Whether that sparkler just slipped on your finger, or you’re a pro with just a few missing pieces in your planning, wedding markets offer an opportunity to gather inspiration and meet potential vendors. But to ensure enjoyment and not stress, Phoebe Lo Events is sharing their best advice for tackling these often overwhelming trade shows and with Rhythm Photography’s pretty pics from a recent visit to Blossom and Bloom, we’re feeling ready to go and excited to see what goodies are out there!
From Phoebe Lo Events… Wedding trade shows are a staple to any wedding planning process. From large conventions to intimate scale showcases, make your visit a functional and memorable occasion. Having participated in and operated a number of markets and trade shows, we have garnered a few ideas to help your navigate your next wedding show experience.
As a wedding planner, I would typically suggest attending about three wedding shows throughout the duration of your planning, but we find that the most beneficial time frame to attend wedding shows are typically between the 8 – 12 months prior to your event date, which ought to coincide with the peak time of your wedding planning process. This time range can allow you the opportunity to screen potential vendors on-site right at wedding shows and proceed with a follow up for any vendors of interest.
Identify Your Objective:
Different wedding shows offer different features, vendor types, styles and services, in the form of conventions, markets, open houses and even workshops. Identify your objective and goals for each of the shows that you wish to attend. Make no mistake in simply picking one singular category of a showcase, as you may actually find a lot of ideas and products that could suit your needs in wedding shows that may pertain outside of your immediate desired style or format.
Make A List:
Once you have established the shows that you are attending, grab a look at the vendor directory and show itinerary, to schedule your day around the segments of the show that you desire to visit first or last. Incorporate any event presentations and workshops that may be of your interest, and allow for some break time in between your day.
Bring Your Team:
You have probably heard this from other wedding professionals, but we are going to say it again anyway – bring your wedding team with you to the show! Your team could be your fiance/fiancee, your parents and siblings, or your bridal party members. Not only could your loved ones provide you with a second opinion, they are also your runners in between sections at massive trade shows that one may not physically be able to navigate entirely.
They may also have tuned into something that you could have missed out during a conversation, or simply there to give you a helping hand when you have received one too many goodie bags. And for those who have eager loved ones that are eager to participate in the planning, bringing them to wedding shows is usually a great segue into incorporating them to help with your planning process.
Enjoy The Hospitality:
Have some fun! A wedding show should exist not merely as a research expedition, but an opportunity to enjoy some entertainment, sample and savor culinary delights, and expose yourselves to a myriad of design concepts presented to you. Let loose, eat some food, and be merry. Enjoy the hospitality that the show vendors have planned for you, and truly experience what your potential vendors are capable of offering for your very own wedding.
Converse And Question:
A sound wedding vendor (and any business really) should be able to provide you with an introduction to their company’s strengths and specialty upon your first encounter. So take the time and say hello. Converse with the vendors and ask some questions, because you will be surprised at what vendors could offer and potentially answer any questions you may have regarding your own celebration.
Take Advantage Of Those Ballots:
Who doesn’t fancy a free honeymoon, gift card or even a free wedding service? If you are comfortable with sharing your contact with an organization by filling out a ballot or survey, then by all means do so! But always remember to read the fine print with what you are signing up for. And for those who are savvy with signing up for draws or even simply connecting with vendors, feel free to print off some sticky labels, which can expedite the process of filling out forms and lists much easier.
Approach the idea of “dressing well” as dressing comfortably and suitable for the occasion! Pick out your favorite walking boots for an autumn or winter showcase. Dress in your comfy jeans and sweater if you are attending a market style show. Or simply bring some sequins into your outfit if you are attending a wedding show that is promoting an evening affair style showcase. Feel not only comfortable, but feel empowered by your participation with the event!
Cash, Cheque Or Contract:
Some vendors might offer show discounts and incentives for visitors that have attended the event. This could take the form of a mailing list signup, or simply a voucher coupon to take away. There have also been instances where vendors can offer a discount upon making a sale at the show. We recommend professional contracts offered to the client by the vendor, and for the client to take the time to review the document, ask any questions, or suggest any amendments prior to making payment.
Although some vendors do provide a great incentive and services, an emotional purchase can sometimes result in less than satisfactory results. A good vendor who wants to work with you should offer these incentives with a healthy duration of time post-show to allow to you take a closer look at their work and allow you to make an informed decision.
Photography: Rhythm Photography | Event Planning + Design: Phoebe Lo Events | Floral Design: Hoopla Event Styling And Design | Dress: Monique Lhuillier Dress | Stationery: Pulp Function | Jewelry: Kathryn Rebecca | Hair + Makeup: VIDI VICI | Harpist: Liane James | Bridal Boutique: Pearl Bridal House | Bull Dog: Leash and Paws | Ceramic Dishes: Pi Ceramic Designs | Design Assistance: Bunny Bum Boxes | Model: Sally Leung | Succulents: Your Pal Al | Textile Designs: KooCoo | Vintage Teaware: Invitation to Tea | Wooden Flags: Halyard Flags