Congratulations on your engagement and welcome to the wonderful world of wedding planning! One of the first steps many brides take in the planning process is attending bridal fairs. Events like this are a wonderful opportunity to find inspiration, gather ideas, meet vendors, and formulate a vision. However, attending with the wrong people or going without a game plan can be overwhelming and counter productive. Take it from a bridal fair veteran (I have been to my fair share of fairs), these are the do's and don'ts that all brides should follow:
1. Do Go With Supportive Friends or Family Members
One of the most wonderful parts of planning your wedding is reconnecting with family and close friends. It's a rare moment in today's day and age to have a reason to put aside work and the distractions of life to bond with loved ones during life changing event. So, bring the people who know you, love you, support you, and will delight in every minute with you.
2. Don't Go With Anyone Who Has Their Own Agenda
What should be a fun day will quickly turn into a battle of wills when you bring the wrong people with you. Worst yet, you could get pushed into a vision that is not yours. If you surround yourself with negative people and anyone who insist they know whats best for you, your day will be tarnished. End of story.
With that in mind, a wedding is a terrible time to put friendships to the test. No one wants to feel left out and you certainly don't want the pain of loosing a friend during such a happy time. Therefore, plan an activity with these special (negative) friends and family members in an environment you can control such as coming over to help stamp and address "Save The Dates." Turn it into a happening by going out to lunch to celebrate afterwards.
3. Don't Bring A Large Group With You
It might be fun to say you have an 'entourage' but in reality, it's a bound to make your experience chaotic and you will likely waste a lot of time. Instead, pick a couple close friends or family members who will be your cheerleaders, your coat holders, and run interference with that one wedding fair vendor that just won't stop talking.
4. Do Hydrate!
Event spaces for wedding fairs, trade shows, etc. tend to be hot and stuffy from all the body heat. What's more, the recycled air can be drying. Make sure to hydrate. It will help keep you sharp, fresh, engaged, and in the moment.
5. Do Have A Game Plan
Before you even put an event on your calendar, know why you are going:
Knowing this will ensure you:
6. Do Take Notes
Business cards and brochures can get lost. Take notes in your phone and email them to yourself, the groom, your event planner, your maid of honor, mother, sister, or anyone who is helping you plan. You will want to record the following information:
Don't worry about phone numbers or addresses at this point, any reliable business will have that information listed on their website or social media account.
7. Don't Commit On The Spot
With the allure of special show prices and offers, it's hard not to jump on a good deal. However, if you are just engaged, take your time to let everything sink in at first. Your bridal budget may need adjusting as you start deciding what you truly want in a wedding. Committing a large financial sum to any vendor before you have done your homework is risky. Plus, you will want to
8. Do Be Honest
Rarely is there a bride with no budget, no 'must haves,' etc. Be honest with the vendors. There is no sense wasting time with a vendor you can't afford, can't fulfill your vision, or meet your deadlines. It's best for both of you to be honest, you will have more time with the vendors that do fit your needs, and the vendors that don't fit your needs will be free to talk to brides that are a better match.
Also, don't judge a book by it's cover. If you see a high-end vendor, don't be scared to talk to them about budget. A good friend had a strict budget, and found an amazing floral designer that took their signature style and reinterpreted it into a price point she could afford. Likewise, no vendor is going to put their worst foot forward, sometimes what you see at a bridal fair is not what you get. Be honest and expect honesty.
9. Do Enter The Contests
Bridal fairs are full of contests, and incentives if you sign up for their emails. Why not take advantage of freebies?!? The only down side is you will actually receive emails. Some brides create temporary email addresses so their personal accounts are not flooded with junk mail. However, for me, trying to remember another login is just redundant and annoying. I have found it's best to sign up with my main email address, and if I don't like their email content, I simply unsubscribe. Legally, they will no longer be allowed to send you an email.
10. Do Make A Day Of It
This is a fun happening and should be treated as such. Go out for lunch, take a moment to do what every makes you feel strong, empowered, confident, and radiant! This is your time to shine