It’s a new year and many girls out there are sporting new bling on their left hands! Christmas and New Years are huge for engagements, I’m a bit biased towards New Years since that is when David proposed. So the logical next step after getting the ring is to grab some magazines for inspiration and then check out the local bridal shows! I’d say there are 3 typical types of bridal shows that you will see, my observations are based on the location as to the size and feel of the shows..
Expos! – Typically these are very large with 100’s of vendors, I think these can be a bit of information overload because there are so many choices. Not to mention they are packed with 1000’s of brides. You might find up to 50 vendors in one category (typically photography). With the large shows you will often meet vendors from all over, some may be 1-2 hours from your wedding so make sure to ask about travel fees. My advice for these shows is to make a list of what you are looking for and team up with your Mom, sister, bridesmaids or whoever you are close to. Have a plan of what booths you need to see and especially if there are any vendors you definitely want to meet. A great tip I got at a photo expo is to turn down the corner of the brochures of the vendors you really like. Maybe even have a separate bag to put those in other wise they get lost in a sea of brochures and you’ll never remember who that fabulous florist was that you met! Sometimes the booths get pretty packed so you don’t have the time to chat with the vendors or they are trying to address the entire crowd at once.
Hotels!- I’ve found these to be the middle of the pack when it comes to size. They feature around 100 or so vendors and can be a bit more localized. The vendors are usually from the area but a few come in from further out. There are also smaller crowds here but with it being a smaller space it might not feel that way. You might see up to 10 vendors in each category but it isn’t as overwhelming as an expo. At these shows you can usually get a few minutes to chat with the vendors and ask some questions. If you have more questions you can setup a consult so the vendor can give you their undivided attention. In my experience the vendors usually know each other at the smaller shows and can help you with referrals to other great vendors! I have a bias towards these size shows because they aren’t as overwhelming but you still have a good selection to choose from.
Venues! – These are the smallest of the shows and are typically hosted on location at the venue. They usually feature the preferred vendors that the venue recommends and there are only 1-2 vendors per category. This type of show is great for those that hate the large crowds. You also have the security of knowing that they have probably worked at your venue before so they are familiar with how things run. You will have a lot more time to chat one on one at these shows with each vendor.
With all the shows you should check out the vendor list ahead of time and take a look at their websites if you have time. Sometimes they will run show specials where you can get a deal on their services, these typically require you sign a contract that day or schedule a consult within a week or so. It can work out great if you already love them and know you want to book! Some vendors will bring an assistant or even have a past bride help them out so you can find out what it’s like to work with them on a wedding day.
If you are in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area and are ready to hit up some bridal shows there is one this Sunday!!! It’s the only show I will be at this year so please stop by my booth and say hi! I’ll have my “adorable assistant” who is sporting some new bling on her left hand and a past bride who also happens to be an amazing florist helping me out. It should be a fun day! Come say hi!
The Greater Virginia Bridal Show
The Hospitality House and Conference Center Hotel in Central Park
2801 Plank Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Sunday January 8th 1-4pm