Wedding Expo 101

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Making the most of your day!

What to do at Wedding Expos:
Brittany from BB Jean Events here, guest blogging on expo navigation! If you’ve never attended a wedding expo (or you have but you’re looking for a better plan of attack!) you’re in the right place!

Expos are awesome for brides! So much fun, deals are everywhere, freebies are handed out like they’re going out of style and everyone is there to cater to you! On the flip side, they can also be overwhelming, noisy and a major energy suck…if you skip a little pre-attendance planning. Follow these tips and make your day fun and productive!

Before the Expo

Map it out. If the vendor list is available ahead of time, take a scan through it and star off the people you must absolutely check out and see. If there’s a map, make sure you star those stops so they aren’t missed.
Make some custom info labels. We’re not talking re-using your same old address labels here folks! Head to any office supply store and get some address labels, head home and get the following on them: Your name (first and last), your fiance’s name (first and last), mailing address, email address, contact #, wedding date, wedding city. This is the info that is asked for most vendor booth drawings and contests and incomplete entries may be rejected. And what’s the point of that?! So make sure you’ve got all of your information.
Get pre-registered. Buying your tickets ahead of time saves you money, time at the door and can often automatically enter you into some BIG prize drawings!
Call the girls! Make it a fun day out, or a weekend if you’re ambitious and your ladies are free. Breakfast out, day at the expo and then head out for drinks to

compare notes…This time in your life is finite! Get the most out of it and have fun!

Expo Day!

Pack the Following:

Your labels: These will allow you to zip from vendor to vendor to quickly enter any contests they’re holding at their booth! And save your hand from going numb with all the writing.
Comfy shoes: If you’re a shoe lover like myself, note I didn’t say ugly shoes, just comfy shoes. They make cute, comfy shoes. Wear them. (note: if you don’t care about the aesthetic nature of shoes, wear whatever comfy shoes that strike your fancy that day). You will be walking a lot, you will be walking quickly. Vendors don’t care what your shoes look like. You will care what your feet feel like. It’s not worth missing out on a crazy awesome deal because you can’t run fast enough in your stilettos.
Your checkbook or credit card: if there’s a vendor you’ve been stalking online in the expo you’re attending, they may be offering expo only deals and discounts. Take advantage of it by being ready to book them and pay a deposit at the expo.
A pen, a granola bar (or other snack), a small pad of paper or notebook, and a camera phone. Are those self explanatory? I hope so.
Upon expo arrival, check out that list of vendors you made Before the Expo and visit them first. If they have deals or freebies limited to the first so many visitors, make sure they’re seen first.
Be prepared to talk to vendors. You’re there to get vendors and ideas for your wedding right?! If you’re thinking of hiring a say, wedding coordinator, and you’re at a wedding coordinator’s booth, talk to them, see what their style is like, if they have sample of their other work, and get a feel for their personality. This can help you weed out endless contacting of other companies later, you may score some awesome deals, and you get the opportunity to ask them firsthand who they are and what they do.
Booths are not museum exhibits! Get in there! Explore what the vendor has created for you!
Need a dress or tuxedo/suit (wedding gown, bridesmaid, mother)? Stay for the fashion show and use that paper and pen to take notes in the program of what you love and what may work for you.
Loop through twice if the show is small enough. It’s easy to miss something and if you have the time, take another lap through!

After the Show:

Dig through that loot bag. See what vendors stuck with you and begin making contacts to see if they’re free for your day. Many of those deals and discounts are only available for a limited time so take advantage! 10% off on wedding coordination, for example, might be enough to go swim with dolphins on your Hawaiian honeymoon!
Many vendors may contact you after the show. See if they may be willing to match discounts or offers from other comparable vendors if they’re a good fit for your day.

Now if you’re going local and attending the Bridal Inspirations Wedding Expo on January 24th, which you should, here are a few specifics to keep in mind for that show!

Get a late breakfast with your girls, then go to the expo and finally gush over drinks at Poppe’s. If they’re all from out of town, you can even put them up in a hotel room for the night. It’s a perfect girls weekend of wedding planning!
Head to the expo early and make it a day. There are different elements to this bridal show including a gown sale, veil/accessory trunk show, a fashion show, etc. Getting there early will allow you to take your time visiting vendor booths and displays while still taking advantage of the other activities offered at the show.
This show offers prize drawings that you need to be present to win. Make sure you’re paying attention to the drawing times. And PS to qualify you need to be pre-registered!
The fashion show is huge (bigger than Seattle shows) and is a big hit every year. Be prepared to finish hunting through the expo early to camp out in a good spot for the show if you’re still looking for the The Dress.
Talk to the vendors. This is a “smaller” show (50+ vendors) giving you the opportunity to actually connect with vendors! Take advantage of it! 

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