You are engaged, excited, and ready to plan a fabulous wedding, so you head off to the next wedding show! Then you walk through the door and are flooded with sights, sounds, smells, and sometimes dozens or even hundreds of vendors that all want to sell you something you are completely unfamiliar with purchasing. I can’t even tell you how many brides look like zombies walking through the aisles at almost every show I attend. But there are those rare few who are on a mission, are completely prepared, and leave with something accomplished other than exhaustion. Here are our top 5 tips on how to be one of those people.
#1 – Know your mission:
If you expect inspiration to come to you at the show, it certainly will…a whole heck of a lot of it! Being specific about your goal and the reason you are attending will help a lot. Let’s break this one down a bit more.
- *Engaged less than a month: If you are just starting the planning process, don’t expect to come away with every vendor booked. Take a camera and collect ideas (ask the vendor if it’s ok to take a picture). If you are super overwhelmed, start with whatever vendor is most important to you. Typically this is the venue for scheduling reasons, but we have had people book us before they even had a date and would confer with us later to make sure we were available on the date the venue was available as well.
- *Most major vendors booked: If you’ve been planning for a while, then you should immediately be able to cross some of the vendors off the list. After that, just bee line it to the ones you still need. Keep an eye out for the less common vendors like linens, limos, travel agents, and bridesmaid gifts. These are small things that really pull your event together, so take a look if you have the brain space for it. If not, keep it moving!
#2 – Be honest (with yourself and the vendors):
Many brides just collect information with the intent of going through all of it later, but this isn’t necessarily helpful. Instead of a few select vendors to contact, you have potentially dozens more pamphlets to go through to find the ones you want. Do you really have the time and energy to go through all that extra stuff? You wont be hurting anyone’s feelings by saying “no thanks, I’m all set on that” and moving on. You can even say, “Thank you, but I’m on a mission today for (flowers/DJs/caterers etc).” These are business people, it’s ok to say no.
#3 – Print your info on labels:
Take 5 minutes to create a document so you can print out address labels. If you have several categories of vendors you want to see, you will save SO much time and energy by just peeling that sticker and putting it on whatever form they want you to fill out. I would include the following: Your and your fiance’s first and last names, wedding date, email, phone number, preferred method of contact or restrictions (call after 5, text any time, email on Thursdays etc). It’s then up to the vendor to be a business person and follow up with you.
#4 – Bring a friend:
Having a sounding board who will be honest with you is invaluable. He/she will help you eliminate the items or vendors that don’t fit your vision and will just take up brain space. Make sure that you and your friend are on the same page though. You and your dream wedding should be their top priority.
#5 – Wear comfortable shoes/clothes:
Not much more to expand on here. You could be there for hours so you might as well be comfortable so you don’t have to think about your feet in all the chaos.
Go, Fight, Win!
These will get you headed in the right direction at your wedding show, but don’t stress out if you miss one, or your plans aren’t perfect. Go with the flow, talk to some fun wedding people, and eat the caterer’s food since they cant keep it anyway! Whatever you do, have fun at the show!
Jesse McDonald a veteran of the US Navy and she completed a program with the New York Institute of Photography. You can learn more about Jesse and her business, Eastern Sky Photography, at her website and on her ECB page.