29 December 2009

Bridal Shows 2010

'Tis the season for bridal shows. The first one of the 2010 in Indianapolis is January 3,  at The Ritz Charles - (more details below). The Ritz Charles always has an amazing show and I am sure this one will be no exception.  Everyone is full of renewal and grand thoughts for the new year. As a bride (9 years ago), I was able to go to several shows in my area. I liked both the smaller ones and the larger ones. The small one where there may just be a few vendors has a more intimate feel. I would strongly urge you to try to attend one of the smaller ones first. You may just find your vendors there. You will definitely have more 1:1 time with your vendors. The larger ones are a little more tricky. I remember being completely overwhelmed when I attended the first one as a bride. I always prepare my brides for their first bridal show. The trick is to go prepared and to understand that there will be ALOT of people at the larger ones. Lots of vendors AND lots of other brides, MOB, Bridesmaids,etc. Below are some pointers to keep in mind when you go. They are in no particular order:

*Pre-register. Chances are you're going to have to pay a few dollars to go in. Most times, you can pre-register online and save some money, so do this if it's an option. It will also save you some time at the door. That means more time on the floor to research vendors.
*Check with your wedding planner for free tickets. Most times, the bride and groom receive free tickets.
* Grab a bag or two. If you're handed a bag when you enter, take it! You're going to be collecting lots and lots of paper with vendors information on it and it's nice just to be able to slip into the bag. My brides LOVE the bags they receive at the vacation booths. Your second bag can be used to discard some of the items thrust upon you that you don't want and have a hard time telling the vendor "no, thanks". Just remember to recycle.
* Take a pen. This way as you collect those pieces of paper you can make a star on the ones you like, so if there are a lot of vendors you can remember who's who when you get home.
* Ask questions. That's what bridal shows are all about -- getting to talk to the vendors. Find out exactly what they mean by on their handouts. Ask details about the packages they offer or how flexible they are about customization for your wedding. Also, make sure they have your date available. If there is a vendor you are really interested in hiring, make sure you grab a business card, info and make an introduction. It is very likely that they will remember something about you. You'll have more time later to chat if you can schedule something with them a few days after the show.
* Avoid entering your name into every drawing. Most times, you will only receive a lot of solicitation phone calls from vendors you really are not interested in anyway. Only enter if you are really interested and won't screen their calls.
* Limit the people you take with you. You will have a ton of vendors to review and this is truly for you and your groom. I would suggest taking: the groom, planner, mother or anyone who is close to you and you feel will be helpful. Just make sure to keep your number to two extras per show.
*Allot enough time. For a larger show, this means at least 3 - 4 hours. You don't want to feel rushed. Why not make a day of it and have brunch or dinner afterwards?
*Go later in the day.  The busiest time is at the very beginning of the show. Rest assured the vendors will still have plenty of items on hand to pass out to you.
*Take your camera or camera phone.  For photographing some of the displays.
* Have a plan. Most times, the same vendors will be at each show. If you believe you will be overwhelmed by the size of the show, then just visit a few vendor categories to visit.
*Wear comfortable shoes! Whether comfort to you is sneakers or stilettos, just be sure to wear what is comfortable for you. ( My husband thinks I am crazy because heels are MUCH more comfortable for me) You will be walking A LOT and most times the flooring is NOT carpeted.
What tips have you found helpful? I'd love to hear them!

January 2010 Shows:

January 3, 2010 Indianapolis Monthly Bridal Show
Ritz Charles
Carmel, Indiana
Admission: FREE
More info here

January 9th & 10th 2010 Perfect Wedding Guide
Scottish Rite Cathedral
Indianapolis, Indiana
Admission: Free for Brides and Grooms (must register)
Register here

January 17, 2010 Ace Party Rental, LOVE IS IN THE AIR
Indianapolis Executive Airport
Indianapolis, Indiana
More info here

Photo credit: Lemongrass Photography

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