So you just said “YES”… Eeeee– congrats!! One of the most exciting parts of wedding planning, especially in the very beginning, is attending a wedding show! It’s an awesome way to get exposure to all sorts of wedding vendors as well as ideas and inspiration all in one spot. One of the things I love most about attending a wedding show is that you get to meet so many different vendors within a short period of time. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for what is out there without spending hours on end googling. Being surrounded by all things wedding can be super exciting– but it can also get quickly overwhelming as well!
Did you know that Orlando was ranked the second best place in the US to get married right behind Las Vegas? A big part of that is because Central Florida has the MOST photographers, videographers, bridal shops, florists, venues and DJ’s per capita than any other city! Pretty crazy right!? I mean no wonder you can get overwhelmed quickly… there are literally a gazillion options out there when it comes to planning your wedding!
Here are 3 helpful tips to keep in mind as you navigate a wedding show to maximize your experience, while avoiding the overwhelm!
#1: Go Into It With An Open Mind
You may already have a theme, location or other specific details in mind– but remember there are tons of options out there! Go into it ready to soak in new ideas and gather information. Make note of the things that stick out to you so that you can do more digging when you get back home. Don’t go into a show expecting to walk out with your entire wedding planned! That’s a sure fire way to get stressed out quick.
#2: Make a Day of It
Invite your bridesmaids, bring along your mom and your future mother-in-law and make a day of it. Drag along your fiance too while you’re at it! Wedding shows are a super fun experience as a future bride. Tasting wedding cake, looking at pretty pictures and oogling gorgeous wedding dresses is a freakin blast! After the show, plan to go grab lunch and dish over all the great stuff you saw with your wedding crew– it will be a memorable experience for everyone.
#3: Do Your Research
Lots of vendors will be offering “show specials” such as discounted rates or additional perks if you book at the show or shortly after. While this may seem like great opportunity to save some cash or get some extra goodies, be cautious not to jump the gun too quickly. Reputable vendors will give you a few days after the show to set up one-on-one consultations in order to redeem any special offers they have. Be weary of anyone pressuring you to sign a contract on the spot or put down a deposit right away. Hiring wedding vendors is an important decision so do your due diligence by reading reviews and researching fully before making a commitment! Believe it or not, any Joe-schmo can buy a booth at a wedding show.. the show organizers do not pre-screen vendors so don’t automatically assume they’re legit. Do your homework and save yourself a headache later!
Set up an e-mail account just for wedding shows and planning purposes. You can expect a flood of e-mails after the show so you may not want to use your primary e-mail address when signing up for giveaways or special offers!
Author: Elle Baez, Orlando wedding photographer & wannabe crossfitter