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

 

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