Bridal shows are a great opportunity to meet a bunch of vendors at one time. When utilized correctly, bridal shows can save you a ton of time in planning. But with sometimes 50-75 vendors at a single show, all trying to win your business, it can be incredibly overwhelming. People are handing you things left and right. They’re trying to get you to enter giveaways, fill out forms for more information and share every detail of your big day. It’s a lot.

But, if you follow these tips below, it can be an amazing time saving asset to your planning process. Here’s how to make the most of your bridal show experience.

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  • Review the Vendor List Online | About a week before, go to the show’s website and look for the list of participating vendors. Most shows publish this information and update it regularly as new vendors sign up. Visit participating vendors websites to get a feel for the service they provide, their style and price point.
  • Know What Services You Need | Surprisingly a lot of bridal shows are open to just about anyone, not exclusively wedding professionals. This means in addition to photographers, rental companies, venues, etc, there could also be realtors, chiropractors, medical spas, and department stores. Make a list of the types of services you hoping to learn more about at the show and avoid all the other categories.
  • Study the Floor Plan | When you first arrive, they will hand you a floor plan that details booth numbers and which vendors are at each booth. If you did your homework before hand, you’ll already know which vendors you’re most interested in visiting. Find them on the map, highlight their location and make a beeline to their booth, ignoring everyone else in your path.
  • Always Buy a VIP Ticket | The added perks of fashion show attendance or a swag bag are not really worth the extra cost. What makes the VIP ticket valuable is early access. Getting in the door early allows you extra, uninterrupted time to talk with vendors as they won’t be trying to speak to everyone else at the same time.
  • Enter the Giveaways | At most shows the organizers will arrange a giveaway at the end of the show. Each vendor has the option to participate and some of the prizes are pretty awesome. They can range to a discount on services to free add-on and even a free honeymoon! You might be automatically entered just by attending but be sure to ask. Winning could save you big.
  • Prepare to Leave and Come Back | Most shows last about four hours, more than enough time for you to visit with all the vendors you’re interested in. Plan on arriving early to have some one-on-one time with vendors you’re interested in. After you’ve met them all, go grab a drink and talk about the vendors you like or didn’t like. Come back towards the end with enough time to schedule consultations with the ones you’re particularly interested in. A lot of vendors will offer you special pricing if you book or schedule a consultation at the show. Also, most giveaways aren’t until the very end and you must be present to win.
  • Arrive Hungry | Whatever you do, don’t eat before coming. Participating caterers and bakers always prepare a spread for you to sample. It’s a great way to be able to taste the quality and see the setup of caterers and bakers before booking. If you’ve just come from lunch, it won’t be as beneficial.

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Have you attended a bridal show yet? How was your experience? Comment below and let us know.