Bridal Fairs

What to know before you go

We know how it is: When the euphoria of the engagement begins to fade, you’re struck by a surge of panic – “I need to plan the wedding!” Attending a bridal fair is a great timesaving opportunity to shop and plan for your big day – all under one roof.

Not only can you meet and speak directly with a wide variety of wedding professionals but you’ll be able to smell the flowers…taste the cakes…peruse photographers’ portfolios…listen to DJs…sample décor items…try on the veils… and so much more! Plus, most bridal shows offer prizes and many of the individual vendors give away free samples.

Just as bridal fairs help you prepare for your wedding, you should properly prepare for the fair.

Here are some tips:

• Before hitting the fairs, make a checklist of services you still need, and information you want from each type of vendor.

• Take a close companion along. It is more likely that you will be able to make a decision and book a vendor if you can get input from someone you trust.

• Wear comfortable clothes and shoes – you’ll be doing a lot of standing/walking.

• It’s a good idea to bring along a pen and paper so you can make notes about the various exhibitors as needed.

• Consider bringing a large purse or canvas bag or notebook to collect information (even though quite often someone gives out free bags to carry things in).

• Bring your checkbook if you want to actually book any services, or hold dates with a deposit. You might also find some special sales on items, and not everyone takes plastic.

• Pre-printed address labels or an address stamp are handy when signing up for giveaways.

• Bring an appointment book for convenient scheduling.

• Enter as many giveaways and contests as you can. You never know – you might be a winner.

• Ask lots of questions – that’s what the vendors are there for. They want to help you and you are under no pressure to buy from them, so find out everything you need to know.

• While chatting with vendors, see if you feel comfortable with their personality, and if they will be easy to work with.

• Be sure to request references: You want to make sure that the people you hire for your special day have made other weddings a happy, successful and memorable occasion – and who better to ask than other couples!

• Collect any information you are interested in and take it home to look over again at your leisure.

• Keep your eyes open for ideas to incorporate into your own wedding, such as flower arrangements, color combinations (in photographers’ sample albums, for example), and favors.

• If you are unable to attend a particular fair, send your mother or friend to register you for prizes and collect information on services you need.

• Try to meet and exchange phone numbers with other brides. They can be a terrific source of information, ideas, advice and friendship. You can never have too many friends or good ideas.

*For a list of upcoming bridal fairs, check our Resource Directory