Bridal Expos: Why they’re worth it.

As a bride living in a state where I am unfamiliar with wedding vendors I have feared attending Bridal Expos.  There are a variety of reasons many brides do not attend these expos; including mass emails that flood your inbox, mailings, unsolicited phone calls, and the awkwardness of some vendors “sales” pitches.  My fiance and I have attended two showcases since our engagement and here are some pointers on how to make these expos work for you.  First off, create a wedding email address (ex: goingtothechapel@gmail.com) and never give any vendor your personal email address unless they have been booked.  This will allow you to keep your personal email after getting hitched without having to go to those pesky unsubscribe sites.  Another pointer, be wary of those phone calls after the show claiming that you have won wedding bands or other items, of course…after you attend a 1 hour showcase of sorts that attempts to sell you any plethora of products.

Here are the reasons you should attend Bridal Expos, every chance you can:

1. Venues:  These expos are held in specific locations for a reason.  You may have never thought to hold your reception at PNC Bank Arts Center but low and behold they have a beautiful 6,000 square foot room that holds up to 500 guests.  This room is incredible and personally, I would have never even known about it had I not attended a Bridal Expo this past summer.

2. Vendors, Vendors, and more Vendors: Expos work best for Brides who have just begun planning their special day.  These vendors can tip you towards what colors or themes you would like to use or provide you with any other advice you may need.  My fiance and I discovered a perfect venue location for our wedding through a vendor from an expo.  At times a google search or wedding site doesn’t provide the help you’ll need to plan every aspect.  These vendors practically eat, breathe, and sleep weddings and they can and will point you in the right direction.  It is important to use your time wisely with vendors and make sure you are prepared with questions.  This is your time to have your picking of who you are willing to invest in to make your day stand out from all others.

3. Prizes:  Recently, LJ Productions was at a bridal expo at the Landmark in East Rutherford, NJ and they gave away a free Bachlorette party and honeymoon!  Remember when I told you to be wary of prizes, I was detailing those given out after the expo via another “vendor”.  The prizes Brides win during the expos are incredible and could help a bride and groom planning a wedding on a tight budget.

4. Discounts/Freebies:  Many vendors will offer a discounts/freebies of sorts for booking them through these expos.  Some will give a 15-20% discount or some will throw in some extras (ex: free photo-booth/engagement sessions/lighting).  With the economic crisis who doesn’t want or even need some extras?  Another pointer, attend these events as early as possible in your planning process.  Booking a vendor sooner than later can guarantee cheaper prices as they tend to increase their prices on a yearly basis.

5. Free food:  Who doesn’t like free food?  The food will be provided either by the venue or an outside catering company.  If you are unsure of whether or not you would like to book the venue/caterer, you could always use the expos menu as a sample menu for your own wedding day.  Always use these expos as an inspiration and write everything down that you like or do not like.  You can always use them in the future when planning or discussing details with your vendors/planners.

6. Networking:  By networking I don’t mean with vendors only.  Get courageous and talk with other brides about when they’re wedding is, what they’re themes/colors are, and anything else that could help you.  Remember these expos are for you and its entirely up to you how you plan to use the information given to you.

{mariza}