Sep 11, 2020

How to Conquer Your Next Wedding Show

Greenville SC Wedding Photographer


Quick Note: Most wedding shows this year will have a special set of Covid-19 rules or requests to help keep everyone comfortable and safe. For an example check out Wedding Festival’s plan “Spread Love, Not Germs”.


You’re engaged to the love of your life – congratulations!

What an exciting time, you are finally planning for one of the most special days of your life – how does it feel?!

Now, you’re probably over the moon with excitement while saying to yourself at the same time, “goodness golly gee, I need to start planning!”

Not to fear, we are here to lay down aallll the information you need to help you plan your wedding day as stress-free as possible with two simple words: wedding show.

Okay, well technically it can be called a wedding show, wedding expo, bridal festival… you get the idea. Whatever you want to call it, we are going to give you some of the top reasons why you should absolutely attend during your wedding planning process!

We’ll start off with some general information about what you can expect from a wedding show, and then we will break it down into simple easy steps so you can make the most out of your time there.

When you attend a wedding show, you will be meeting the local wedding professionals in your area. Keep this in mind when deciding what wedding show you want to attend, and make sure to pick one in the area you’re planning your wedding for. 

We’re talking about chefs, bakers, photographers, planners, musicians, djs, and everything in between. This is the perfect time to get inspiration, check out the latest and greatest wedding trends, and hopefully make some great connections for your wedding! 

Pamela Nixon from San Diego Wedding Party Expo put it perfectly, “At a fair, you can have a direct, sensory experience that you simply don’t get online. Taste the cakes, smell the flowers, listen to the bands, try on the wedding jewelry, touch the invitations. It would take you months to meet with all the businesses that the top bridal show producers pack into one fair.”

The size of the wedding show can depend on the location of the wedding show, so it can definitely get a bit overwhelming if you’re attending a larger one. Here are some top-notch tips for surviving your first wedding show like a total pro.

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Know before you go

Before you commit to attending a wedding show, there are at least a few things you should have already started to solidify. 

  • Wedding Budget
  • Size of your wedding party
  • Number of guests
  • Venue location (or at least geographic location)
  • Wedding Date

These don’t have to be exact numbers, but an estimate will be helpful when talking to some of the vendors.

Also, if you have any ribbons or fabric swatches showcasing the color theme you’re aiming for, bring them with you! This can be super helpful to show florists, bakers, planners and more to give them a better vision of your day. 

Pre-register

This one is simple but will make a huge difference. Pre-register before the date of your event. You will save time at the check-in, and the odds are pretty high that you’ll save some money as well.

Dress comfortably

One of the most important tips is to wear comfortable clothes and choose your shoes wisely!

I know you might be planning to wear that beautiful new sundress you just bought with those baby blue wedges, but your feet will feel like you’re walking on broken glass. Your future self with thank you, trust us.

Some wedding shows can last an entire weekend. If you decide to attend all three days, being comfortable throughout the those long hours on your feet is essential.

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Arrive early

There are going to be so many people attending your wedding show, so it’s best to arrive a bit early and be ready to walk in when those doors open.

This coincides with another tip of ours – be prepared for crowds and lines. For the near future with all of the social distancing guidelines in effect, the crowding and lines might not be as bad, but it’s still something to keep in mind for the future!

Create a wedding email

This tip right here is a game changer.

Creating a wedding email just for all your wedding planning will naturally make all of your planning processes so much better. You will have everything sent to one place, and nothing will get mixed up with your everyday emails.

Bring pre-printed labels

No matter the size of the wedding show you decide to attend, you can expect to write down your name, phone number, and email address over and over and over again.

Bring some pre-printed labels with you and make your life easier. Just peel and stick ladies, and you won’t have to exhaust your hand writing your info down all day. You’re welcome.

Keep in mind though, you don’t have to leave your info at every single vendor. Make your rounds, converse with everyone, and leave your labels at the vendors who you’re seriously interested in reaching out to after the festival. 

Bring someone with you

Whatever you do, don’t attend a wedding show by yourself! I mean you totally could and you would be absolutely fine (because you’re amazing), but bringing along your maid of honor, mom, sister, best friend, or anyone really will make the experience that much better.

You’ll have someone to taste test with, decide on colors with, complain about how tired you are with – everything. Experience the vendors together, don’t lose each other, and you’ll make it through a big chunk of the show we promise!

Do your homework, know the vendors

It is super important to do as much research as you can before you attend your wedding show. Usually, the website hosting the event details will have a list of vendors attending. Go through that list, look at the show details and how they have the day broken down. This will make it easier for you to navigate the day of. 

You will already have an idea of the essential vendors you definitely want to visit and chat with, and will also allow you to schedule in time to discover some other vendors that you might be curious to learn more about.

To make the most of your time at the festival, it’s a good idea to have a list of questions jotted down somewhere. We’re not talking about an interview style conversation with every vendor you encounter. Think of this list of questions as your baseline, something you can refer to if you’re totally drawing a blank.

Absolutely make appointments with the vendors you’re really interested in. Endless brides are going to be walking around the festival with you, and these vendors are going to book up quickly after such a big show. 

So, if you talk to someone you’re really interested, make an appointment to chat with them in a few weeks. Even if it’s a vendor you are 50/50 on, but you need time to just learn a little bit more about them, schedule an appointment!

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Networking

The goal is to build connections and get a feel for who the vendor/person is. See if they are someone you can add to your special day.

It will come naturally to ask vendors what their prices are. Try to remember that quotes are typically personalized to the person and the wedding, so build that relationship with the vendor first and tell them about your thoughts details first before asking about specific prices.

This is a good time to ask about any possible discounts including military, weekday wedding dates, early morning weddings, etc.

While you’re talking to whoever is at the vendor booth, make sure you figure out if the person you’re communicating with is the person who would actually be helping you plan for your wedding day. Sometimes, vendors will have assistants or partners to help them man the booth. Just make sure that you meet the person who would actually be working with you if it’s possible.

“Notice which vendors listen to your needs. A quality vendor should ask you questions such as, ‘What have you envisioned so far?’ and ‘What do you want to avoid?’” says Pamela Nixon. 

Water, snacks, gummy bears – bring it all

You’re going to get hungry and thirsty, and you’re not going to want to pay for that overpriced Figi water bottle. Nothing crazy, just pack you back up with some trail mix, granola bars, and gummy bears for that sweet tooth inside us all.

Enter those giveaway

There are going to be TONS of giveaways you can enter. Enter them all!! You could win some awesome prizes, and besides, we all love throwing our name in a hat don’t we?!

Snatch those freebies

Collect everything you can guys. Stickers, pens, bracelets, sunglasses, bags, notebooks – grab it all! It will be so fun to collapse on your couch the night the wedding show is over, dumb out your bag of goodies, and go through all of the exciting things you collected throughout the day. 

Talk to other brides

You’re going to be one of many brides walking through the wedding show, and you’re all there for inspiration and advice. Say hi, strike up a conversation, ask other brides about their planning so far! It will make you both feel a little bit more at ease with the whole planning process, and you might even make a new bff out of it, who knows!

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Fill up on cake

Yes, you read that right. We are 100% encouraging to eat all the cake you possibly can. And of course all the other tasty goodies that you’ll run into. Get a feel for what flavors you absolutely cherish, and the flavors that you could honestly do without.

Take Notes

Lots of notes. Bring a pen and pad to write down quick notes throughout the day from each vendor. If you want to be really organized, bring a few different colored pens so you can semi-organize your notes. That way, when you get home and add it to your planning info, you’ll be able to transfer info much easier. 

Take Pictures

Take lots of photos! Take selfies with the vendors you really click with. Just remember to be courteous and ask before you sneak in some shots.

Time to head home

Don’t burn yourself out! Whether you attend for one or multiple days, you’re going to ingest a ton of information. When your eyes kind of start to glaze over, the thought of any more catered samples makes you sick, and your bag is overflowing with business cards and pamphlets it’s time to call it quits for the day. 

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