Wedding shows can be overwhelming. There’s so many options for vendors and ideas, that keeping track of your favourites can seem impossible. Add to that the endless promotions you want to take advantage of and it can make any bride more confused than when she started!
Here’s a few tips to help you keep your cool and get the most out of a wedding show.
1. PREPARE FOR INFORMATION OVERLOAD
Before the show, prepare for the overload of information by starting a wedding specific email account. There will be endless draws and giveaways to enter and most of them come with an email list. This is an easy way to keep your personal inbox free of clutter, and to keep all your wedding communication organized in one place. Once you’ve got your new email address, print off a sheet of address labels with your name, email, phone and wedding date. This will save you loads of time filling out entries for all those prizes you’re going to win!
On the day of the show, don’t forget to pack your datebook and a notepad and pen. You’ll want to be able to schedule consultations with your favourite vendors and take notes about ideas you saw and what you loved and hated.
Insider Tip: Bring a sheet of heart stickers to mark your favourite vendors in your program.
2. KNOW YOUR NEEDS
To avoid wasting time looking at vendors you’ll never use, spend some time talking with your fiancé about what your needs are. Know your budget ahead of time. If you’re newly engaged, at least have a ballpark of what you’d like to spend. This is an important conversation for every couple to have, along with anyone else contributing financially to your wedding.
Know which vendors you need to book. If you’re brand new to planning, the first things you’ll need are venues, a caterer, and a planner. If you’re getting closer to the end of wedding planning, go through your list or consult with your planner about what you still need to book.
Once you’ve thought about your top priorities, research your vendors ahead of time. Most shows release a list of vendors attending. Check out the websites and pages of any vendors you’re interested in before the show. Then when you get there, you’ll already know who you’re talking to!
3. PREPARE FOR CONVERSATIONS
The first question you should ask a vendor is “are you available ______ date?” If not, then you don’t need to spend any more time there. If yes, then you can move on from there, asking about price range, specialties, etc. Bring along colour samples or fabric swatches of things you already have in place to give vendors a better idea of your vision. Have some cash and a credit card along to take advantage of any wedding show deals you may find.
Pay attention to which vendors listen to your needs. You want to work with people who will hear what you have to say and do their best to help you create your dream day.
Insider Tip: If you already have your dress, take advantage of the quieter time during a fashion show to have better conversations with vendors.
4. KEEP YOUR COOL
Prepare yourself emotionally and mentally to avoid getting overwhelmed. Purchase your tickets ahead of time to avoid the congestion at the door. Eat something before you go. Hungry decisions are never good ones!
Bring someone along. It’s great to have your fiancé, your wedding planner, maybe your mom or a girlfriend along to help you remember what you liked and didn’t like. And to stop you from booking something crazy just because they had an exciting deal! Do set a limit on who comes along though. Too many people putting in their two cents makes for a long day. It makes it harder to have a good conversation with vendors and extremely difficult to make any real decisions. Pick the right people to spend the day with, and the wedding show will be a blast! At the SW Wedding Expo, you can send any extra people to the lounge. 😉
5. MASTER THAT OVERLOAD
Remember tip number one? After the show it’s time to reap the benefits of being prepared. Start sifting through emails. Sort them by vendor, or by favourites. There will be a lot of great information, as well as a lot of fluff. Thanks to your pre-planning, all that fluff won’t be clogging your regular inbox!
Organize your papers right away. Go through all the freebies and handouts from the show and pick out the ones you want to follow up with. Keep any second choices around too, in case something doesn’t work out with your top pick. Then follow up quickly with your favourites. These vendors will be getting a lot of interest during the show and you want to make sure you pounce on your top choices before someone steals your date! Thanks to your preparedness, you should have no trouble beating the rush.
There you have it! Follow these tips and you’ll be set to get maximum benefits from any wedding show.