Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What you need to know about attending bridal trade shows

Are you newly engaged and never been to a trade show of any kind? Let me tell you, even if you have been to a trade-show, a BRIDAL TRADE SHOW is unlike any you have ever been to before. There are a few things that will help you survive with as little stress as possible. Most of all plan to spend time waiting in line to speak with vendors as you will be with other brides-to-be wanting the same information.

I will be truthful and say that some shows are better than others. Some are larger and sponsored by a magazine like Bride, InStyle or The Knot, others by smaller wedding organizations. Each will bring their personal style and vendors. Go to one of each (I’m sure you will go to more than that), and you will see. Bring your fiancée – remind him that this process is a team effort.

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. Even if you are used to walking in 4inch heels all day, the stop/go of a tradeshow will make even the heartiest heel-wearer tired. I’ve seen more than one bride complain about tired feet after a few hours at a show. Bring some flats – you’ll thank me later.
  2. Bridal shows will take a long time – so be prepared to spend at least 3-5 hours (depending on the size of the show) walking, talking, listening, and tasting.
  3. Bring at least 2 working pens and paper. This may seem like a no brainier, but you will be surprised that when it comes to registering for give-a-ways or initially registering when first walk in, you don’t want to depend on borrowing a pen from someone. Worse yet, you don’t want to register only to find out that your only pen has run out of ink.
  4. Enter every ‘give-a-way’ that is offered. You could win everything from a honeymoon, to china, your gown or limo service. It only takes a minute, but could be worth a lot of saved money in the end.
  5. Want to make this an eco-friendly trade-show, bring pre-adhesive address labels, if you have them, or print some up on your computer. This will also save you a lot of time when you register for prizes. Most exhibitors will want to know your wedding date, so write it in. This is one of the best usages for those mailing labels that you get in the mail that you were wondering what you were going to do with them.
  6. This is no time to be shy. Ask lots of questions, that's why vendors are there. This is their time to answer your questions and for you to see how they respond. Listen to the questions that other brides are asking – they may ask something that you didn’t think of.
  7. If you see a vendor that you like, a table setting that is on display or a band that is playing a great song, write it down. Remember that paper and pen I told you to bring, print very clearly any information associated with that ‘thing’ you like. If you have a camera (or a camera on your cell) take a picture so you can remember. This is no time to trust your memory!
  8. Some of your best discounts will be given at the show. However, don’t be pressured into doing it. Remember there are lots of people to see and you may want to get recommendations from others who have used their services before you put down a deposit. Ask the vendor if they will extend any show sale price until you have time to look at everything and speak with your fiancé. Most will say yes, and if they say no, really think about it. Do you want to work with some one who is inflexible?
  9. Let me say this again…TAKE YOUR TIME!! Gather all the information you can and take it home. Relax, grab a glass of wine and then go through all your goodies with your honey.
  10. Bring your fiancé, your Mother and girlfriends. Give them a list of things you are looking for and in an especially large show, spread out. You can cover more space that way. Meet after 1 hour and re-group – share information.

I love a good bridal show. It’s a time to say hello to some old friends in the industry, make some new friends, as well as see what’s new for the next season. While I attend a great many of them, it still makes me sad to see the panic on the faces of prospective brides, or all the prospective grooms hovering near the bar wishing he was any place other than a show. These shows should be fun and if you come prepared it will be. Here’s wishing you a good show!


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