The Show Experience
by Michelle Drewek
PHOTOGRAPHY Studio 29 Photography + Design
Most brides have been thinking about their wedding day since they were little girls. Dreams of the perfect dress, delicious cake and ornate décor dance around in our heads for years before we meet “the one.” When the day comes that the love of our life asks us to marry them, the idea of planning a wedding seems so natural.
But as easy as it was for our childhood fantasies to take flight, reality quickly grounds a bride as the list of to-dos begins to grow. Before you press the panic button, take a step back from jumping headfirst into intensive planning and look to the ultimate wedding resource available to the modern-day bride.
Bridal shows are the best place to let your eyes and intuition guide you. Instead of having to spend countless hours of time and energy researching, calling and meeting with a myriad of vendors separately, a bridal show gives you the opportunity to meet with numerous experts for every facet of your wedding day under one roof in a single afternoon.
Once you determine which show(s) you want to attend, take time to prepare so you can make the most out of this incredible opportunity. Start by printing off a list of vendors that will be there so you can highlight those you absolutely want to speak with. Then, come up with a general list of questions you can ask each vendor for a specific need (i.e. florists, caterers, DJs, etc.). After the show, filter through all of the information that was handed out to you, keep those you want to learn more about, and review the notes you took when speaking with vendors.
You can easily compare their answers to figure out what you like and don’t like, discover new ideas you never would’ve thought up on your own and figure out whom you want to do a follow-up meeting with. By now you will most likely have a good grasp on who you “clicked” with, and can drastically narrow down the field of vendors you will take the time to have an individual meeting with post-show.
Besides doing your due diligence to collect information while you are at the show, it’s equally important to let your intuition guide you. Vendors will have a display set up showcasing their unique styles and services. It can be visual overload, but if you stay focused you can begin to see what you are drawn to and better envision what you want your wedding day to look and feel like.
Don’t be afraid to tell them when something doesn’t match the style you are going for. A true professional will be accommodating and have a different sample to show you, or perhaps even give you a recommendation of someone they feel is a better match for the specific need you are looking to fulfill.
If you are too intimidated to talk to vendors right off the bat, try easing your way into the process by speaking with other brides in attendance. You can gain insight from someone that is in the same boat as you, and get advice from their own time spent researching. Who knows, they may be doing something unique at their wedding that you might consider for yourself as well.
Finally, make sure you stop by the Veil Magazine booth or check your gift bags for the latest issue of Veil Magazine. Wedding magazine publishers have been in the business for a while and more than likely have worked with many of the vendors in attendance (or showcased weddings that used featured vendors). They’re in this business to provide information for brides and would love to meet and speak with each and every one of you!
Bridal shows truly are the time to stop around and meet various artisans under one roof, which can save you time. Best of all, you are the #1 priority of every professional in attendance. In a room full of brides-to-be, everyone will make sure you feel truly exceptional and important. It’s an unbelievably positive experience that not only takes a layer of pressure out of the planning process, but also allows you to embrace the special feeling that comes along with being a bride.