- Wear comfortable shoes. The odds are you'll be on your feet for quite a while, and uncomfortable shoes will tire you out too quickly. You might force yourself to visit the last few booths, but it won't be any fun.
- Come prepared with peel off labels with your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and wedding date printed on them. You can make them yourself using Avery labels (I recommend Avery 5160...30 per page) or something similar, and any word processor. You will be writing your name and address a lot otherwise, entering the various giveaways and promotions.
- If you really hate receiving "junk mail", but want to get as much information as you can and participate in the drawings and giveaways, rent a PO box for a while. Then all the wedding related material will come to the PO box, and when you're done with it after the wedding (and before your name is sold to a thousand OTHER mailing lists), you simply cancel the PO box and voila!...no more junk mail.
- Along the same lines, register in advance for a free e-mail address from one of the many free services like Hotmail and Yahoo, or create a new screen name in AOL. When filling out contest entry forms and inquiry sheets use this address, so that when the wedding is over you can simply cancel the account and avoid any further wedding related e-mail. Reserve your main e-mail address for vendors you actually contract with.
- Sign up for all the giveaways. Some vendors give discounts for their services, but more have been giving prizes such as toasting glasses and cash. Just because you already have a limo doesn't mean you can't use what they have chosen to give as a door prize.
- Providing phone numbers to individual vendors when entering their door prize giveaways is usually fairly safe, since these vendors seldom use their contact information for anything other than legitimate follow up. For this reason we DO advise putting your home phone as well as your e-mail address on the labels we recommended back in tip #2.
- Bring a friend or two along. (Yes, it can be your fiance.) You're going to need some help in carrying literature around, as well as someone to offer an objective third party opinion on things.
- Make sure all members of your entourage have cell phones with them in case you get split up. Make sure their cell numbers are in your cell phone's phonebook!
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Bring swatches of material or ribbons with your wedding colors on them. This will help bakers, balloonists, and florists make appropriate suggestions as to what they can do for you.
- Don't expect to walk away from the show with signed contracts in your hand. A show is a place where you make appointments to discuss your wedding in depth. While there are times when you might want to book something right at the show, (such as a limited availability and your date is still open), if at all possible you should wait for a calmer time when you can talk one on one with the vendor and make sure that he/she/they will be able to fully meet your needs.
- Wear comfortable shoes...please!
- When filling out forms make sure to print VERY clearly. You'd hate to miss out on a door prize or lose track of someone you like because they couldn't read your handwriting!
- Take as much literature as you can from everyone. You might not think you need information on a string quartet or a consultant, but who knows, things have a way of surprising you. When you get home, put the literature from services you don't think you need in a box that you can come back to if the situation warrants.
- Bring your date book with you so you can schedule your appointments for follow up.
- Ask lots of questions. The show is filled with wedding professionals, and while you're there you should take advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as you can. These vendors want to impress you with their knowledge of their particular specialty...take advantage of it!!!
- Don't wait for the end of the show to pick up the free bridal magazines. There are usually many more attendees than there are magazines, so don't get left out!
- Prepare for information overload. When you find a vendor you would like to follow up with, take a pen and write what struck you as appealing about them on their business card or literature. When you get home and are faced with brochures from 14 different photographers, your note may be the only thing you have to remember which ones you liked and why. Also, write down any good tips they might give you on THEIR literature to help you remember who was knowledgeable and helpful.
- Wear comfortable shoes - (Do you notice a theme going on here)???
Well, we certainly hope these tips have come in handy for you. If you have a tip that you feel would help others better enjoy their experience and maximize their benefit, please feel free to drop us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what it is. We'll be more than happy to share it with everyone!
Wedding Dreams Productions