Real Bride: Bridal Shows - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

From anna bé bride, Drew:

When I first started planning my wedding, I can’t say bridal shows were the first thing I got excited about. I always had this perception that bridal shows were full of cheesy photographers, old and bland food samples, and pushy sales-person types. Fortunately, my perception was, for the most part, wrong. 

So far, Zachary and I have attended three bridal shows: Wedding Wars, Quality Hill Bridal Show, and Chateaux at Fox Meadows Bridal Show. Each show was unique, and we thought that each show was worth attending in its own way. So we would encourage everyone to check them out, even if just for the free food and giveaways!  

Here are a few tips on making the most of your bridal show visit:

Bridal Show Tip #1: Don’t go alone. Bring your fiancé, members of your bridal party, mom, dad, friends, friends who are also brides, or anyone else whose opinion you trust. Chances are you will be there for a few hours, and it is good to have someone who can offer you another opinion or see things that you don’t. It’s also good to have them give their input on food from the various caterers to make sure it would be a crowd pleaser at your wedding. I brought Zachary to all three shows because he, fortunately, wants to be really involved in all of the wedding planning. For the second show, I invited a friend who is also a bride-to-be, and it was great to exchange ideas throughout the show. 

Bridal Show Tip #2: Always look online for promo codes and free tickets before paying to attend a show. Most likely, you can get in for free. 

Bridal Show Tip #3:  If you don’t already have one, set up an email account (my personal favorite is Gmail) just for wedding correspondence. Give this email to all the vendors (or at least those you aren’t too thrilled about). 

Bridal Show Tip #4: Don’t worry about going down the row, vendor by vendor, to get information. If you miss a couple, you will most likely have their information in your welcome bag; otherwise, you can swing back around later. 

Bridal Show Tip #5: Always be wary about giveaways; unfortunately, there are numerous scams out there. If someone calls to tell you that you won a free honeymoon, for example, it could involve a high pressure sale pitch for pots and pans. Also, many photographers will offer you a free engagement sessions, but most of them require you to sign a contract or sit through a sales pitch. The same applies to free bouquets. Many times, everyone wins the so-called prize.  

Other Bridal Show Tips:

  • Arrive early. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes. 
  • Don’t be intimidated by pushy vendors.
  • Come hungry and/or thirsty. Two out of the three bridal shows we attended had an overwhelming amount of food to sample, two had cash bars, and one even had unlimited soft drinks (perfect for a Diet Coke addict like me!). 
  • Considering bringing pre-printed address labels or business cards. Many of the vendors will ask you for your contact information and you have to give information to enter for drawings to win prizes. 
  • I personally do not care to take notes during the show, but for some it might be useful to bring a small notebook to write down which vendors you like, which you don’t, and any ideas you might get. 
  • Look out for emails with discounts! 

Of course, there are a few downsides to these bridal shows. For example, once the enjoyment and frenzy of the bridal show is over, you return home a bag full of flyers and business cards, which can be overwhelming. Just recycle all of the information you get from people you know you won’t hire immediately. Also, you will get inundated with emails, many from people who weren’t even at the show. But for the free food, prizes (we won an engagement shoot!), and wealth of ideas, bridal shows are still worth a visit. 

Upcoming Bridal Shows:

Think Pink {progressive bridal showcase} - March 6th

Recent Bridal Shows:
Wedding Wars Bridal Show at City Hall Event Center – January 18: 

 

Quality Hill Bridal Show at Grant Humphreys Mansion – January 27: 

 

Bring on the Bling Bridal Show at Chateaux at Fox Meadows – February 16:

Bling Bridal Show at Chateaux at Fox Meadows. Photography Credit: Kristy Pohly

Bling Bridal Show at Chateaux at Fox Meadows. Photography Credit: Kristy Pohly

 

All of our goodies:

Bridal Shows Denver 2013

Bridal Shows Denver 2013