Wouldn’t it be dreamy if there were some sort of one-stop-shopping event where you could meet several vendors in an afternoon? You could see different floral and cake displays, look at wedding gowns, talk with representatives from various venues for receptions and rehearsal dinners, and maybe pick up some new ideas you hadn’t even considered.
It exists! It’s called a wedding show. Saint Louis Bride Magazine happens to put on two wedding shows a year, and they are spectacular, if we may say so ourselves. If you’ve never been, you might need a quick lesson on how to navigate. So print out this DO and DON’T list and be on your way!
And while you’re at it, go ahead and schedule yourself to come to Saint Louis Bride Magazine’s next two wedding shows… July 20, 2014 at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel and January 11, 2015 at The Chase Park Plaza Hotel.
DO DO DO!
- DO make and bring labels. A simple mailing label can save you tons of time, trouble, and the potential of carpal tunnel syndrome. Use a standard mail merge program, include your name, the groom’s name, an email address, a phone number, and your wedding date. Then instead of filling out information cards and raffle cards, you can just slap on a label and hit the next booth.
- DO bring your wedding planner book, or have your iPhone planning app open and ready to go, in case you book any appointments on the spot.
- DO bring a camera, or have that iPhone app ready too! You might see a display you’d like to recreate, or save the image of something you fancied for when you meet with the vendor.
- DO bring color swatches. Do you know how many shades of pink there are? Now triple that number. Instead of trying to describe or visualize, just bring a couple swatches so you can see if anything you spot at the show would look good in your colorscape.
- DO know your guest list. If you’re looking for a venue and find one you love that holds 80 people, make sure your guest list isn’t 280 people, or the best man might have to make his toast from the parking lot.
- DO know what you’re shopping for.
You might have your dress, shoes and cake already, so you can scoot past those booths. Keep your focus to what you still need, and make a beeline for those vendors.
- DO keep an open mind. Just because you thought the DJ your friend used at her wedding was the only choice, you might run across some other ones you click with. You’re just here to gather information, not sign on the dotted line.
- DO bring paper and pen. You can delegate this job to one of your bridesmaids or future mother-in-law perhaps, but be sure to take notes on anything you see, want to remember later, or names of vendors you want to Google search.
- DO save your feet! Don’t doll up in high heels for this one, girls. Wear shoes you can stand and walk in for a couple hours. Save your tootsies for the towering heels you’ll wear on your wedding day.
- DO bring a bag. Those reusable totes are for more than just groceries. Vendors often hand out samples, pamphlets, and more, so have your own “stash and carry” ready to go.
DON’T DON’T DON’T!
- DON’T go it alone. Bring your mom, his mom, maid of honor, anyone who is involved in your wedding planning. It’s a fun day that can be even more fun, and less overwhelming, with your support system backing you up.
- DON’T arrive hungry. While there will likely be cake samples galore, Hell hath no fury like a young lady on a budget with low blood sugar. Eat a real lunch first.
- DON’T allow yourself to be talked into something you don’t want. Keep your vision in focus, your plans straight, and if you aren’t comfortable with a vendor, don’t feel forced to make an appointment.
- DON’T feel pressured to put down deposits on the spot.
- DON’T be stressed! Enjoy yourself! You’re just going to gather ideas and information, sort of like walking through living pages of a wedding magazine!
- DON’T feel like you have to make any decisions at the show or even that day. Go home, take time to go through the information, and make a relaxed, informed decision.
- DON’T expect to learn every detail of everything right then and there. Vendors want to be gracious but won’t have time to spend 15 minutes alone with you. There are dozens of brides there! Get the information you need and if the booth is super crowded, you can call to book an appointment if you’re really interested.
- DON’T forget your budget! Have an idea about what you can afford, what you want to spend, and don’t get caught up in one amazing thing you see that could blow your whole budget.
- DON’T rush! Take your time! You could spend a couple hours strolling the aisles, meeting vendors, and dipping Rice Krispies treats in chocolate fountains. Slow down and take it all in.
- DON’T forget the groom’s side. Even if he doesn’t want to come along, his mother might. And she’s about to be your mother-in-law. And the grandmother of your future children. So pick up the phone and invite her, include her on appropriate decisions, and make sure she gets to be a part of the process. Remember, you catch more future babysitters with honey than you do with vinegar.