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Bridal Shows – One Stop Shopping

2009-10Facebook Image-2Planning a wedding can be fun and exciting, but with so many plans to be made you’re going to need all the help you can get. Don’t sweat it Bridal Shows may be just what you need.

If you’ve ever planned a wedding before, you know the budgeting and myriad of details involved can be overwhelming. And if you’ve never planned a wedding before, you’ll soon discover the pressure of contacting and contracting with the church, the reception site, the caterer, the florist, the photographer, the videographer, and the musicians – – not to mention ordering invitations, sending thank you notes and finding gifts for your bridal party.

Feeling stressed yet? Well don’t – – whether you are newly engaged, almost ready for the big day, or planning a second wedding, attending a bridal show will save you an abundance of time and significantly reduce the amount of stress you may experience. 

Bridal shows are an inexpensive and timely way to meet and speak directly with a vast variety of wedding professionals from your hometown at one time, in one location! They can help you to get started planning or help you acquire those last minute services to make your event special and unique. 

If you are an encore bride (planning your second or third wedding), don’t hesitate to attend a bridal show. So many new wedding ideas have emerged since your first wedding and a show is an ideal venue to soak it all in.

With shows being a one-stop shopping experience under one roof, a bride can virtually plan her entire wedding in just one day if she is prepared ahead of time. Here are some helpful hints to benefit the most from your bridal show experience:

Establish your wedding budget ahead of time. Make a list of what you need the most and what portion of your budget you wish to allocate to each service/product. 

Plan to spend half of the day there.  Allow enough time for parking, registration, watching the fashion show (usually it lasts approximately one hour), and time to view exhibits before & after the fashion show.  When you get there, go to those businesses who have what you need the most first.

Pick up any information available.  Take some time to look over what you’ve collected once you get home.  Make notes on the literature at the show while it’s fresh in your mind.

Be prepared to make decisions and put deposits down on services. Bring those people who are vital in helping you make decisions, or at least bring someone to bounce off ideas.  Wedding dates fill up quickly once an exhibitor participates in a bridal show.  If you know you definitely want to book with a service provider at a show, they’ll probably require a deposit to hold your date.  Each exhibitor will have its own requirements for payment be it cash, check, or credit cards.  Read contracts carefully and inquire about refund policies before giving any money.

Bring color swatches of the material and ribbon in the colors of your wedding, and even photos of your wedding gown.  This will assist bridal shops, bakeries, florists, and many other professionals in generating ideas to complement your wedding theme.

Bring printed address labels and a pen. Some shows have multiple prize drawing opportunities through the show producer and/or offered by the individual vendors.  To avoid having to write your name, address, phone number, and wedding date 50 times, consider bringing some address labels with all the information on it, or make up your own computer labels that include your phone number (which is usually required for all drawings). If you do print your name on entry forms, write neatly and legibly.

Bring a calendar or date book to help you schedule appointments with potential service providers after the show.

Arrive early regardless of which fashion time you choose, approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours before the fashion show.  Fashion show seating is typically first come, first serve.

If you can’t attend personally, send your mom or a friend to pick up information for you. You may even still qualify for prizes at some of the shows.

Grooms-to-be are always welcome!  Bridal shows are not just for brides, there are plenty of wedding plans that may require the groom’s input. 

By all means, ASK QUESTIONS! The vendors are there to help you. You are under no pressure to buy from them, so find out everything you need to know.

When used to the fullest extent, you can plan your entire wedding with the help of just a few shows and without having to fight traffic and drive all over town.  How many shows you decide to attend is up to you. If you only have time to attend one show, try choosing a show that is either produced or sponsored by professionals that specialize exclusively in weddings. However, the more of them you can attend the more time and money you can save. And who knows, you might just win a valuable prize!

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