Attending bridal shows is a perk to getting engaged for many brides. It’s like a giant shopping party, with wedding vendors all lined up to meet you and sell their fabulous products exclusively to you. The majority of these bridal expos are held on Sundays, so it’s a natural combination to make brunch plans before the show, inviting your girlfriends and, of course, your mom, because what could be better than to share in the planning with the loved ones who will be in the wedding? Really, it will be a lovely, fun day for all.
But beware. What you envision may not be what others have in mind. Here are some points to consider.
Remember envisioning a day of bonding with those special gals in your life? Well, it’s Sunday morning, so they’re probably going to be more interested in sleeping in, moving at a leisurely pace (or running late); not to mention, those nursing hangovers from Saturday night.
But you’ve chosen these special people in your life to be active participants in your special day. They should have a vested interest. After all, this is the most important day of your life!
What about the groom to be? He should have a say in the plans. It is just as much his wedding as it is yours. Wrong! Abandon that thought before you start. He really isn’t that bothered over which shape of flower or shade of pink tells your love story better than the other. This is time for the bride to deliberate – alone – and unless the expo is held at a hotel with a bar where you can drop off your betrothed to watch football while you go off and look at wedding products – do yourselves both a favor and leave him at home. (The same applies if you have children, just minus the bar).
The Exhibitors and Vendors
Exhibitors (like vendors) are running a business, and each exhibitor has a target market which sets the tone of the show. This is not a bad thing if it is not misleading. Make sure to do a little research on the exhibitor and the vendors they’ve secured before attending a show.
If you’re lucky, the show will be crowded and you’ll have to pay to get in, as it means people actually value what the exhibitors have to share.
Most of these exhibitions provide you with a free goodie bag when you enter the arena. You will then be bombarded by the benefits of each product. After many years of hosted expos, the smart phone was invented for brides and visitors to make notes and take phone photos to remind themselves of their favorite items so they don’t forget.
When you do find a product or vendor that catches your attention, they are generally very good or unique. At best, you will have a great flyer that will propel you to visit their website because the good vendors’ tables are usually mobbed.
The exhibiting goes on until everyone is ready for the big fashion show, displaying bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses and tuxedos. If you have already chosen your dress(es) it’s an hour of music while viewing similar looking dresses that you can’t try on at the show. The upside: As the masses have crowded away from the vendor tables, there is free space to go back to the booths of your favorite items and get the product reps undivided time and attention.
If you can stand all of that, a wedding expo is a great way to get a taste for popular wedding trends of the year and to sample a variety of products in one place.
Don’t get me wrong – I love a good bridal show as much as any bride. But planning a wedding is work, and the bridal expo is like an obstacle course as you soldier your way through the entire process.
But there is an upside to all of this. It is great practice for the actual big day when all of the perfect details you were striving / planning / wishing / hoping for don’t pan out; because not all of them will. So, relax and take a cue from your friends – it’s ONE day, but imperfection won’t make it any less special.
-Liz Chalice is a wedding professional with BrideBox.com, DIY Wedding Albums