So you’re engaged. Now what do you do? If you’re anything like me, you head straight to Wal-Mart, pick up tons of wedding books, then when you get home you turn on Say Yes to the Dress and pull up Pinterest to start planning.
Little did I realize when I started planning, I can’t do everything from behind a computer. Yes, it is the digital age, but wedding planning is an experience that allows you to meet new people and gain relationships with vendors. You’re not going to get a feel for the personality of a vendor by reading their “About Me” section of their Facebook page.
But how do you meet vendors? BRIDAL SHOWS.
Bridal shows allow brides and their fiances (if it doesn’t interfere with football of course) to meet vendors and even try out their products in one place. These things are usually huge and the best part is they ALWAYS have door prizes. I recently attended one in Lynchburg,VA with my wedding planning sidekick (so excited to have someone who is also planning a wedding by my side!), Victoria, and she won a gorgeous bridal jewelry set. They usually have prizes ranging from free engagement sessions, to free honeymoons, even a FREE WEDDING. How awesome is that?
Going to a bridal show can be overwhelming though. There are usually a lot of vendors, some of which you probably aren’t even interested in. I’m not going to lie, I tend to go to these events solely for the catering and cake tastings as well as the door prizes. To make sure that you don’t end up lost, dazed, and confused here are a few dos and don’ts for surviving a bridal show:
1. DO stop at every vendor. Even if you know that you won’t use that 90’s rock tribute band, stop and see what they have to offer. You never know, they may have other options that aren’t visible on their poster or a drawing you can enter.
2. DON’T give your email to every vendor. I’m guilty. I have a tendency of putting my email down on everything. The caterer who said their packages start at $5,000– pass. You’ll just get extremely confused once that email ends up in your inbox.
3. DO take a flyer from each vendor. If you’re just not sure if you should take a flyer, take one. When you get home at the end of the day, dump out your nifty tote you most likely received at the door and start organizing your flyers. Put them in piles of: vendors to contact, vendors to research, vendors to throw out.
4. DO come ready to eat. You may think that you won’t eat much at a bridal show, but trust me you’ll leave feeling stuffed. From hor dourves to cake samples, there will be something for every taste bud possible.
5. DON’T go it alone. Grab your mom, sister, cousin, friend, bridesmaid, fiance, whoever. This is supposed to be a fun experience. Being engaged is something you shouldn’t do alone. The people you take along are there to have fun with you and scope out possible vendors. They are a shoulder to lean on when you get confused and an extra arm when your bags get heavy with free stuff.
So start looking for bridal shows near you! It’s never too early to go, so here are some upcoming shows in the Lynchburg, Roanoke, New River Valley areas:
November 16, 2013– 16th Annual Bridal Showcase, Lynchburg,VA Kirkley Hotel & Conference Center
January 19, 2014– Greater VA Bridal Show, Roanoke,VA Roanoke Civic Center (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvP146cQ7cU)
January 26, 2014– Greater VA Bridal Show, Blacksburg,VA The Inn at Virginia Tech (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvP146cQ7cU)
January 5, 2014– Great Bridal Expo, Washington, D.C
The Great Bridal Expo is a HUGE traveling bridal show that goes all over the U.S. Tickets can be ordered online at greatbridalexpo.com for only $16.