It’s January, so that means it is bridal showcase and expo season! If you’re newly engaged and eager to begin your wedding planning, there’s no better place than a bridal expo to meet vendors, see products, and compare services than at an event that showcases a myriad of wedding professionals all in one place!  Sample the cake, hear the music, see the photos- it would take you months to coordinate meetings with all of the services you will come across at a single showcase event.  The discounts, door prizes, free samples, fashion show, and endless inspiration are the icing on the cake!  If you’re thinking of attending a show, here are some tips to make the most of your experience.

Before you Go- Be Prepared!

1 Pre-register for the show you plan to attend on the event’s website to save you time (and possibly money) at the door. Make sure you plan on wearing comfortable shoes and clothing because you’ll be doing a lot of walking around checking out vendor booths. 

2. Have a checklist of vendors or questions that you hope to meet with and have answered at the expo.  Check out my list of must-have wedding vendors to help you make your checklist. If you’re ready to book vendors at the show, make sure you have a checkbook, cash, or credit card with you. A lot of vendors offer incentives to book on-site!

3. Print labels with your contact information and wedding date on them. Many vendors will be collecting your details for giveaways, and bringing along labels with your name, email address, phone number, and wedding date can help save you time and avoid carpal tunnel! It will also prevent vendors from misreading your information, which can happen easily when we’re hurrying to fill out paperwork.

4. Bring your fiancé. While grooms may shy away from expos (after all, they aren’t called groom showcases!), having your future husband around to see the vendors will help with your decision-making and save the time of having to plan another meeting. Of course, also bring anyone else who is involved in helping you with planning your dream wedding!

Make the Most of the Show!

5. Make sure to hit the booths of the vendors you need. If you already have a venue booked, you can still visit those booths and enter for their prizes or just browse their display, but do that AFTER you’ve met with the vendors for services you still need for your wedding day! A lot of vendors offer incentives for brides who book at shows, and popular vendors will book fast. Prioritize your list and don’t run out of time!

6. Talk to the person in charge when you find a vendor you’re really interested in. You’ll want to make sure that the person you have at the wedding is the person you’re meeting with that day to make sure they’re a good fit for you. Always ask if they’re available on your wedding day!

7. Collect information from vendors you love and make sure to also give them your contact information. Follow up with your favorite vendors. Remember, you don’t have to take information from a vendor that you know doesn’t match your vision, and don’t feel obligated to give them your contact information either.

If you’re anything like me and like to write things down just so you’re SURE you will remember every detail,  check out this free printable vendor list from Unlike Juliet that helps you rate each vendor you meet and helps you choose your favorites. My little disclaimer on the worksheet- remember, affordability doesn’t always mean cheapest. You’ll want to make sure vendors are within your budget while remembering that you often get what you pay for!  I love the heart rating system and the notes section! Bring a little clipboard and you’re ready to go!

Have fun at your show, and happy planning!