Top 7 Bridal Fair Tips

Happy Hump Day everybody! Can you believe this weather?! While practically half the country is getting dumped on by Mother Nature, it’s 75 degrees and sunny here in KC! I’m sitting outside with my assistant {aka my dog} as I type! Of course, we have a chance of snow this weekend, so I have to enjoy this beautiful sunshine while I can. Fickle Kansas weather.

This warm weather has me thinking spring time, and you know what comes with spring? Bridal fairs, and lots of them. In fact, they’ve already started happening for 2015. One of my very best friends just got engaged last month and she recently asked me to be her matron of honor. I am SO incredibly excited and honored that she asked me to fill this special role in her big day {although I think “matron” makes me sound old, but I can deal}. Since I’m going to be a part of her wedding, she asked if I would attend a bridal fair with her in Topeka this past Saturday. There were a ton of vendors and it was way crowded, but we had so much fun while we were there!

Wedding_Dresses

Both dresses from Belle Vogue

 

Now that I’m married, and now that I have more than a few friends that are engaged or married, I’ve been to my fair share of bridal expos. I think every bride-to-be should go to at least one while they’re engaged. They’re pretty informative and they save you loads of time because you can talk to a bunch of vendors in person all in one day.

That being said, bridal expos can also be pretty overwhelming, and if it’s your first one, it’s difficult to know what to expect. I’ve compiled a list of my top seven tips for bridal fairs to help you thoroughly enjoy your day and get the most out of your experience.

#1 Pre-register

In this day and age, it’s pretty darn simple to register online ahead of time for these things. I’ve even registered for them on my phone. Typically you can save a few bucks by registering early, so it’s definitely worth it to take the time to do it. Not only does it save you some dough, but it can also save you time the day of the expo. A lot of them have a line for pre-registered guests and a line for brides who still need to register. Guess which line is usually significantly longer than the other? Pre-registering is kind of like a Fast Pass at Disney World.

#2 Check out the vendors online beforehand

Every bridal fair I’ve been to has had a list of the vendors that are participating in the expo on their website. Usually they put it up pretty early and then add vendors to it as the day approaches, so it’s worth it to check in a couple of times to see if anyone new has been added. This helps you become familiar with the participating vendors and get a feel for who you really want to talk to the day of. Consider this your preliminary game plan.

#3 Print your contact info on address labels

I know a ton of people who offer this tidbit of advice for bridal fairs. I didn’t do it for the ones I went to when I was engaged and trust me – by the end of the afternoon {depending on how many vendors are there}, you’ll feel like your hand is about to fall off. Pretty much every vendor will ask you for some sort of info, either for a drawing or so they can follow up with you later. Save yourself some time and some hand cramps by printing all your info on address labels before the day of the expo. Things to include are your first and last name, your fiancé’s name, your address, your primary phone number, your e-mail, and your wedding date. Those are the big six that most vendors ask for. Any other info they may want can be written in with a pen. {That reminds me…bring a pen. You’ll probably get a million at the fair, but it’s always good to be prepared.} Print a couple of sheets off before the big day, bring ’em with you, and then peel and stick!

#4 Wear comfy shoes

For the love of all things practical, wear comfortable shoes! I know you want to look cute and girly, and you should! But forego the heels and wedges unless they’re the holy grail of comfortable shoes. It may not seem like that much walking, but you will be on your feet for several hours at most bridal fairs. Between walking from booth to booth and standing around talking to vendors, your feet will be barking at the end of the day when you get home. Put the heels back in the closet and bust out those chic flats you love so much.

#5 Eat a decent meal

Surprisingly, I’ve encountered a number of brides who don’t eat anything before the bridal fair. Their reasoning is that they’ll be sampling a bunch of food and they don’t want to get full. Let me assure you, even with 20 different caterers there, you probably won’t eat enough food to make a meal. I’ve never gotten full off of samples at a bridal fair, and I’ve been to some big ones. However, there is some merit to the thought of not eating. You will be sampling a good amount of food, so you also don’t want to eat a huge meal and then be too full to sample everything. Opt for a light breakfast or brunch to keep you fueled and to leave room in your stomach for all those yummy samples!

Wedding_Fair

Cake from Hy-Vee // Dress from David’s Bridal

#6 Bring your posse (but not too many)

When attending bridal fairs, I think it’s critical to have at least a couple of people with you. Whether that be your mom, your maid of honor, or both, it’s always good to have a few trusted friends with you to give you solid opinions and help you take notes. Plus it’s super fun to make a girls’ day out of it. With that in mind, you also don’t want to bring 20 of your BFFs with you. Bridal fairs are crowded enough when there are just a couple of you. The more people you have, the harder it is to stick together in a crowd and the easier it is for you as a bride to get overwhelmed with opinions. Pick a couple of your best gals and let the rest of your besties live vicariously through your Instagram feed.

#7 Talk to as many vendors as you can

It’s what you’re there for. Even if there’s a vendor you saw online that had astronomically high prices or had a website that wasn’t working, go talk to them anyway. They may be running specials on some of their packages, or you might find that they’re in the process of building a new website. Give them the benefit of the doubt and go talk to them in person. If you still don’t like them, no big. There’s no obligation to book them. Conversely, there may have been a vendor you loved online, but once you talk to them in person, you may feel like it’s just not the right fit. That’s totally cool too. Bottom line: you won’t know unless to talk to them.

 

Hopefully these tips help all you brides out there survive the madness that is bridal fair season. There’s plenty of other advice I could give, but these are the big boys that apply to a majority of expos. The main thing is to make sure you have fun with it! Don’t let it overwhelm you. Bridal fairs are meant to be exciting, so go out there and make the most of it!

{And for those of you brides who are in the KC area, the KC Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Fair is coming up on March 1st at the Overland Park Convention Center. This is one of KC’s biggest fairs and pre-registration is already open, so go get your tickets!}

Wedding_Decor

Top two images from T.H. Peterson Photography in Scranton // Table setting from Kooser Design in Topeka

 

Free Speech Friday

Happy Friday everybody! You know those news stories that just seem to stick with you? I’m not the most diligent about watching the news, but I at least watch enough to seem like I don’t live under a rock {plus I get a reader’s digest version of the news every morning on the radio}. I’m also not one to share my opinions on said news stories, but every once in a blue moon, I dust off my little soap box and share a word or two. As such, I’m dubbing today “Free Speech Friday.”

Lately, there seems to be one news story that just won’t go away. I see it on TV, they talk about it on the radio, and it’s all over my newsfeed. Yup, you guessed it…it’s Deflate Gate.

Surprised? Were you thinking I would address something else? Perhaps a larger world issue, like the most recent State of the Union address or the omnipresent ISIS threat? No, I’m here to talk about football, because that’s all I hear about on the news. A bit deflating, isn’t it? {See what I did there?}

deflate-gate-patriots-colts-memes-12

Those of you who know me know that I’m a football nut. I mean really, if there’s a game on, I’ll probably watch it regardless of who’s playing {although I’d much rather watch my Chiefs, but beggars can’t be choosers}. So for all you football lovers out there, please know that I’m right there with you and I don’t say this ignorantly or because I don’t care dearly for the best sport in the world. But let me just make my position entirely clear – I don’t think Deflate Gate is that big of a deal.

Just think about it. Out of all the threats and scandals and bad things {and even good things} in the world, we’re choosing to focus on 11 semi-soft footballs. Really? It’s being equated to one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history {I realize it’s all in jest, but just think about that for a second}.

I know, I know, this is pro football. And for all of the football players out there who are affected by this scandal, I know that this is their livelihood. I know some feel that they need to hold the Patriots accountable, as this isn’t the first time they’ve been associated with shady winning tactics. I know a lot of people out there don’t believe that Tom Brady had nothing to do with it.

For the sake of making a point, I’m choosing not to share my stance on the whole issue, because as I mentioned before, I just really don’t think it’s worth all the media attention it’s been getting. Yes it may have affected the game. Yes, this is the fate of the Super Bowl we’re talking about. Yes it may have helped the Pats or hurt the Colts. But in the end, they all played with the same footballs.

So, here’s what I think we as a football fan base need to do: get over it. To the NFL, if you’re going to punish the Pats, then punish them. People have made their stances and opinions pretty clear, so gather your evidence and come to a consensus so the rest of football nation can move on and look forward to the Super Bowl. We have bigger issues to worry about and bigger joys to celebrate.

Positivity

Boy, yesterday was a Monday, wasn’t it? I mean, there are Mondays, and then there MONDAYS. Yesterday was the latter. It all started when I forgot to turn the crockpot on before I left for work. I’m awful at remembering to do this. I really think they need to make crockpots that talk to you; that way, if you start to leave without turning it on, it’ll say, “Ummmm, hello? Forgetting something?” But alas, I must rely on my woeful short-term memory. The particularly bad part about yesterday was that I remembered to take the crockpot out of the refrigerator, but then I forgot to turn it on. I didn’t realize it until I had gotten a decent distance from my house, but nevertheless I turned around and raced home to turn it on. I wasn’t about to let all that food go to waste!

Anyway, the rest of my day proceeded pretty similarly to how it started. Stressful projects at work, computer programs crashing in the middle of a project, not having anything for lunch…you get the idea. One of the biggest disappointments of yesterday, though, was some unfortunate news we got.

Let me back up for a minute though. For those of you who don’t know {and we haven’t told many yet}, hubs and I are looking for a house! Exciting, right? We’ve been talking about it for a few months, and we started looking online before Christmas, but we finally took the official leap right after the new year. Since the first day we spoke with our realtor, we’ve basically been non-stop house hunting. When we’re not at work, we’re at home together looking online. We’re out every single weekend looking at houses in person {up to 16 houses in a weekend…yeah, crazy}. My compulsive self is constantly compiling lists of houses we like and don’t like and ones we want to see in person and pros and cons and…whew! Needless to say, house hunting is an exhausting process, and we’ve only been at it about a month.

Well a couple of weeks ago, hubs and I found a house we really liked. It had plenty of space, was completely updated, and only had a few minor problems. It fit pretty much all the criteria on our list. But for whatever reason, we sat on it for awhile. A house is a big purchase, so sometimes you just want to think about it, you know? Well apparently we thought a little too long, because when we finally talked to our realtor about putting in an offer, we discovered the house is now under contract AND they have a backup offer if that one falls through. Grrrrr…

And of course, this news came yesterday, on top of everything else that was making Monday fabulous. I have to admit, I was pretty darn disappointed. I know they say not to fall in love with any houses before it’s a done deal, but that’s hard to do when you find one you really like! This was our first major house hunting setback and I was not a happy camper.

Now, I consider myself a pretty positive person. I’m usually one of those annoying “look on the bright side, give people the benefit of the doubt, the grass is always greener” people, but every once in awhile, life just gets me down. Well, life got me down yesterday. I was disappointed. I was upset. I was irritated at myself for having such hesitations about the house. I was ticked at the person who dared to put an offer on the house we wanted.

I decided to go to Target during my lunch break to help shake off my funk and do some soul searching {because what better place to soul search than a mega-store with the cutest clothing and home goods?}. As I aimlessly wandered the aisles of ridiculously cute yet unnecessary knick knacks, I finally got a grip. This is the first house we really liked, and we missed out. That just means there’s something better out there for us. At least now we have a good idea of what we’re looking for. At least we have the means to afford our own house right now. At least we currently have a roof over our heads while we look for a new house. I mean really, life could be way, way worse.

Once I finally got over myself, I felt a little ashamed for being so dramatic {it was an internal drama, but still…silly and not necessary}. I have a really blessed life, and if my biggest worry right now is choosing the right house to buy, then I’ve got it pretty good. So here I am now, having come full circle, trying to be my positive self again. Sometimes I think it’s good when life gets you down, or at least it is for me. It reminds me to count my blessings. I hope you all have a blessed and positive Tuesday, and remember to keep dancing!

Optimist

Sticking To It

Well hellooooooo blog world! It’s been awhile, no? I never feel like it’s been that long since I’ve posted, but I haven’t posted anything since May, so…oops. Life has a funny way of getting away from us, doesn’t it?

Regardless of how much time has passed since my last post, I meant it when I said I wanted to stick with this blog. I do love writing and I love this type of creative outlet. PLUS, one of my new year’s resolutions is to stick with things. I have this bad habit of starting things and not finishing them {usually just little things, like craft projects}. True confession: I have a couple of picture frames that I bought over a year ago, and they still don’t have pictures in them. Pathetic, I know. My brain just goes a million miles a minute and I get side-tracked with new projects. It’s totally a weakness I’m working on.

All that being said, I’m determined to start finishing some of the things I started, and this blog is one of them. {Although, do you ever really finish a blog? Probably not, but you get my point.} I’m trying to really stick to my resolutions this year and better myself as an individual. I truly to believe that if you’re happy and you’re being the best you, then you can much better take care of the ones you love and make them happy as well. This is a creative outlet that I really enjoy and that makes me happy, so I’m stickin’ to it!

I’d love to hear some of your new year’s resolutions, so comment below if you feel so inclined to share! Sharing greatly improves accountability…just sayin’.

My_Year