Holy Cow!!! Four days later and I still have not recovered from my first Bridal Show. Sheeshhhh that was exhausting. Anywho, here are my suggestions to prepare for and get the most out of your Bridal Show experience.
1. Go later in show. The Diva Bridal Show hosted by Indy Weddings Ideas was scheduled for 12-4. My friend and I went around 2 and I couldn’t have been happier we decided to do so. By this time, a lot of the other brides had come and gone allowing me to avoid lines when speaking with vendors. I was also able to make better use of some of the free services that were offered like massages and make-up applications without the vendor being in a hurry to assist the bride behind me. But hey, if masses of brides (and some bridezillas), their moms, and other support almost running to get that next red velvet cupcake are your thing, then by all means show up on time!
2. Bring ONE person to help you. I could not get over the number of groups of Don’t Need to be Here Debbies I encountered. Out of respect for your fellow brides, stick to one entourage member. If you are at the other end of the spectrum, and were thinking about going alone, I would suggest otherwise. Having Rachel there with my was great because she could help me ask questions I forgot to ask or remind me which vendors I liked and didn’t like when we went through the paperwork. It was also great to have someone else’s opinion of the food, cake, and bubbly we tried. Yes, you are the one getting married, but you are still throwing a party and still want to entertain your guests.
3. Name and Address Labels. If you plan on giving your information to vendors for them to contact you after the show, bring stickers or labels that already have your name, street address, email and phone number. It will save you a ton of time and the hand cramps.
4. Stay Organized. Come to the show armed with a binder or notebook to help you organized the vendors you talk with. You will walk away with enough vendor business cards you could use them to paper your bathroom. I suggest a page with insert spaces similar to what baseball card collectors use. You can use a business card filer, but that doesn’t leave a lot of room for you to write comments. I didn’t do this for my first show, but wouldn’t imagine going to another show without some sort of organizational, sanity saver.
As overwhelming of an experience as the show was, I was so glad I went. The free cupcakes, cake pop, wine, and catering samples were awesome, but I also got to interact with photogs, invitation wizards, and flower fairies. This is a key piece you miss out on when communicating with vendors via e-mail. I eliminated several vendors because I got the heebee-geebees or they annoyed me worse than Miley Cyrus. I also clicked with a photog and I am now reworking my budget to see if we can afford her.
Go in with an open mind, ready to be bombarded with information and enjoy some good cake, and you will survive the bridal show.