10 Tips for Getting the Most of Your Bridal Show Experience

As a wedding photographer, I love all things bridal, but I hold a special place in my heart for DIY weddings. I was a DIY bride, and those handmade, homemade details that brides incorporate into their weddings just sing to my heart! For all you DIY brides out there, I’ve decided to incorporate some fun wedding planning tips and ideas into my blog from time to time. Here to kick us off is guest contributor Ashley Plunkett, owner of The Elegant Bridal Expo, with some great tips for navigating those upcoming bridal shows.

Attending a bridal show can be overwhelming. There are so many vendors to talk to that it can be hard to know where to start. Just remember that these shows are for your convenience, not to add stress. Visiting with different wedding vendors in one convenient location only makes it easier to be able to compare prices and services and in turn, save you time and money. Follow these tips if you want get the most out of your bridal show experience.

1. Pre-register for the show.
Save yourself some time by registering before the show. It only takes a few minutes and it will save you from having to fill out a registration form at the show. Some shows will allow you to print discounted or free tickets online if you pre-register.

2. Set up a wedding email account.
This will be helpful in keeping your regular email free of spam or unsolicited mail.

3. Bring supplies.
Bring a notebook, pens and clipboard or even a wedding planner if you have one. This will help you take notes and jot down any ideas that come to mind. Bring a camera if you have one. This will allow you to quickly remember some of the fabulous things you saw at the show.

4. Bring pre-printed address labels.
Print labels that include full name, address, phone number, email and wedding date. This will save you a lot of time and writing when you are entering to win giveaways and raffles.

5. Arrive early and don’t forget your checkbook.
Most shows will offer prizes or giveaways to the first couple hundred brides so make sure you arrive early. Many vendors will offer a “bridal show only” discount and this can help you save even more money if you are able to find your wedding vendor at the show.

6. Bring the groom.
It’s his day too and he could be a lot of help in planning. If you find your perfect wedding vendor then you will most likely want his opinion before making arrangements. (Drive separately if you don’t think he would want to stay for the entire show or the fashion show portion.)

7. Wear comfortable shoes.
You will be on your feet for a few hours, so it will definitely pay to wear comfortable shoes. Also, leave your coat in the car so you don’t have to carry it around with you all day.

8. Bring your color swatches or pictures.
This will make it much easier to match linens, flowers, dress and cake and other wedding items to your color scheme.

9. Stay for the fashion show.
This is the highlight of the bridal show and it is usually the time when grand prizes are given away. You definitely won’t want to miss out!

10. Make a day of it!
You should plan on being at the show for several hours. Keep in mind that drawings and prize giveaways are typically made near the end of the show and you must be present to win. This will allow you to visit all the vendors and find everything you need for you big day!

The most important tip is to have fun! 🙂

Ashley Plunkett is a bridal show producer based in Springfield, IL, and the owner of an online bridal guide, SimplySpringfieldWeddings.com. When she is not working on her bridal shows and website, she enjoys spending time with her long-term boyfriend, and their miniature dachshund, Jeter.

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