You’re engaged and now it’s time to start selecting your vendors. Maybe you are just in the beginning stages and are just looking for inspiration, maybe you need to find those last few vendors to finish off your day. Regardless of where you are in the planning, wedding expos can be crazy, overwhelming experiences that can cause stress and anxiety so today we’re sharing our top 10 tips to make your next outing to a wedding expo a productive and enjoyable one.
Wedding shows vary in size so do a little homework to know how many vendors are going to be participating. Smaller ones can have 20-30 while larger ones can have hundreds and they all are going to be after your information. Do a little prep work and create printed labels with your name, wedding date, contact information and maybe even your wedding budget so that you can hand them out instead of writing your information 50 plus times. [Bonus Tip: If you don’t want your regular email to be bombarded with wedding details, you may want to set up a “wedding only” email address. Be sure to check it often after each wedding expo to see if you won any giveaways!]
After the expo go home and go through all the brochures, business cards, etc. that you picked up. Sort through it all and organize by vendor and your interest level in their services. Get rid of anything that doesn’t interest you. There is no need to hang on to anything that isn’t going to help you plan your day.
By providing vendors with your contact information you are giving them permission to reach out to you. If you hear from someone that you were interested in, make sure you respond. Even if you have decided to go with a different vendor, it is common courtesy to at least let them know that. Professionals will not continue to bother you and will appreciate you letting them know. On the flip side, if a particular vendor or vendors stood out as ones you’d like to book, don’t wait for them to contact you. Let them know you are serious and begin setting up appointments with those you’d like to book. Because some vendors take limited bookings each year, you want to make sure your preferred vendor is available.
Limit Your Group Size
Wedding expos are generally crowded and hectic. They can be hard to navigate with a large group and it may bring added stress to you if everyone in your party has a different opinion on every vendor throughout the day. Having one or two people with you like a mother, fiance, etc. may help you think of additional questions and can help carry items that you gather throughout the show so that your hands are free to fill out contact forms, look through catalogs, etc.
Keep it Simple
As stated in #4, wedding expos can be very crowded, booth sizes are often small and it can be hard to move around sometimes. If you have a little one, it may be best to plan ahead and find a sitter. Trying to push a stroller through a crowded wedding show is difficult and will create added stress. Also consider your purse size. While some expos charge an entrance fee, most things inside the expo are free. Keep your purse small and limit your items to only the essentials and pick up the “entry bag” handed out to brides on the way in to hold all the information you pick up. I have personally seen so many instances where large purses get in the way, bump over displays or whack people; it’s not fun.
Map Out the Trip
Know before you go, what your goals are for the expo. Are you looking for specific vendors, are you looking for ideas only, or are you looking for a one-stop-shop? Most wedding shows provide a list of participating vendors ahead of time so make sure you know what’s available at the show and if you have time, do a little pre-show investigation to get a sense of who might be a good fit and who may not. Doing a little homework before the show will help you focus on the vendors you actually need and then you can start with those and finish up with the rest at the end.
Bring a notebook
You don’t want to lug around a lot of stuff all day long because you already know you’ll be collecting a ton of paperwork from vendors. One thing that you should consider though is a notebook. This can be small and compact but print something. This will allow you to make notes of any vendors that you particularly liked. Sometimes you’ll think of questions after speaking with a particular vendor. Writing them down will help you remember so you can ask in your follow up email or when you go back to see the vendor later.
Bring a bottle of water
Wedding shows are often crowded and can get hot. you’ll be doing a lot of talking, sometimes almost yelling over the DJ’s and the other people. having a bottle of water along will help keep you hydrated and feeling more fresh as you navigate the crowds.
Be engaged and ask lots of questions. That’s what the vendors are there for. They are people to, eager to help you. Some may be pushy salespeople but for the most part they are there to help. Don’t just walk into each booth to grab their brochure and leave so that you can check them out online later. It wont be the same! Take a few minutes to ask questions and be engaged. Listen to their answers and ask follow up questions if needed. This is your opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation with a potential vendor. Take advantage of it!
Watch the Fashion Shows
Wedding shows often have fashions shows throughout the day. Watch them. This is an opportunity to sit down and regroup as well as enjoy some entertainment. There is often music and lots of great fashion options for the entire wedding party.