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CONGRATULATIONS you are engaged!! Now that you have the bling the next step is to start your wedding planning process. Wedding planning can be both exciting and overwhelming for most couples since there are so many vendors to choose from. I was married 5 years ago this upcoming September and have been in the wedding business for 6 years. My biggest piece of advice is to attend the wedding shows in your area. Wedding shows are a great way to gather information, get inspired and meet vendors face to face without scheduling a million consultations! Here are 11 tips to make the most out of your wedding show experience!

Pre- registering for the wedding show you plan to attend saves you money. Also, most shows have a grand prize drawing and pre- registering beforehand makes you eligible.

There is nothing more annoying than getting a massive flux of emails in your inbox and trying to sort through personal, work and wedding information. Creating a separate email for wedding information will help keep you organized and make it easier to sort through.

Most wedding shows in our area have anywhere between 50 to 150 booths for you to check out. You will want to register for information and prizes at most of them, so creating a label with your name, wedding date, venue, phone number and email address will help speed up the process!

Make sure you get online and check out the list of vendors that will be exhibiting at the show you will be attending and check out their websites beforehand!  Researching and inquiring with vendors ahead of time will help you have a better idea of what booths you want to spend more time chatting face to face with.

Everything is more fun when you bring your bestie, but don’t forget about bringing the key decision makers with you as well! A lot of wedding vendors will have special pricing if you book at the show and it would be a shame to miss out on all those great savings! I also recommend that if you have children to leave them at home. The aisles are already crowded with people and can be hard to navigate, plus kids tire out easily and will be a distraction when they are bored.

When I was a bride, I hit up all 4 wedding shows between the time I was engaged until I finally was married. Wedding shows usually happen twice a year and I encourage you to go to as many as you wish! Before each show make sure you have a game plan. If you are newly engaged with only a budget, then focus on venues and photographers the first show since those are the first two vendors you should be checking off your list. I still recommend gathering other information from the other vendors, but it will be hard to book anything without a concrete wedding date!

Every wedding show that I have been to or been apart of has always given out bags when you check in to put all your information and goodies in. We recommend having two bags though, one for favorites and one for general information. You will get a substantial amount of business cards, brochures, coupons and miscellaneous swag to go through, but let’s be honest you probably won’t even go through half of it! Having a favorites bag will make it easier to access and remember which vendors you made a connection with or love!

Sometimes brides and or grooms have a certain vendor in mind that they just KNOW they HAVE TO HIRE! Unfortunately, things happen and maybe the photographer you have in mind is already booked for that day. Or maybe you wanted to do your invitations yourself and you realized you just don’t have the time. Keeping an open mind while looking at the wedding vendors booths will help you get an idea of what you like and don’t like as well as having that general information on hand incase you change your mind.

The grand prize as well as smaller prizes are always drawn at the end of the show and you must be present to win. Wouldn’t it be awful to hear from a friend that your name was drawn for a free honeymoon? Some shows are huge, and you will need the whole time to go through all the aisles, but some are smaller. You can always show up fashionably late or come early then go get some lunch and come back.

It is ok if you are not ready to pull the trigger with a vendor you really love at the show. We recommend towards the end go back and schedule an in-person consultation with your favorite vendors, so you can sit down one on one in a less chaotic environment to chat further about the services they offer.

Planning a wedding should be a fun, memorable experience. Enjoy the games, fashion shows and other opportunities to have a little fun.