Happy September! As certainly as the leaves will start turning gorgeous golden hues and the Christmas decorations will be on the shelves before Halloween, so has Wedding Show Season arrived! Today we want to give you a couple pointers on how to survive (and get the most out of) this wedding right of passage.
- Bring back up. Whether it is a few members of your wedding party, your parents or your (patient and loving) fiance, it's really nice to have a small entourage at these events which can at times turn into a real marketing blitz. Grab a yummy breakfast with your crew, caffeinate, and spend the day enjoying the people who want to make your wedding a success.
- Show off your status. Vendors don't know if you, your sister or your mother is the bride so if you're comfortable sporting a Bride-To-Be sash, button or accessory, go for it! While you're at it, why not give out a MOB (Mother of the Bride) or MOH (Maid/Matron of Honor) button for your trusted team.
- Have an open mind and remember to have fun. You may have a vision for your Big Day that is hundreds of "Pins" long or even a specific inspiration for your nuptials, but wedding shows are designed to help inspire you and show you new trends and ideas for your wedding. Let the vendors do their "song and dance" and take it all in. Even if they aren't the right match for you, they may have great insight.
- Comfortable yet stylish attire is ideal. While you'll be doing a lot of walking and browsing and should dress appropriately, something that vendors won't tell you is that we appreciate it when you try to look your best. You may be meeting your wedding vendors for the first time today and while they won't judge you for a bad hair day, you want to show them that you are a high quality client who expects the same from their planner/photographer/DJ/officiant/etc. Professional wedding vendors do quite a few initial assessments of potential clients at these shows, and appreciate those who make as much of an effort as they do to start off on the right foot.
- Have the right equipment. We suggest that you bring the following to your next wedding show:
- A tote or handbag large enough to hold all the loot you're going to be given. Whether it's brochures, samples, giveaways or business cards, you're going to walk away with a lot of swag. Consider designating a certain pocket or folder for "To Follow Up" or "To Research" so you don't loose the business card you actually wanted to keep among the piles.
- A camera or camera phone. Make sure you snap pictures of that awesome display, perfect dress or fantastic centerpiece to remember it for later. Vendors don't mind, we like it!
- A sheet of mailing labels with your name and email address on them. There are tons of drawings, raffles and giveaways to enter at a wedding show, and pre-printed labels can help streamline the process. Some shows will provide these for pre-registered attendees so be sure to check out their websites prior to your visit. While you're at it, think about creating a specific wedding email address that you can use for planning details and communications- this can cut down on a lot of e-clutter and doesn't clog up your personal or work emails.
- Water and light snacks. Most shows will have some kind of tasting or sampling or even food vendors but having some provisions makes things a little easier if you'd rather skip the line and get a better seat at the fashion show. Also, many shows will have wine or champagne tastings and nothing is worse than being too fuzzy-headed to properly assess potential vendors.
- Your calendar. While you might find your dream vendor at the wedding show, we don't recommend signing any contracts on-site (just don't tell the other vendors that we said that!). Schedule a personal and individual consult with the vendor and let them know that you love their work but would like to get to know them in a more focused setting before signing on the dotted line.
Now that you have all the tips and tricks from us seasoned wedding show gals, come visit us this Sunday, September 8th at the Sonoma Wedding Show at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa in Santa Rosa. The doors open at 11:00 am. We hope to see you there!