How to Prepare for Wedding Shows

It’s officially 2018 (yay!) and with the start of any new year comes lots and lots of wedding shows, so today we’re going to talk about the different types of wedding shows available to you and how to make the most out of them. 

To get started, you first need to understand a little bit more about the types of wedding shows available for you to attend.

1) Expos

These usually take place at a convention center and each vendor will have a booth to display their product or services. All you'll need to do walk through the aisles to meet everyone. 

Pros: You get to see A LOT of vendors all at once and in one place. 
Cons: You're meeting A LOT of vendors all at once, so it can be difficult for you to remember all of them and keep them straight. 

2) Tours 

These take place at multiple venues and each venue will be set up like a wedding and showcase one vendor from each category. 

Pros: These are a great time to check out venues because they are set up like a typical wedding. It's also a great way to see the work that vendors can do, such as flowers, design, transportation, music, coordination, etc. Similarly, tours are a great way to gather ideas and style inspiration. 
Cons: Tours are usually longer days, and while some are self-guided, others provide transportation which means you'll need to stay on the route and see all of the vendors, even if you aren't interested in them. 

3) Open Houses

These usually take place at a single venue, and usually have a variety of vendors on site, but they may not cover every category and you won't see nearly as many vendors as expos and tours. 

Pros: These are free events for the public and a great way to tour venues. 
Cons:  Sometimes these can be difficult to find out about because invitations are sent to the vendors' clients and prospective clients. If there are particular venues or vendors you're interested in, I'd recommend reaching out them directly and asking about any upcoming open houses that they are hosting. 

Now that you know a little more about the different types of wedding shows, it's time to set some goals and intentions for what you'd like to accomplish at the upcoming wedding shows. 

So first, let’s talk about your goals.

If you’re newly engaged, wedding shows are a great way to gather ideas, see what’s out there, what your options are, gather some pricing information, and just overall kick start wedding planning.

If you’ve been engaged for a little while, your goal may be a bit more focused, like finding a photographer, or tasting foods from different caterers, finding a florist whose style you really like, or finding a dress.

If you’re mostly finished with planning, you may want to use the shows to finalize small details, like calligraphy or signage, or you may even want to attend just to check out the vendors you’ve hired one more time in person.

Regardless of where you’re at in the planning process, wedding shows can be very useful, but setting your goals and intentions before you arrive is really important.

Once you know your goals, it’s time to determine which shows will help you achieve them.

Here’s how:

1) Check the dates, times, and locations of the shows to ensure you are available.

I'd recommend giving yourself the entire available time for tours, at least 2 hours for the larger expos, and about an hour for open houses. 

2) Check the vendors that will be participating in each show.

Look at the overall number to gauge the size of the show, and check the number of vendors within each category, especially if you have specific goals for a particular category. 

3) If you find vendors that you like, check out their websites ahead of time so you can prepare questions for them at the show. 

Once you've chosen a few shows to attend, here are a few extra tips:

1) Buy your tickets online, if possible, to avoid lines. Some shows will offer discounts for pre-ordered tickets, as well, so take advantage!

2) Bring a bag for brochures, giveaways, and other goodies.

3) Invite your friends or family. This doesn’t mean your partner doesn’t need to attend, and honestly if you can both make it, that’s even better. But having a trusted friend nearby to ask questions and help you choose vendors that fit your personality can be helpful, too.