I know we are technically taking this week “off” to celebrate the holidays, BUT we have some important business coming up that we need to get your prepared for:  bridal shows!  The New Year is the time for bridal shows and other events to help you find vendors and plan your wedding.

With lots of special events coming up in the very near future, we have Paul Beardmore, owner of The DJ Connection and producer of the upcoming Winchester Bridal Expo (January 8th at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club), with some advice for how to survive a bridal show.  I bet you’ll find a few tips below that you would have never thought of doing.  I know I certainly did!  And, if you are looking for an show to attend be sure to check our sidebar for a full list of upcoming events in the DC area.

Take it away, Paul:

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Photo Credits: Stephen Gosling Photography

The busy bridal show season is quickly approaching, with the Winchester Bridal Expo being the first large bridal show of the New Year in the DC area.  If you’ve never attended a bridal show, it can be a little overwhelming at first.  Bridal shows give you a unique opportunity to meet with a lot of wedding professionals, all in one place, all in one day.  We have outlined a few tips and ideas below to help you get the most out of your bridal show experience.

Here is the Bridal Expo’s top ten tips for bridal show success.

1.  PRE-REGISTER BEFORE THE SHOW
Save time by registering before the show. Registration only takes a few minutes and will save you from having to fill out a registration form at the show. You’ll skip the lines, and be ready to make your way in faster.

2.  MAKE CONTACT LABELS
Bring address labels with you phone number attached. Each vendor will most likely have a drawling for prizes at their booths. Instead of having to fill out multiple forms with your contact info, prepare some electronic labels before the bridal show. Information to include: your name, address, phone number, and email address & wedding date.

3.  BRING A PEN AND NOTEBOOK
Bring a notepad and pen so you can take notes.  Write down contact info of vendors you talked to or thoughts you have while attending the bridal show.

4.  BRING A DIGITAL CAMERA
Bringing a simple digital camera will allow you to quickly remember some of the great things you saw at the show.  Did you see a great dress during a bridal fashion show?  Cameras will also help you remember which booth you liked best.  Sometimes their cards and info will get lost, but if you see their booth, it will bring back conversations you may have had with that vendor.

5.  BRING PEOPLE YOU TRUST
Bringing your friends, bridesmaids or close family members to the bridal show will help them feel involved and also give you a chance to share ideas back and forth.  They will be able to give you advice, or maybe they have used that particular vendor before.

6.  ARRIVE EARLY & BRING YOUR CHECKBOOK
The most popular and best vendors book their services quickly.  It’s pretty much a first come, first serve type basis.  Many wedding vendors will offer a “bridal-show-only” discount.  This will help you save even more money if you are able to find your vendor at bridal show.

7. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Know which wedding services you need before the show.  Also, try to find out which wedding vendors will be exhibiting.  You can usually find this information on the bridal show’s website, with links directly to each of the vendors websites.  This will help you know what questions to ask and allow you to visit those vendors you are particularly interested in.

8.  ASK QUESTIONS AND ALLOW THE VENDORS TO EDUCATE YOU
In most cases, the wedding professionals at bridal shows do not use high pressure sales tactics.  They will be able to provide you with valuable information that will assist you in planning your wedding, if you give them a few minutes of your time.

9.  WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES
You will be on your feet all day, so it pays to wear comfortable walking shoes.  You may also want to leave your heavy coat in the car, so you don’t have to carry your winter coat around all day.

10.  MAKE A DAY OF IT
Plan on attending the bridal show for several hours.  Keep in mind that drawings for prizes (especially grand prizes) are typically made near the end of the show, and you must be present to win the prize.  This will allow you to visit all the vendors and find everything you need.

Above all – have fun!

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Photo Credit:  Stephen Gosling Photography

Thank you so much, Paul!  For more information about the upcoming Winchester Bridal Show (January 8th at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club), be sure to visit their website or register (for free!) right here.

For more tips on planning your wedding in DC, Maryland or Virginia, visit our advice page with lots of helpful information from local professionals.

Photo Credits: Stephen Gosling Photography from Alicia + Kevin’s wedding

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