I have now attended and experienced two Bridal Expos: once as a Bride-to-be, and once as a Bridesmaid. Bridal Expos can be awesome for a few different reasons: developing inspiration, meeting vendors in person, entering draws, sampling wedding food/treats, and comparing local vendors to one another. I am certainly no expert, but now that I have two under my belt, I have answers to some questions you may have:
How should I prepare for a Bridal Expo?
This can be an exhausting and overwhelming day. Make sure you arrive feeling comfortable, well-rested, well-fed, and in the right mindset. A lot of treat samples are shared at Expos, so make sure you eat a healthy meal before the Expo to balance out and avoid a sugar crash! I noticed that both Expos I attended had water bottles or a water station, but perhaps bring your own just in case – stay hydrated and skip the water lines!
Most vendors at Bridal Expos offer the opportunity to sign up for their email lists, or enter their draw. It is helpful to have pre-printed contact information on sticker mailing labels. You can write your information by hand or save time by printing it on the labels. Things to include: your name, cell number, email address, and wedding date.
Who should I bring?
I suggest bringing one to three helpers with you (family, bridesmaids etc).
Be clear with your helpers about how they can help, which vendors to be on the look out for, and get them to carry contact info labels. You can also give each of your helpers a sheet of your pre-printed contact sheets to help you stick on all the ballots for the draws.
It’s a “Bridal” expo, but can the Groom attend?
The majority of those attending are female, but that doesn’t mean the grooms aren’t welcome or encouraged to attend! There are also prize draws solely designated for the grooms. Looking back on it, I definitely could have brought my fiancé, but I think he would have left for a beer about halfway through the day 😉
Do you need a “wedding-specific” email address?
Immediately following a Bridal Expo, you will find yourself inundated with tons of emails from vendors you left your info with. You will also be confused (or maybe not, if you read this post!) to receive emails from vendors you didn’t even interact with. Your contact info will be ultimately shared with most, if not all, exhibitors present at the Expo. So expect a ton of emails checking in on your wedding planning, or offering special promotions. You can create a “wedding-specific” email address to give out on this day, so your regular inbox isn’t overwhelmed. Or plan to organize your emails into folders as they flow in.
How can I maximize my time at a Bridal Expo?
Depending on the size of the Expo, it may take you 3-4 hours to get through the whole fair. Depending where you are at with your planning, you can choose your strategy. You can either stop at every exhibitor simply to check it out and enter the giveaway draw. Alternatively, you can pick a few areas to focus on (ie. Photographers, florists, and DJs) and be intentional about which exhibitors to stop at.
It is always fun to watch part of the “show” where wedding dresses and other attire are modeled on a runway. But if you are like me, and only want to stay for a portion of the Expo show – during the show is a great time to chat with vendors one-on-one or follow-up with those you are interested in, as they are less busy without the crowds.
I hope that answered some of your Bridal Expo questions, and you feel ready to not only survive, but also thrive at the next one you attend.