sure you both have access to the account.
Here’s why this is so important. When you are all married and happy and living happily ever after, you’ll go back into that email account and find thousands of emails from vendors who have added to you their lists from those shows. Or, in this case, you’ll just delete your account.
STEP TWO: Now, take that new email address and print it onto sticky labels (go for small ones, if possible) along with your full name, wedding date and city where you plan to get married. Now, when you find a cool booth with a freebie drawing, you can just put your sticker on their sign-up sheet instead of writing out the same info a million times.
STEP THREE: Pick one buddy. You most likely won’t want to do this alone, and you definitely don’t want to take a big group of people and have to herd everyone through the crowd. Choose someone whose opinion you trust and appreciate and take them with you.
STEP FOUR: Take a sharpie and post-its or washi tape with you. You’ll get a big ol’ bag of swag and then you’ll pick up the brochures of vendors you meet and like at their booths and guess what you’re going to do. You’re gonna dump those into your swag bag. When you get home, you’ll have no idea which ones you liked or why. So, as you grab the info of those vendors you love, write a quick note about what they offer that intrigues you and stick it on their brochure.
LASTLY: Respect the vendors at the bridal show. These people are on their feet for long, long days, for multiple days on a weekend and guess what–if you aren’t interested in their booth or what they’re offering, they won’t give it a second thought; they’ll just move on to the next person. Unless you’re vague, or rude. If a vendor calls out to you as you pass and you really aren’t interested, just say, “no thanks” or “I already have a photographer, thanks” and move on. You don’t need to linger at every booth and you don’t need to act like you *might* hire someone. Just be honest and you’ll both be happier.
Have fun and happy planning!