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You’re engaged! Congratulations!
There are so many exciting things that come with being engaged and I am sure you are thinking about all the wedding plans. Are you attending a wedding expo or bridal show? I know they are exciting and they can be extremely valuable for brides (great deals, great celebrations and great productivity checking off so many planning tasks!)
As a creator of a wedding expo, I have nailed down what a bride needs to do to prepare for an expo to avoid the overwhelming feelings that might creep in with all the options and the crowds.
Go in with the right mindset: Face it. Vendors are there to get your business, not just give away free stuff. So, we highly encourage you to be receptive to the idea that you are there to connect with wedding pros and see who would be a good fit for your wedding.
Know the basics of your wedding: Your wedding date (or if you are still working on nailing down your venue, your ideal time frame), your budget (even further, knowing your budget for each specific category), your estimated guest count and your “style.” Knowing all of these details will help your conversations with vendors go better. You will be able to rule out anyone who is booked for your date, out of your budget, not in the right style, etc., quickly and save so much time!
Stay organized during the event: It can be overwhelming at these type of events and even more when you go home and dump out the contents of your bag and don’t remember who you really liked. We encourage you to have a bag and for someone else that you go with to have a bag. Anytime you pick up a card or information from a vendor that you actually are interested in learning more about, put it in one bag and put all others in a different bag. Not that you won’t look at and utilize both, but you are able to keep those stand out businesses separate. Pro tip – When you come across a business you really like and are very eager to book, then you should take a picture of their booth with their business name in it!
Print out labels with your information: You will fill out a lot of forms and/or giveaways while at events. Entering giveaways, although not the point, is exciting and no shame in winning something awesome! You will also fill out your information so that businesses know you want them to contact you afterward. So, print labels at home that have your name, email, phone number, wedding date, if selected. Then you can just peel those right off and put them on the forms or giveaway ballots! Super easy and quick and you aren’t writing the same thing over and over and over again.
Don’t let the crowd or options get the best of you: It will be loud, there will be a lot of businesses trying to get you to their booth, there will be a lot of other brides surrounding you, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t let it get the best of you and ruin what a productive day this could be for you. If you start to feel a little overwhelmed, head to the bathroom with your buddy or to the bar, if available, and have a moment to just decompress. Maybe chat about your favorites so far and have a small conversation about who you are liking and not liking so far. Pro tip – Bring a small check list with you that shows what you are most interested in finding information for!
Send out emails to your most interested vendors: You don’t have to wait for the businesses to get with you after the event. They have to decompress and have a lot of organizing to do as well, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and go after them first. Sample email: ” Hi there BUSINESS, My name is NAME and I met you at the NAME OF THE EXPO. After reviewing your information and comparing that with what we are looking for for SPECIFIC VENDOR CATEGORY, we would love to: (setup a call to chat further, move forward with the booking process, have a few more questions answered, etc.) To reiterate our wedding info our wedding is on DATE at VENUE with an estimated guest count of NUMBER. Thank you so much, NAME.
Be aware of discount or booking incentive deadlines: Most of the time the businesses that are participating in a bridal show are going to have a deadline to take advantage of their exclusive deals. Some may be just a few days, some a week or a few weeks, some the remainder of the month, etc. You want to make sure you pay attention to those deadlines of any deals that you are interested in taking advantage of so that you don’t miss out on the savings.
Wear something bridal-y: This is a little bit of a weird one and definitely not necessary, but if you wear something that makes you stand out in the crowd and in your group as the bride – businesses are going to be able to easily target you and know that you are the one saying the “I do’s.” So wearing a white outfit or a sash automatically says “She’s the bride!” Plus you can take photos and use it as an excuse to be the center of attention during your special time!
I might be biased, but I think wedding expos are fun, impactful and productive. I definitely think there are right and wrong ways to do them and that you should prepare yourself before walking in the door – but if you follow those few tips to stay organized you will be good to go and will be able to enjoy yourself as the bride-to-be!