A peek at one of the Twin Cities Bridal Show's "Inspiration Stations."
Being an editor at Mpls.St.Paul Weddings, I’ve attended many a bridal show over the past few years (not to mention that time my friend Emma and I decided to pretend we were engaged and get tickets to one just for the heck of it). But this past weekend, I went to my first bridal show—the Twin Cities Bridal Show—as an actual bride-to-be, and here’s what I learned from the experience.
Research vendors ahead of time.
Typically, the bridal show will post a list or electronic version of the program online ahead of time, so you can see exactly who will be there. Take advantage of this and come up with a plan of attack, including which vendors you want to talk to and what you hope to accomplish at the show. There is so much to do and see, you might feel overwhelmed with choices—especially if you haven’t booked any vendors yet. If you do have some vendors, bypass the booths in those categories entirely—trust me, you don’t want to confuse or second-guess yourself by engaging with other DJs, photographers, caterers, etc. when you already have a signed contract and cashed deposit.
Make sticker labels.
This idea actually came from a recently married co-worker (thanks, Casey!). Every booth at the bridal fair will likely have a form to fill out so they can enter your name for drawings or follow up with you after the fair. Free up some time for better things (like sampling cakes!) by printing off labels with your basic information—like name, phone number, e-mail address, and wedding date—before you go.
Create a separate e-mail address.
No doubt about it—you will be spammed by the vendors you meet at bridal fairs. Save yourself the hassle and create a separate account with Gmail that you can simply delete after the wedding. I would also recommend against giving out your phone number to everyone, unless you meet a vendor you really want to chat with after the fair.
Talk to vendors during the fashion shows.
Most bridal shows will have a fashion show component. If you already have your dress (or just don’t care to attend the fashion show), this is an excellent time to talk to vendors high on your list, because the main exhibit floor will be much less crowded.
Most importantly, don't let yourself get too worked up or stressed out about attending a bridal show. They're supposed to be fun events to gather inspiration and chat with others who are just as passionate about your wedding as you are. So grab your mom, your maids, or your man (that is, if you can convince him to go), and check out The Wedding Fair (on October 11) or Unveiled (on November 8).