Tis the season! It’s the time of year when the first round of wedding shows and events takes place and you will want to be prepared for what’s waiting for you out there in the wedding world! Here are my very best tips for making the most of your time at local wedding shows!
Have a realistic budget in mind beforehand – or use this event to do your research!
It’s important to have a realistic budget in mind before you attend a wedding show. This means knowing what things cost, not what you believe they should cost based on your salary, or what you would charge. You will want narrow down your choices, so don’t be afraid to ask venues and suppliers to provide you with a quote based on your specific budget – just don’t expect vendors to lower their prices to meet your finances. Many venues have different packages, same goes for caterers, but most of your smaller vendors will have set pricing. If you have no idea what things cost, you will have no idea how to create your budget. From time to time I have couples come to me with a number in mind of what they think their ceremony should cost, but they simply made up a number with no clue what ceremonies cost in the real world. Wedding shows are a great place to speak to multiple vendors for each element of your wedding to find out what the average cost of these services actually is in your area.
Create a separate email address for your wedding planning
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. Just don’t forget to check this email on a regular basis! I have had a few couples lose me simply because they ‘forgot’ to check their emails for a few months. If your vendors are trying to reach you at an email you don’t check, you run the risk of your contract(s) being cancelled and you might not find out until it’s too late!
ProTip! Print a sheet of stickers with your name and contact information so you won’t have to write it out 100 times at the wedding show. This will save you tons of time and your hand! This is a service I often provide for my couples, so let me know if you need contact info sticker sheets (or stickers and labels for any other part of your wedding)!
ProTip! Vendors use giveaways as a way to gather email addresses and grow their mailing lists – be aware that if you give them your info on the chance you might win a gift basket, be prepared for lots of marketing emails you might have to unsubscribe from later. I got married in 2003 and still get the occasional email from vendors I met at wedding shows that long ago! Some of them are relentless!
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. Keep in mind there are vendors who do lot allow photos of their work so make sure to ask first – and it’s a great way to say hi and make a connection with them!
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.
Alternately – if you have any food issues like allergies or low blood sugar – make sure you bring a snack with you just in case. Don’t forget a bottle of water too!
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. Anytime I do shows I am ready to book couples on the spot and anyone who books at the show (or even later that day) gets to draw for a discount applied to their ceremony fees.
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. Choose a shirt that buttons up (to save you from getting makeup on it and your hair messed up) and pants that are easy to get on and off. You might even want to bring a pair of heels with you if you plan to dry 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 vendor or item you love so come prepared. There’s a chance you will need to put down a deposit right then and there to secure them for your wedding date. With everything that has gone on in the wedding world in the last two years, we know 2022 is going to be a MASSIVE wedding season. Couples moved their weddings from 2020 and 2021 to 2022 so most vendors are already swamped and are turning away couples for this year and next year. If you find a vendor you love that is available for your date, get them booked right away! When it comes to your Officiant – flexibility will be your best friend this year. Find one you love, then work with their schedule! Not everyone can have me at 4pm, so be open to a different time and adjust your wedding day timeline. An extra hour between your ceremony and dinner means more time for photos and garden games! You could even bring in some entertainment like a balloon artist or tarot reader!
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. This will be especially helpful when chatting with florists, venues, and caterers as well as stationers and favour makers!
Be patient and honest
Wedding shows are busy so it’s important to be patient and take the day slowly. Make a list of all the types of vendors you want to meet/book so you don’t get overwhelmed. Chances are, most vendors will spend several minutes with every couple and will focus most on couples who seem eager to book.
If you are just looking for pricing and brochures, let them know and don’t be afraid to say you aren’t ready to book anything today. If a vendor then keeps trying to force you into conversation (you know the sales script when you hear it), keep moving. Recognizing the red flags is a key skill at these events! When a couple tells me they aren’t ready, I simply say I totally get that, give them my brochure and some freebies, ask if they want to enter my draw, and let them know to contact me when they are ready then wish them luck. Easy peasy!
Bridal 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 by collecting contact information, pricing, and make notes as you meet vendors so you remember which one is which later on!
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