If you’re feeling spread thin by all there is to do before the big day – find a venue, hire a caterer, pick a disc jockey, find a dress, the list goes on – we have a (really good) suggestion.
Attend a bridal show! You’ll find information on anything and everything you might want included in your big day – all in one place.
You can also make personal connections with vendors, enter raffles to win free prizes, taste some yummy food, and get stellar ideas on what’s trending this season.
To make sure you make the most of your time at the show, we asked Tina Wilder, wedding coordinator for Honeymoon Island in Dunedin, FL, to share some insider tips about how to maximize your experience. She suggests…
- Check if off – As a bride, checklists should be your best friend. Without them, things can easily be overlooked. Make sure you jot down the services you need prior to the event.
- Bring a bag – You’re going to rack in a ton of brochures, magazines, fliers and business cards. Bring something to carry them in so your hands are free to thumb through whatever vendors have on display.
- Keep color in mind – If you’ve already chosen bridesmaid dresses, bring a swatch.
- Bring a pal – A companion will make your trip more productive (and fun!) Bridal experts say it’s best to bring a friend or family member to one show and your fiancé to another. But don’t attend more than three, experts say. Any more than that and you’ll get overwhelmed. Plus, you’ll start seeing the same vendors over again.
So now you know why attending a bridal show is a must and how to prepare for one. But what should you ask? Washington-based wedding pro and disc jockey Tony Schwartz has narrowed down the top 10 must-ask questions for us:
- “Are you available for my wedding date?”
Without a doubt, this is the first question you should ask, especially when you’re at a larger show. If the vendor is already booked, there is no sense in talking details, unless your wedding date is still flexible.
- “Have you worked at my venue before?”
It’s not a deal-breaker if the answer is no, but if so, ask to schedule a joint site visit in the months leading up to your big day. If the answer is yes, great. Then, Schwartz says, you can ask them about recommendations they have based on prior experience.
- “Will you be the person I work with? If not, can I meet with him or her before signing a contract?”
Do not sign a contract without meeting the person who will personally provide or facilitate your service. Plain and simple.
- “Do you remember the last couple you worked with? What was their wedding like?”
Sometimes it’s good to ask an unexpected question, Schwartz says. Do they remember the last people they worked with? How personal are their services? Listen carefully.
- “Is this your full-time profession?”
Part-time doesn’t necessarily raise a red flag, Schwartz says, but consider that a part-timer might not be as responsive or available as you need.
- “Can you tell me about some creative things you have recently done for your clients?
The answer to this question will give you insight into the company’s passion, talent and creativity, Schwartz says. If one grabs your attention, take note.
- “What does the process leading up to my wedding day look like?”
You want to make sure you’re working with someone who is going to care as much about your big day as you do. What they do behind the scenes — preparation and organization — is just as important as what people will see.
- “What makes you unique from your competitors?”
Negative comments about other companies = major red flag, according to Schwartz. Talented and reputable professionals don’t need to trash talk.
- “What is the craziest thing that has happened on someone’s wedding day? How did you handle it?”
This is an interesting one. You should be able to somewhat gauge the vendors honestly and could possibly avoid a similar problem at your own wedding.
- “Can you provide me with ballpark pricing for my wedding?”
You can’t expect an exact price at a bridal show — too much hustle and bustle. You can, however, give the vendor a few logistical details and ask for an estimate to help with budgeting, Schwartz says.
So there you have it. Tasty foods, door prizes and the chance to mingle with top wedding professionals, all in one fun-filled afternoon.
Trust us when we say bridal shows are the perfect one-stop shop to cross things off that never-ending to-do list without becoming Bridezilla.