Engagement Season is here!

This means that you, Dear Reader, have found this post because YOU are getting married soon, or someone in your family or circle of friends is.

DISCLAIMER: this post is my opinion. I have been a vendor in shows for many years, and have also been in attendance as the Mother of the Bride. All of the brides who met at the previous shows told me the tips below (that they wish they had known before going to any shows or expos.)

Bridal shows and expos can be so much fun. The energy in the room full of new ideas and inspiration. There are lots of choices everywhere you look. It' overwhelming, but still enjoyable. Plus, there's a lot to be said about free food & swag. But just walking around filling your trick-or-treat style bag isn't taking full advantage of the show.

As a Mother of the Bride, myself, (plus listening to all of my clients), here are some tips to help you with the upcoming shows. Most start in January!

  • Buy your tickets in advance, online. You hear this all the time, but the advertised number of attendants isn't inflated to get you to buy the tickets early. It's what you should do so you can walk right in. Nothing wastes your time more, like standing in a long line that can be avoided.
  • Bring address labels or make your own with your name, email, phone number, & wedding date on them. You will be glad you did. (See next tip)
  • Sign up for ALL the prizes you can! Even if you don't win the major prizes, a lot of vendors offer smaller consolation prizes or discounts towards their services or products.
  • Arrive early. Even though you have your advance tickets, show up early so you can get good parking. One bride and her Mom, MOH, and 2 BFF's might be one to five cars.
  • Make sure you have eaten something good at home, because there is often complimentary champagne at more than one booth.
  • Wear something comfortable (especially shoes); but dress up a bit. The vendors you will be meeting would love to see a little of your personality. It's hard to stand out in a sea of yoga pants and ballet buns. 
  • Put someone in charge of collecting EVERY business card for you. You will meet so many people, and see so many photos and products that it's possible for you to miss someone's information.
  • But here's the trick: even though your mom or a bridesmaid will be collecting every card for you, you should be the one to collect a card from the vendors YOU like. Keep them in your bag, purse, or even pocket. 
  • Don't be embarrassed by your wedding budget. It is what it is. Don't be fooled by the magazines, your friend's Pinterest page or Instagram feed. If you have a set budget, it's okay to tell the vendors. Most vendors will work with almost every budget, or they have associates who can.
  • Take your time to go over all of the SWAG & info that you have collected. Most vendors know that you aren't going to book them on the spot. It happens, but not that often., don't mislead vendors into thinking you are absolutely going to reserve them.
  • For most vendors, there's no such thing as a stupid question or bizarre request. Wedding pros have probably heard them all. Plus, most of us really really want to hear your plans for your day.
  • Finally, it's okay not to have a clear vision of your day, your gown, or even your color palette. You can enjoy the show & meeting new people for what it is.
Naples Bridal Boutique Show in January 2024