ATTENDING MY FIRST BRIDAL EXPO
Sweet Beginning, Engagement, & Wedding Tips
A blog series to help every couple on their adventure to marriage.
By | Crystal Horton Photography
Should you go to a Bridal Expo? Ummm...YES!! Free pass or paid ticket. Go! It is worth every moment.
There comes a point in every engagement when a couple is looking at going to their first bridal expo. There are many reasons to go to a bridal expo. A groom who enjoys meeting with professionals face to face. A bride looking for a girls day out. A couple wanting a quick interview with several vendors in one place. Getting an expo price or the first one to book your favorite vendors! No matter the reason, you can never be too prepared. And trust me, you want to go prepared.
Truth about bridal expos.
Now after I told you to go, let me scare you! But, not too badly. Whether you have been to an expo before or not, these are the facts about bridal expos in the eyes of a bride.
- They are busy and a bit crazy.
- There are usually 4 of each vendor at the smallest expo.
- 7 to 10 vendor types at large ones.
- There are vendors you wouldn't expect. (some just spam, some for your wedding only)
- There are a bunch of giveaways. Take advantage of them.
- There's a plethora of brides (and tribes). Don't be shy. If you want a vendor get their attention.
- Your hand will cramp by the time you leave. All the writing, and form filling.
- Your feet will hurt if you wear high heals.
- Food and Cake vendors are usually slammed. Watch for the gaps and always grab a taste!
- Half vendors will be pushy and rude. Find the fun and personable ones. feel the connections.
- You will get a ton of name, documents, and business cards. Be prepared for info overload.
- Many brides book appointments that day with vendors. If you want the best, you need to beat them!
- Vendors offer deals or inclusions for booking via the event, or at least scheduling a coffee!
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Time for some help.
Now that you are wondering "should i really go to a bridal expo?", I will repeat; Yes! Yes you should.
It's like Google search, but with actual people and actual products you can taste, touch, and experience.
Even if you have all the time in the world, you would not be able to meet with every vendor or professional in your area. So meeting a bunch of them at one time, face to face is a great way to do a quick filter. If you don't feel the vibe from someone after saying hi, then no point in continuing farther. Even if the vendor's table is busy and full, if they appear to be friendly, and interested in a couple that is a great sign, and you should book a meeting before you even walk away! And, don't be afraid of being honest. But, don't shut down a professional or vendor if you need it.
What's the saying, "don't judge a book by it's cover." Well here there will be a ton of judging but at least get the information and read how the vendor interacts with each person.
Finally the tips and tricks.
I can only help you so much in this blog. Share if you think of any I missed. I do have here some very helpful trick and tips for taking your first bridal expo head on. JUST DON'T GO IN BLIND.
Bring pre-printed labels.
Oh YES!!! even as a photographer, I love seeing these. Make sure you aren't missing any questions, but a bride who can peel and stick a label on a free entry form...she is a thinker. It also works for those meet me for coffee forms. Again, there will be extra line items to fill out. Remember, your hand will LOVE you if you don't have to write your address and phone number 20 times.
Bring one or Bring them All.
You have a bride tribe. You have mothers, fathers, siblings. You can choose to bring them all, only your maid of honor, or the groom. If you think about bringing one person, consider it being the groom or your maid of honor. They are more likely to help talk with professionals and vendors you will want to hire.
If you decide to bring them all, bring them all! Have fun. Give them each a vendor to collect information from. One can get photographers. One can get venues. One can get make up artists. And you can collect the second best to photography, getting cake and bakery info.
Side note: If there is someone, a professional, that you seem attracted to, speak with them directly! Don't miss an opportunity.
Be the first in line.
Not all expos will apply to this, but most do. Being the first 10-30 people in line, or brides, will give you extra bonus items. A nicer bag. A free magazine subscription. Chance to win extra money or ring or dress or vacation. Heck I've seen a free drinks bracelet for all you can drink mimosas!
Being the first to get a coffee.
Not only do you get the fresh snacks, tastes, and bites, but you are first face to make an impression on the pros. You get to see the vendors at their freshest, most excited faces. You will get in their calendars first. Coffee dates book up quick. I know first hand. I found my dream photographer. The bride standing next to me pulled out her check and gave the photographer a retainer. Right there, at the expo, and for my wedding date. My wedding date! I was soooooo sad! But she came prepared. More than I. The mouse got the cheese.
Bring the planner (or fully charged phone).
You will want to try and be the first bride, or groom, to set up a meeting with the vendors you like first. If they have your wedding date open, and you enjoy what they have to offer, set up a coffee asap. Only way to do that is to have your planner or phone calendar on hand.
It's better to book a coffee and reschedule, then to forget and keep forgetting.
Wear the flats you love the most.
You might be the kind of gal who loves getting all cute, sexy, and professional. But, leave your clubbing heals at home. With all the standing, walking, and herding at a bridal expo, your feet will hate you. You could be standing and walking for over 2 hours depending on the expo size.
Visit all the booths.
Okay, almost all the booths. If you have a makeup artist, and walk past a booth, grab a card. You never know what could happen the day of the wedding. Your professional could get severely sick. Or worse, double book your date. (Oh yes! I have seen that before.) I actually have seen vendors claim bankruptcy and not have to give couples anything. (2019 bridal season in Dayton/Cincinnati Ohio)
So don't skip a booth because you assume you don't need it. Just say "I have my vendor, but I still want your info."
Not only that, but as a professional, if you have not given a contract and retainer, your wedding is not booked. And, you should get a signed copy of the contract and a receipt for your own files. But that is another blog for another time.
Giveaways, Giveaways, Giveaways.
There are plenty of them. Sign up for them. Some vendors have amazing giveaways that come only filling out the form. Some are only available for attending the expo. And, even if you don't win the big gift, lots of vendors give share mini offers
When you're done.
Ahhh. It's time to head home. You have tired feet and arms, cramped hand and smile. And, if you are successful, a HUGE collection of names and info. Your wedding will be GREAT!
Get your binder ready, with tabs and sheet protectors, and start organizing IMMEDIATELY. Even if you weren't sure about the vendor put them in this binder. Then get sticky notes and start making notes.
If you are not driving home, this is great for you to decompress. Start writing down anything and everything you remember about each vendor.
You Deserve a Beautiful Wedding.
Take all this in and enjoy it. It may be stressful and exhausting, it will be fun. They also get much easier with every one you attend. And attend them you should!
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If you are serious about the quality of your wedding photographs, send me your questions, or date. I only accept 30 weddings each year.
What makes me a different kind of wedding photographer? Let me share the intimate details of how losing my job in the middle of planning my wedding, defined me as a photographer. Focused on not just stunning images, but the experience of a lifetime for you.
You know 30 weddings a year is not many. But, that is because I give more than digital downloads. I deliver an unforgettable experience. Pick the perfect wedding photography package and experience from one of my specially designed packages.
Crystal Horton Photography
1729 Red Clover Dr., Lebanon, Ohio 45036
Captivating Wedding Photography in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Ohio Tristate