BRIDAL SHOW SURVIVAL GUIDE: 10 MUST-KNOW TIPS ou’ve found the one, now it’s time to start planning the wedding of your dreams with the least amount of stress as possible. Bridal shows are a great resource for soon-to-be brides and grooms because they’re a one stop shop for your wedding planning needs. You can mix and mingle with vendors, see their work firsthand and potentially book your dream vendors at a significant discount. We’re well aware that if you aren’t prepared, a bridal show can be overwhelming, so we’ve put together a few expert tips to help you make the most out of your day: Pre-Register: Hate waiting in lines? So do we. Avoid the ticket line and save a lot of time by registering online before the bridal event. Other perks to registering early? You may also get a free or discounted admission ticket, special door prizes, free gifts and more. Do your research: A few weeks prior to the show, head to the event’s website and search for the list of showcasing vendors. Mark the one’s you’re interested in and then head to their business websites to get a better idea of whether or not their style/brand fits the vision you have for your big day. Narrow down your list of vendors you’d like to meet at the show. We’d recommend coming with a list of 5-10 in various categories you’d really like to connect with. Create a separate email account: Receive all wedding related communication through one account without cluttering your regular email account. Some vendors run exclusive giveaways through email drawings, so it’s smart to have a separate one on hand. When you are no longer interested in receiving offers from vendors you can delete your account. Create address labels: Vendors are going to want to collect your information to contact you. Each label should include: Both the bride and groom’s names, email address, mailing address, and wedding date. Handing these out is way faster and less overwhelming than having to write it out by hand while trying to steal a few moments to talk with a vendor. Bring a big bag: Vendors always pass out handfuls of materials, from packaged treats to pamphlets, postcards, gift bags and bridal magazines. The shows usually hand out small plastic/paper bags to collect your goodies in, but based on experience, we’d say it’s smart to bring your own more substantial bag. Bring a credit card: Vendors usually offer the best discounts at the show, so you’ll want to be prepared. If it’s a deal you can’t pass up, you can book a service or hold a date that day. Bring a notebook/tablet and calendar: Have a calendar handy to schedule follow up appointments with preferred vendors. There will be a lot of vendors present. Take notes so that you remember who you like and who may not be a contender. Bring friends and family along: Since their opinions matter the most, bring loved ones with you to bounce ideas off of or to even help you carry the items you’ve collected throughout the show. Try keep your entourage small, so you can easily navigate the booths and focus on connecting with vendors. Wear comfortable shoes: These shows involve a lot of walking and standing. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes to keep you moving from booth to booth, so you can make the most of the day. QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE HIRING ANY VENDOR FOR YOUR WEDDING Finding the right vendors for your special day is the foundation of a successful ceremony. From color palettes and flower arrangements to food selections and drink options, your wedding will be comprised of dozens of vendors each tasked with a significant role. In order to find the best companies to work with, you have to make sure they’re a good match given your budget, timeline, and unique vision. Here are some key questions you should ask every vendor before enlisting their services. How many couples have you worked with in the past? Asking about the vendor’s number of past clients is a great way to kickoff your list of queries. Through the answer, you’ll learn two very important things about the company. First and foremost, you’ll be able to determine whether or not they have sufficient experience to warrant your trust and investment. Secondly, you can reasonably infer whether customers were satisfied enough to recommend the vendor or not to others. It’s a seemingly basic question that has a lot of mileage in terms of what you can learn. Can I see some examples of your previous work? Before you mess with any logistics, you have to decide whether or not the given vendor can meet your expectations. Each wedding is different, and any reputable provider will tailor their work for the individual needs of each client. Instead of taking the vendor’s word for it, you should ask to see some examples of their previous work. Most vendors will keep pictures or even videos of past weddings for promotional purposes. This way, you get to judge their final products before spending a dime and can determine if their work is a good match for your special day. Could I contact some of your prior clients? Seeing pictures of the vendor’s work and hearing their pitch is one thing; talking directly to prior clients is even more revealing. Don’t be afraid to ask a vendor for the contact info of other couples who used their services. In fact, many companies keep a handy list of emails and phone numbers of satisfied customers who agree to be contacted for this very reason. You’ll get a first-hand review of the vendor without having to worry about any bias or half-truths. Since you’ll soon be in the same position, there’s truly no better resource to consult. How much do you charge for your services? Price shouldn’t have to feel like a taboo subject when you’re conversing with a potential vendor. As cost plays a major role in your decision, the answer to this question could end up saving couples a lot of wasted time. Furthermore, any unwillingness to provide a clear answer at this point in the process should help weed out shady vendors. Even if they can’t offer an exact number, reputable providers should have no trouble giving you an estimate based on a few factors of your wedding such as size and location. Do you offer any discounts? Even if you’re satisfied with the initial cost put forth by the vendor, it’s always a good idea to ask about available discounts. Most vendors will offer some sort of cost reduction or promotion to encourage couples to use their services. Generally speaking, you might have a good chance of landing a deal based on the size of your wedding party, the amount of money you’re going to spend, and even the time of year. You can’t rely on the offers to be advertised explicitly by the vendors, so make sure to ask what kind of savings are available. Now that you know how to question your way to the ideal vendor, you should visit the Rocky Mountain Bridal Show in Denver to put these skills to the test. If that location isn’t convenient, simply click through to the Wedding Shows Work site tickets to upcoming shows in your area.