Tips for Visiting Bridal Shows Near You
Maybe you’re thinking you can find all the ideas and information you need for your wedding online. It is, after all, 2021
Except you can check out a vendor’s website all you want, and it’s not going to be as inspiring as standing next to their wares, touching the displays in their booth, and enjoying free samples.
How can you get the most out of the wedding expos nearest you? Follow our tips, and you’ll be sampling vendors like a pro in no time.
Why Should You Go to A Bridal Show?
Your Pinterest board can only do so much. Attending the bridal shows nearest you gets you face-to-face with vendors, so you can make connections and gather inspiration. Also, free stuff! What’s not to love?
Here’s a list of some of the fun you could have at the bride expo.
- Do-it-yourself seminars from experts
- Great bargains only available at the expo
- Free wedding magazines for even more inspiration
- Staged fashion shows, to see the dresses in person
- Prizes, raffles, giveaways, as much free swag as you can carry!
Not only does the wedding expo showcase all the best vendors and venues in your area, it also includes all this fun.
Why a Wedding Show Near Me?
Another benefit of going to expos instead of looking for inspiration online is at the wedding expo you’ll be connecting with vendors in your local community. You might see the perfect cake on a pinterest board, but if the baker is in New Mexico and you’re in Maine, you’re out of luck.
Keep the expo close to home, even if you’re doing a destination wedding. In that case, you should still look nearby for your expo, and wander for inspiration, rather than looking to hire any specific vendors.
It’s easy to find bridal expos in your area. Simply search “bridal expo near me” and you’ll get many options near homebase.
Is It Your First Time Visiting a Bridal Show?
So, you’ve decided to go to a bridal expo. But you find thinking about all vendors, events, and products thrown together in one showcase kind of intimidating. Is everyone there going to be expensive and high fashion?
Quite the contrary. Don’t expect anything fancy when you go to bridal shows in the USA. It’s just a group of exhibitors and wedding enthusiasts looking to buy or connect with like-minded individuals.
Nonetheless, attending wedding expos near you can be a lot of fun. Wedding shows bring together the best in the business, so whether you’re browsing or buying, you’re sure to come away with better ideas for your own wedding.
Be the Bride or Groom with a Plan
When you enter a wedding expo, be prepared to see endless tables offering a variety of dresses, caterers, venues, and more. Everything to do with weddings is for sale here. With shows in the US, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by your options.
So, come prepared. Have a list on hand. What do you still need for your wedding? Are you looking for the right venue for your rehearsal dinner? Or the perfect honeymoon getaway? Having specific items on your list that you’re searching for will help you stay focused.
And it pays to do some research first. Check out the wedding expo’s website or social media. You’ll be able to view each vendor who has reserved a booth and find ticket information. Print out a map of the arena and mark the vendors you want to see. That way, you won’t just look at whoever is closest to the entrance before you get worn out.
Get Your Tickets in Advance
Wedding expos are popular events, and people often attend at least a year in advance of the actual wedding. Get it on your calendar as soon as possible and buy your tickets as soon as you pick the expo you want to visit.
Also, make sure you dedicate the whole day to the event. Don’t expect to go in without a good breakfast and restful night and come out with great ideas. You’ll be exhausted afterward from walking and considering, so don’t schedule anything after more stressful than a spa day!
If you’re getting married in the fall, attending the fall wedding expo is too late (unless you’re a year early!). So, make sure to get this in the start of your wedding planning calendar.
Pick a Buddy for Your Expo Adventure
Either go with your groom, maid/man of honor, or parent. You’ll want back-up as you traverse the sea of booths and need more hands to hold your free swag.
Make sure they’re up for the excursion! It’ll be a full day of walking, so don’t just assume your maid/man of honor will be honored to receive the invite.
However, we recommend one buddy, not two. While the idea of bringing the whole #bridesquad or #groomcrew might be appealing, you’ll find it difficult to coordinate that many people’s movement through the bridal displays, and it’s too many opinions to handle, as well.
Price Check the Expo Vendors
You can’t rely on the bridal show exhibitors to give you the best price for their products. Remember, it’s still a business for them. Make sure you have a good charge on your phone when you enter the expo so you can go online and check common prices for the items you want.
Besides double-checking their prices against wedding vendors online, make sure you hop from table to table and do a good survey of what’s available at the bridal show. Don’t just stop at the first disk jockey you see. Browsing like this is also a good way to connect with the sellers.
How to Interact with Wedding Show Vendors
You might not be sure how to approach and talk to the vendors at their booths, so we have a few pointers to help you get the most out of each interaction.
- Say hello and ask their name. Make sure to use their name when you speak to them. Being friendly will make the relationship smoother down the line, if you do hire them.
- Ask questions that are important to you. Don’t waste time with small talk if you have questions about their services or products.
- Tell them about your wedding! They are at this expo because they’re passionate about weddings. They want to hear your details.
- Ask about special offers. It doesn’t hurt to check, and most vendors do have some kind of special giveaway for visitors who book or buy at the expo, rather than waiting.
And remember: don’t wait for the vendors to reach out to you after the expo! Be proactive and email them as soon as you can, if you know you want their products or services, or even if you just want to chat more about what they offer.
Don’t delay! You’re probably not the only soon-to-be-wed who was impressed by them
What Should I Bring to a Wedding Expo?
Bring the big purse. You’ll want room to easily carry all of your swag and vendor information materials. Besides that, make sure you’re ready with the following items.
- Cards that include your name, email address, and wedding date
- Color coded sticky notes to attach to vendor information (green for follow-ups, yellow for maybe, or whatever works for your planning)
- Notepad for inspiration thoughts
- Many pens in case you lose one or two
- Charged cell phone with a battery pack, so you can take photos all day
With all this in your largest bag, you’ll be ready to conquer the wedding expo and gather great ideas.
What Should I Wear to the Wedding Expo?
Dress comfortably. You’re going to be walking all day, so no need to give a sneak preview of the elegance of your wedding day attire.
Incorporate your personal style as much as you usually do, since it will help the vendor get a read on what kind of fashion you like. But wear comfortable shoes and clothes you can stay in for a long day of browsing.
Cash or Card?
Way back when, you needed to have cash handy when you wanted to buy for weddings. Nowadays, however, exhibitors in Bridal Shows have gone high-tech. Many now use mobile devices that can scan credit cards. This is an effective sales tactic that keeps you within the wedding expo premises. It becomes more tempting to make an immediate purchase, right there and then.
Of course, you might want to pay in cash. If that’s the case, have some with you in case there are no nearby ATMs. You don’t want to mess up your wedding show flow by having to leave the arena and search for a bank.
But since most vendors will have a credit card scanner, you don’t need cash. You can also take a vendor’s information and make your purchase later, after you’ve had a chance to consider.
Wedding Show Etiquette: To Touch, or Not to Touch?
I know when I have beautiful fabric near me, I want to reach out and touch it. It’s a common, human impulse. But is it allowed at the show?
Most exhibitors will let you touch their bridal show merchandise. After all, this is a good way to demo their products. Giving you a tactile experience can move you closer to making a purchase.
Of course, this is not the same for every vendor or even the same for every item at one booth. There are some items that vendors in bridal shows don’t want touched, unless it’s with their assistance. This is often the case for high-end dresses, such as a silk gown or one with handmade, embroidered designs.
Most of the time, the vendor will make it clear they don’t want you touching their products. They’d likely have a sign up to let you know. If you’re in doubt, though, ask! It’s a great way to start a conversation with a vendor.
The Most Important Part of Visiting a Wedding Show Near You?
Have fun. Like your wedding itself, this is all about celebrating you, your partner, and your personal styles and style as a couple.
Follow what interests you, and don’t waste time at a booth just because it looks like cutting-edge fashion if you’re not into it. Find the items that speak to you. A happy bride and groom is the most important thing.
Of course, if there is a DJ booth cranking up the volume, take to the dance floor and shake your tail feathers. It’s good practice for your reception!