Day Planning

Jumpstart Your Wedding Plans At A Bridal Show

One of the best tools for the busy bride-to-be is a bridal show. Where else can you visit with hundreds of wedding vendors in a single afternoon? Sample cakes and hors d’oeuvres from the area’s best caterers, check out the latest in video special effects with local videographers, and see the newest designer collections during the fashion shows, all under one roof. Bridal shows provide that first step to jumpstart your wedding plans, all in the span of a few hours.

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WHAT TO BRING


Before you leave the house, be sure you’re prepared for your day. First, make sure you’re dressed appropriately. Comfortable shoes are a must, because you’ll be doing quite a bit of walking between booths and vendors. Wear clothing in layers so you can take something off if you get too warm. Second, leave your large purse at home. Bring only the necessities from your purse, and store them in a larger tote bag that you can also use to bring home all the brochures, cards, and samples you’ll receive at the show. Third, be sure to bring along a pen or pre-pasted address labels. Vendors hold drawings and give away everything from china place settings to honeymoons to all expenses paid weddings, and pre-pasted address labels are a great time saver when you’re entering multiple drawings. If you have a small digital camera, consider bringing it along as well (check with organizers to see if photography is allowed) so you can take photos of gowns or bridesmaid dresses during the fashion shows.

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WHO TO BRING


It’s usually a good idea to bring along a friend or family member when you’re heading to a show. Invite one of your attendants, your mother or mother-in-law or even your fiancé. When there are two of you, it’s easier to canvas the area to find the wedding professionals you’re most interested in visiting. And if you’re worried your fiancé will be bored, check out the bridal show’s website to see what exhibitors will interest him. Many formal wear shops, DJs, limousine companies, and travel agencies participate in bridal shows; he can check out the options and narrow down the possibilities to help in the planning process. If he balks at the idea, remind him that the more vendors you visit today, the less he’ll have to contend with during the coming months. It’s a safe bet that he’ll choose one afternoon over every Saturday for the next however many months until your wedding date.

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WHAT YOU’LL FIND


Though every bridal show is different, you’re likely to find everything you’ll need to plan your celebration at a bridal show. Here’s a listing of the most likely participants:
• Ceremony and reception venues
• Bridal salons
• Formal wear or tuxedo shops
• DJs, bands, and other musicians
• 
Transportation companies including limousines, horse and carriages, and trolleys
• Travel agents
• Financial planning professionals
• Professional caterers
• Wedding photographers
• Videographers
• Real estate agents
• Florists
• Stationery and invitation shops
• Bridal consultants
• Hair stylists and makeup artists
• Equipment rental agencies
• Jewelers
• Bridal registry locations

While there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to book your entire entourage in just one day, you will have a better idea of which professionals you’d like to interview more extensively, and which ones you can take off your list.

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