Learn how to make the most out of your time at these big day showcases.

By Lauren Wellbank
February 11, 2020

Walking into a wedding convention (sometimes referred to as an expo) can be overwhelming. With so many people gathered in once place, and with everyone vying to help you plan your perfect day, it can be hard to figure out where to begin. Whether you're about to visit your first bridal convention or your third, Kevin Dennis, certified wedding planner and owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, has a list of tips to help you make the most of the experience.

Related: What's a Wedding Expo, and Should I Try to Attend One?

Make a plan.

Bridal shows can be overwhelming for the couples attending them. Not only is there is a lot of information to take in, but there are also a lot of people who are trying to get your attention. Dennis suggests setting "mini-goals" for yourself. Focus on the things that are the most important to you by breaking your goals up into specific categories. While it may be tempting to try and find every vendor for your wedding in one shot, you will get more out of the experience with smaller goals. Dennis suggests coming up with two or three categories for the day. If you aren't sure which ones to focus on, he says that venues and photography are good ones to prioritize. Once you feel you have them covered, you can feel free to move on to other big ticket items like entertainment.

Get the vendor list.

Try to get a copy of the vendor list if it is available ahead of time. This will give you time to get background information on the pros who will be in attendance before you meet face-to-face. Check out their websites and read through any customer reviews you find online. Websites like Yelp, wedding planning message boards, and Facebook reviews allow prior customers to share their experiences.

Remember that timing is everything.

Typically, the beginning of a bridal convention will be the busiest time. Dennis says that things tend to quiet down after any fashion shows the convention is hosting come to an end. Unless the convention is offering doorbuster deals, or some other incentive, there is no real benefit to being one of the first couples through the door.

Arrive prepared.

Consider printing out your contact information ahead of time. This will make it easier to quickly and effortlessly add your information to any lists or raffles you would like to take part in. Many couples also find that creating a special email address specifically for wedding-related correspondence cuts down on what is sent to their personal and work accounts. Also, Dennis suggests making sure that your phone calendar is up to date with your availability. This eliminates the need for additional back and forth phone calls and emails with vendors that you are interested in working with.

The only things you really need to have with you at a convention are strong arms for carrying all of that wedding SWAG the vendors will be handing out and comfortable shoes to get you through the day.

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