9 Tips for Navigating an Upcoming Wedding Show

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As things open up more and more in Ontario it’s time to look ahead to all the wedding shows! Traditionally they are held in September and January or February so keep an eye out for them popping up at your local venues in the new year – fingers crossed! It’s a great day out with your bridesmaids and friends – even the guys are catching on to how much fun these shows are!

I love wedding shows and they are a great way for you to meet lots of vendors all at one time, see their work, chat with them about your wedding vision, and try out their products. And you might even get some new ideas! There’s no need to waste time trying to find each vendor individually when you have them all in one room with their calendars ready to get you booked in right there and then. It’s like speed dating for vendors and it’s the perfect opportunity to see what they look like, sound like, and smell like! Trust me on that one – I’ve heard the horror stories!

Something to keep in mind – don’t assume the vendors there are hand picked! Many weddings shows fill the room with anyone who will pay the booth fee without ever vetting them. If the show you want to attend is at a wedding venue, ask the management if the vendors are their preferred vendors or if the show is open to any vendors who want to come in. When a show is just preferred vendors, you know these are the best vendors in the area, and the venue knows how they work, how they treat people, and that they can be trusted because they have lots of experience with them.

Bonuses! You will see the latest trends, get tons of freebies and samples, and you might win prizes and get discounts for booking on the spot! I have cute Easter eggs that each have a dollar amount inside them – book me at the show and you get to pick and egg and find out what your discount will be! So much fun right?

Decide on a budget beforehand.

It’s important to have a budget in mind before you attend a wedding show. This will help you narrow down your choices and allow venues and suppliers to provide you with a quote based on your specific budget. ProTip! Before you write your budget down, research what things actually cost! It’s important to know what the average is in your community before getting frustrated that you can’t find a $50 Officiant or a $200 caterer. Your budget should be based in the reality of what vendors charge, not what anyone thinks they should charge.

Create a separate email address.

Chances are, you’re going to be handing out your email address quite a bit during a wedding show so it’s best to create an email specifically for wedding planning purposes. This ensures that you can keep all quotes and communications in one place that’s away from your work and personal emails. ProTip! Print a sheet of stickers of your name, address, and email to stick onto ballots so you aren’t spending your whole day writing it out at every booth! Also – check that email! It’s so frustrating when I am given the wedding email to communicate with couples and they never check it. You could run the risk of forfeiting your vendors and deposits because of lack of communication. Make a point of checking that email once a day!

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Take Pictures.

There is so much to see at a wedding show and you never know when inspiration might strike so either bring your camera along or just use your phone so that you can easily some pics of ideas that you might like to use. Don’t forget to take photos of the vendors you like with their booths so later on you can match faces to businesses and names!

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Come hungry.

Wedding shows include caterers and bakers so come hungry if you want to try out food and cake samples from various suppliers. Most wedding shows will also have their own general food booths so you definitely won’t leave with an empty stomach.

Have your calendar ready.

Many suppliers are ready to offer discounts to couples who book a consultation with them at the show so have your calendar at the ready so that you can take advantage of these types of offers. Be ready to book a vendor right there and then if you love them! There are only so many wedding dates available in a season so if you find one with your date and time open, lock them down! Remember, if you love them, most of the other couples in the room will love them too!

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Wear the right clothing.

Not only should you wear comfortable shoes because you will be on your feet all day but you should also wear clothes that will make it easy to try on wedding gowns should you want to. ProTip! Wear a shirt that buttons up rather than one you need to pull over your head – this way you wont be messing up your hair and makeup while trying on dresses!

Be prepared to spend money.

There will always be sales at a wedding show and you never know when you might find a suite or gown that you love so come prepared. You may even find a supplier that you love, which means there’s a chance you will need to put down a deposit there and then to secure them for your wedding date. Fun fact – I bought my wedding shoes at a wedding show – and 18 years later I still have them and love them! I wear them when I’m dolled up for posh events like awards dinners and galas!

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Bring your colors along.

If you already know what colors you will be using in your wedding, bring a few fabric swatches along. Many of the vendors will be more than happy to offer advice and tips based on your colors and ideas.

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Be patient.

Wedding shows are busy so it’s important to be patient and take the day slowly. Don’t get overwhelmed. Chances are, most vendors will spend several minutes with every couple so keep this in mind when walking around. ProTip! Get there early so you get in when it is least crowded!

Wedding shows are one of the few times where you will have everything you need under one roof so be sure to take full advantage of this opportunity to meet lots of vendors, try out their products and services, and ask them who they recommend!

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