The Lace and Frills of Wedding Planning
Garter Gossip

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bridal Show Season is Here!!

….I apologize that this article is so huge, turns out I have a lot of opinions on this stuff… Enjoy :)
Bridal Show Season is here!
Bridal Shows can be extremely helpful for every aspect of your wedding planning, but can be a little bit overwhelming for some Brides. These are just some things you may want to keep in mind when choosing which shows to attend.
It’s better to attend shows in the area the wedding will be held. You want local vendors for your wedding so you don’t get charged extra fees for travelling suppliers. That said; if your wedding is very far from where you live it may not be practical to go to a local show. Also, small towns don’t often host bridal shows.
Larger cities host larger shows! If you’re easily overwhelmed or already have a lot of your wedding plans made, getting asked by 50 different bakers if you’d like a cake sample might not be fun. On the other hand if you’re still in the beginning stages of planning, going to a very big show can give you LOADS of ideas and get you thinking about what you like and don’t like, or little things (like Garters!) that you might not have thought of.
Bridal Shows typically happen in the Fall and the Winter, January and February being the most popular. Do your research and figure out which shows you’d like to attend. Ask around to other people who have gone about the quality of the shows (and the vendors) they will likely have an opinion about their experience. Think about who you’d like to take to the show with you. Sometimes an overly large group can be tricky to manage in a crowd and can make your time there longer or not as well used as it could be. But of course you probably don’t want to go alone. Think ahead of time about what areas of planning you’ve already covered and which ones you need. If you already have a DJ but you still don’t have a gown you’ll obviously want to spend more time talking to the dress shops than the bands.
TAKE A PEN! (or two…or three…trust me on this)
If you’ve decided on going to a show, check out their website and the sites of some of the vendors who will be there. They often will have coupons you can print out for discounts on either their services or the admission to the show. Some shows offer free admission for the bride but not the entourage, some will give you half price if you register ahead of time or if you bring a non-perishable food item. And some shows you can only get tickets to in advance. Price of admission typically ranges $5-$25 per person and depending on the venue parking might be extra.
Be prepared to be asked the same question A LOT! If you haven’t set a date for your big day, telling people “spring” might prove to be easier than saying “we’re not sure yet” and of course nobody’s going to hold you to it if you change your mind. If there are vendors you’ve pretty much decided on using already be sure to ask about discounts for booking at the show or hang onto coupons you can get.
Speaking of stuff you’ll get asked, soooo many booths will have a draw you can enter to win stuff so DO! Although, use your discretion and enter draws for stuff you actually would want/need. If you’re snow white pale and the very idea of being outside makes your skin pink maybe avoid the draw for the tanning salon. Or if you’ve already got a deposit down on your Groom’s tuxedo, don’t enter the draw for the tux shop, you likely won’t be able to get your deposit back from the other place. It can be a good idea to print up some labels ahead of time if you plan on entering a lot of these draws (or some shows will do your stickers for you if you register ahead of time!) It will save you a lot of writing and spelling your name and address to a lot of people. Don’t forget to ask when the draw will take place, and if it’s just for this show or for a number of shows in the area.  Be sure to include:
·         Bride and Grooms first and last names
·         Wedding date and City of the event
·         Phone number and address
·         Email address***
*** This email address thing can be a bit tricky. You can expect to receive emails from the vendors you give your email address to. Although shows hosts are very strict about vendors sending you spam mail. (If you find yourself getting too much mail from a show vendor I recommend you email the show hosts about it) Don’t forget you can always unsubscribe from these emails. A new trend right now is to have an email address specifically for your wedding! Which is very cool and I’m sure very handy, if you haven’t done this already, it might be something you want to do before the shows and use this email address on stuff. Simple as “” and you can simply shut down the account after the big day passes. Some online communities you might join i.e. will provide you with an email address like this specifically for this purpose.
Cake samples! …..Enough said.
Fashion shows happen at all of these things, keep your program and write on it any dress shops you want to visit for dresses you see in these shows. In a lot of cases they won’t allow you to photograph the dresses in the shows so don’t depend on that to remember what you see. It also doesn’t hurt to mention that some vendors (florists, bakers, decorators and dress shops specifically) can be particular about taking pictures of things in their booths so it’s best to ask permission before snapping away.
Take a little bit of money with you. I’m not saying put down a deposit on the spot for $2000 with a photographer or anything, but there might be stuff there you feel like you need to have right then! It might not even be something related to weddings, just as a for instance, last year I bought myself a newspaper subscription at the show (that I regularly buy anyway) for 75% off just because I bought it at the show, when they were there asking people to put in engagement and wedding announcements.
Swag bags will have lots of useful stuff in them! You’ll want to take another bag with you though because you WILL get handed a whoooole lot of stuff. If you were tricky you could use one bag for stuff you actually want to look at and another for stuff you take just to be polite. Look for coupon codes or “bring this flyer in to save $$” kind of things on these handouts and always check for the expiry date of the promotions. If you choose to go with a vendor you saw at a show it doesn't hurt to mention that you saw them there! It will make them happy and they might be willing to give a show promo when you’re booking.
Keep your options open. Most importantly you go to these shows to see what’s available and to get ideas so don’t get bullied by pushy vendors into committing to anything you’re unsure of. It’s fun more than anything so take it all in as part of your Bridal experience just like a shower or a stagette, sometimes it’s nice to be the centre of attention. 


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