1/30 Real Bride Danielle: How to Bridal Show Like a Pro

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Free notebook from Cornell Catering

I love shows and conventions; there is always swag, raffles, and free snacks. All things right up my alley. Good news my fellow brides and bros, bridal shows are huge and plentiful. Now, I’m essentially done planning my wedding, but I still like going to shows for inspiration and a few last minute vendors I need. Here are some tips and tricks to make the most out of any bridal show you might be headed to.

Bring a wing man

Shows are easier when you have a partner in crime. You can tag team vendors you want to avoid, stay organized, and mostly importantly, snag double snacks. Two is fine, three is plenty. Bringing your entire bride tribe might become a little overwhelming, so try to keep your crew to just one or two.

Be prepared

Keep your teeth and ambition bared y’all. Usually the vendors that will be attending the show are listed somewhere. Have a battle plan. Do you need a photographer and a DJ, but already have a venue? Avoid visiting the venue tables (unless they have cupcakes) to save yourself time and aggravation. If you can find a map of where everyone will be, you can even build a plan of attack beforehand. There is also usually a schedule of events that will let you know when fashion shows, raffles or demonstrations are taking place. Be sure to check this and plan accordingly. Also, bring a bottle of water — talking and elbowing your way through the masses is thirsty work.

Be Bold

Remember, you are the bride, a queen, nay, a Khaleesi in your own right! There are hundreds of vendors; they need you, but you don’t necessarily need them. If a vendor is overly pushy and in your face, WALK AWAY! You don’t need to waste your time on the rude peasants. There will be a much friendlier vendor of the same variety two tables down. But also, please be polite. This is how these people put food on their tables. If someone offers you a brochure and is polite and earnest, smile, thank them and shove it in the bag of other stuff you will sort through later.

Walk against the tide

We got to the show right around when it started. Most shows are set up in aisles. The first aisle will always be really crowded because that’s where most traffic will head first. If it looks like everyone is going right, go left. Try to walk to the opposite end of the room and start working backwards. There is usually less traffic this way and the vendors can give you a little more attention.

Set up a separate email address

If you haven’t already done so, make an email address that is just for wedding things. My regular email is my first and last name, my wedding email is my first name and my eventual married name. It makes your life so much easier to funnel all the wedding spam into one place. You can use this email to sign up for all of the raffles, mailing lists and promos a vendor might have to dazzle you. Make sure you check it just in case you win something. You can also totally use this one for vendor conversations and put it on your wedding website for any questions guests may have.

Enter the raffles

You’re here because your ass is just as broke as mine. Free stuff is what makes my heart sing. Bridal shows are a great chance to snag free things, including services. One of my tribe won a DJ for her wedding. The show I went to even raffled off a complete wedding package with venue, vendors, catering and the whole nine yards. I’ve already put down hefty deposits on all my stuff and sent out invitations, so I didn’t enter, but it’s a great chance and you should enter as many as you can. Just remember to wear your lucky underoos when you go!

Have a system

I was hunting down someone to do hair for my bridal tribe, leads on an officiant and maybe a nice venue for the bridal shower. If I spoke to a vendor I definitely wanted to follow up with, I folded their card/flyer in half or on a corner. A quick motion, and into the swag bag it went, but it helped when I sorted everything later on.

Don’t get sold

A lot of vendors will have “show specials” where if you book with them right at the show, you get certain discounts or perks. I highly discourage booking at the show unless you’ve already done your research and know this is the vendor you are definitely going to go with. Remember, you are Khaleesi of all you see, do not be pressured to make a quick decision. Chances are you can mention meeting them at the show and they will still honor their “show special.” Also, most “specials” really aren’t all that special, so be sure to compare and do your homework.

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My badge of honor from the show

My MOH and I had a total blast scooping up all the free snacks and getting lucky with finding cool vendors. I live in a fairly rural area, so it’s really hard to find salons that can do black hair. My regular gal is an hour in the opposite direction from my venue, so I won’t be using her for the wedding. I found three traveling salons that have black stylists on their team. UBER SCORE! I’ve called and set up an appointment with the one I liked best at the show already. We also wandered past an Alfred Angelo table and just happened to glance down and saw THE necklace. I got both the necklace and matching earrings for $80. I definitely did a victory booty dance and spiked my imaginary ball in the middle of a crowd of people.

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THE necklace

Grab a friend and head out to your local bridal show ladies, tis the season. I hope these tips help you achieve your own victory booty dance and spiked balls.

Do you have any bridal show advice? What are some of your best tips and tricks?