150 exhibitors in one day. Does that not sound crazy exciting?! Bridal Expo is Calgary's largest Fall bridal show, and the thought of meeting and narrowing down your vendors in one day (as opposed to hours and hours of googling and research) is probably the best thing ever. For real!
But if this is your first bridal show, be forewarned. You might end up a smidgen overwhelmed. After all, 150 vendors in one day is A LOT to take in. Most brides end up spending at least half a day at the show (3 - 5 hours on average), trying to take it all in. By the end of it, you'll be exhausted, excited, inspired and potentially, confused as to who exactly you met at the show.
But as someone who has been to more than my fair share of bridal shows, there are a few tricks you can keep up your sleeve to streamline your experience which will enable you to make the most of it - read on, brides!
As opposed to focussing on getting specific details from all the exhibitors, like pricing and availability, treat it more like speed dating. Get a vibe from each vendor. Do you like their energy? Do you like the way they speak? What kind of gut feeling do they give you - confident, professional, knowledgable, helpful? The nitty-gritty of booking them can all be done by phone or email (in fact, getting the pertinent details in an email so you can review them later is probably more helpful) but what you can't replicate is the chemistry between you two.
So how can you get a feel for potential wedding-planning soul mates? Asking open-ended questions (like these below!) allows them to tell you their story, and it's a great way to get to know them quickly.
- How long have you been working in the wedding industry?
- What style of weddings do you like to work on most?
- What inspires you about weddings? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Take advantage of their seating within each booth and rest your feet while you chat (trust us, those vendors won't mind at all either!)
For every vendor you meet, take their business card (you never know!) but separate the business cards into two parts - vendors you got a great feeling from, and others who didn't give you as many butterflies. If you're coming with friends, delegate and put one friend in-charge of one pile of businesses cards and another in charge of the other, that way you're less likely to mix them up. If there were things that you liked about a particular vendor, have your bridesmaid jot down a note on the back of their business card so you can remember what you liked about them.
Remember, it's totally okay to take photos of the booths at the show! Make sure to snap a photo of their booth with their business name visible in the photo so you can match up business cards to booths and jog your memory.