Now you have to plan the wedding of the year, but have no clue how to start. Don't worry, tons of brides feel the same way.
Bridal Shows are a great way to test the waters, in a sense. Think giant trade show, but all for you, the bride!
I wrote a little bit about them here and here, but never really included tips for the brides-to-be. I usually attend shows as a vendor, but I've also attended one as a faithful maid of honor (in case you needed my credentials :))
1. Bring people that you trust. Don't bring that girl (and we all know "her") who disagrees with everything you say for fun. Bring those who know what your vision is and who will back you up.
2. Along those lines, don't bring all 10 of your bridesmaids. Two or three (think your mom and sisters or maid of honor) should be fine. Plus Pro Tip: it's really hard to keep up with more than that in a crowd--and believe me, it's crowded!
3. If this is your first show, and you have nothing picked out, talk to as many people as you can. Get as much information as you can.
4. From a vendor's point of view, don't stop at a booth JUST for the free food. At least have some sort of conversation.
5. An especially helpful thing to do (that I saw being done A LOT at a few shows this past year): you'll be asked to write down all of your personal information or at least communicate it at least a dozen times. It gets annoying to say your email, address, phone number etc. over and over AND it leaves room for the sales person to get your info wrong (been there. done that).SO...have stickers with all of that info already typed out. It makes it so much easier on the vendor to put that sticker with our notes rather than try to decipher OUR OWN or YOUR handwriting.
6. Keep an open mind, but stick to your budget. Sure that photo booth may the coolest thing since sliced bread, but it's also $4000 over your budget. Trust me, there are sooo many pretty things, you'll want it all. Refer to #1. There's a reason why you have those people keep you on track.
7. If you already have a caterer/venue/dress, etc. (and especially if you already put a deposit down) DO NOT continue to shop for those things. Recipe for a nightmare. Plus a waste of everyone's time.
8. Go with a list of questions and do your research. If you are shopping for a venue, research real weddings that they've done! Chances are, they remember the details. (I always dread those people that come by, say hi, grab a piece of food, and leave.) Talk to us!
9. You should only need to go to about 2 or 3 of these shows. I suggest going to a show in your "wedding city" so you can get to know local vendors. If you find everything at the first show you go to, going to more is redundant.
10. Last, but not least... HAVE FUN! The people who put the shows on really aim to make it a fun experience! Register for giveaways, drink the (sometimes free) booze and get to know your local wedding professionals!
Let the wedding festivities begin--because I said so!