Whether you’re newly engaged or you’re almost done planning the final details of your wedding, bridal expos are a great opportunity to meet local vendors, learn about tools to ease the wedding planning process and get great ideas to incorporate into your big day. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your bridal expo experience!
- If you haven’t already, create an email address specifically for all things wedding-related. Nowadays, email is the primary method of communication used between brides and their vendors, and at bridal expos you will be asked again and again to write your email and contact information on mailing lists and entry forms. Most vendors you meet at the expo will then be emailing you to follow up with things you might have discussed during the expo, to provide more information about their services, or to offer you special deals or discounts. Rather than letting all these vendors clutter your personal email inbox, set up an email account for wedding related business only. Just remember to check it frequently and to reply to all the vendors whose services you’re interested in!
- Have a plan. Take the time to do a little research about the bridal expo you’ll be attending, so that you know what to expect. If the expo is large and there will be a lot of vendors, keep in mind that you might not have the opportunity to stop and speak to every one, so concentrate on finding the vendors whose services you know you need. If there is a vendor you’re already interested in and you know that they’ll have a booth at the show, make visiting their table a priority. Also look for a schedule of events–such as fashion shows and raffles–so that you don’t miss out on those!
- Prepare a few questions for your vendors. You don’t want to just go to every booth, pick up a flyer or pamphlet and move on to the next table–vendors are there to answer all your questions, so you should have some questions to ask! Take a couple of minutes to write out a few things you want to find out more about–whether it be about their rates, availability, or you just want more details about their service. Vendors will be more than happy to answer your questions, and you’ll get all the information you were hoping for.
- Bring printed address labels with your contact information and wedding date. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll be asked for your contact information a lot during bridal expos. Rather than having to spend a couple of minutes at every booth writing out your information, come prepared with a few sheets of printed address labels with your name, address, phone number, email and wedding date, so that all you have to do is peel and stick that label onto all those sign up sheets. It’ll save you time and it’ll save you from writer’s cramp!
- Bring your parents, groom and/or a friend. Walking and talking to vendors all day can be hard work, and you shouldn’t have to do it on your own! If your parents, groom or a friend are taking part of the wedding planning process with you and you know you’ll want their opinions, bring them along to the expo. They can help you find vendors, remind you to ask questions you might have forgotten, and overall be a big help as you make your way through the expo.
- Bring a bag to keep all the brochures, pamphlets and any freebies you’ll be given. Vendors will be handing you all sorts of things throughout the expo and you’ll need a place to put it all– so bring a bag! Often when you arrive at the expo you’ll be given a canvas or plastic bag to carry everything in, but don’t assume that they’ll be available and be prepared with your own, just in case!
- Bring your calendar or appointment book. You’ll likely meet a few a great vendors during your time at the expo, and rather than waiting a few days to email back and forth and schedule a time to meet, book your appointment with them while you’re there at the expo! Vendors come ready to schedule meetings and appointments, and often offer specials or discounts for booking during the show. Take advantage of this, and bring your calendar so that you can schedule an appointment or book your vendor then and there!
- Wear comfortable shoes. Expos are often half a day long, and you’ll be spending all that time on your feet, walking around and speaking to vendors. Come prepared with a good pair of shoes that you know won’t leave you with aching feet!
Have fun. The whole wedding planning process should be enjoyable, so bridal expos should be too! Sign up for raffles and win prizes, head to where the caterers and bakers are and try out a few samples, and take the time to check out any fashion shows or activities going on. You’ll learn a lot and have a good time too!