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Monday, January 12, 2015

The Bridal Expo is the Pandora's Box of Weddings

Five Reasons to Attend a Bridal Expo

And Five Mistakes NOT to Make at a Bridal Expo

On Sunday, Tiffany and I decided on a whim to attend the Phoenix Bridal Expo even though I'm not get married here and have most of my vendors selected. I really, really am glad that I did. There was literally a bazillion people there and every type of vendor you can imagine. If you were a Phoenician bride who was truly looking for a one stop information shop, this was it. If you're on the fence about attending a Bridal Expo, check out this handy guide.

1. You get to wear your Bride swag and no one will judge you at all.

Most every bride to be is obsessed with the insane amount of adorable Wifey and Bride swag there is available out there. For the well seasoned bridesmaid, chances are you have at least one item of clothing that declares your bridal party role in rhinestones. I literally love this stuff even if I'll never it again after my wedding. Bridesmaid Shed gifted me a great bride tank top and velour zip up. To initiate Tiffany into the Bridesmaid Professionals Club, I also made her a Maid of Honor tank to wear to the expo with me. I didn't want to be the only overzealous bride. Turns out, literally 97% of brides and bridesmaids attending had their bridal swag on. If you didn't have any, there were a dozen or so vendors there selling it. Plus it makes for pretty cute photos that you can use your Wedding hashtag on later.

#MoralesPartyofTwo swag in action

2. You'll get inspired to go bigger, more detailed and add extra frills.

You will not even know how many frickin' options you have until you attend a bridal expo. Seriously, I'm a professional event planner and I didn't even realize how many frilly options exist in the wedding world. My biggest dilemma this week is centerpieces. What's too big? What's not big enough? What colors of flowers to use? Is it too much purple with the lighting? Which shades of purple can match my table clothes? The expo had so many displays, in my colors, with tons of inspiration for what I can do at my own venue. I promise, you will get inspired to do more, go bigger, add detail at the expo. I would advise snapping photos and uploading to Pinterest later under their appropriate categories so the ideas are not forgotten.

 3. You're going to have a great time.

If you take nothing else away from the Bridal Expo, take away a good time. Bring your bridesmaids or your mom. Take advantage of all the sights and sounds.

Just me being HOVA.
Go judge the Bridal Fashion Show and dance along with the DJ's. There's a ton of weird displays and beautiful displays alike. There's also a ton of great people watching. You can literally go into a dozen photo booths and take whacky photos with props. I promise, you will share many laughs throughout the day.

Can you tell what part of the Expo we liked best?

 4. Eat, drink and be merry.

As a guideline, I would come to the expo with a fairly empty stomach. We literally ate so many catering samples and tasted everything from pink basil lemonade to margaritas to champagne. We ate every flavor of cake you could fathom and tried samples from at least 5 food trucks. We stuffed ourselves stupid, so much so that we couldn't even go out to lunch afterwards as planned. We also visited the champagne vendor a few too many times and he eventually just gave us bottles to take him. That's defiantly the best thing we took away the expo.
Party favors?

5. You'll get information on what you need most.

There are an overwhelming amount of vendors for everything category at the expo. I would recommend focusing on the ones you need most help with. For myself, I've struggled to decided what style of cake I want to go with. Something simple and sophisticated versus something more blinged out and high fashion? Decisions, decisions. While sampling cake, I got to snap some photos of some of my favorite cakes that they had decorated. I kept in mind throughout the entire expo that that's what I was on the look out for. While this could be something like tuxedos or maybe even men's wedding bands, I suggest you set a list of priorities and browse from there. It'll keep you focused on what you need and what's important for YOUR day. Here are a couple of my favorite cakes that I saw.

All this is great, but don't make mistakes that ruin the memories...

There are a few things that will put a damper on your Bridal Expo experience, leaving you sweating, overwhelmed and regretting your decisions to attend. Make these simple adjustments and avoid these feelings all together.

1. Go on the second day of the Expo, if possible.

If there is a two day expo, choose to go the second day and avoid a lot of parking mess and over zealous crowds. There's still plenty of information, samples and prizes that are readily available. If vendor have extra swag, they'll be giving it out late in the day rather than packing it up and hauling it out. That's how we ended up with free bottle of champagne.

2. Don't bring a purse.

Shove whatever you need in your pockets or bra. Make sure you bring your ID so you can sample alcohol. Bring your credit card for any purchases. Leave the rest at home. They'll give you a huge tote bag (or three) to haul around the pamphlets, samples, business cards and wedding magazines you'll collect. If you have a purse on top of this, its just a pain in the neck literally. Also, you're in a crowded place, less belongings means less likely to loose it, leave it or get pick pocketed.

3. Don't pay full price for your tickets.

In most cities, tickets are available for a nominal fee or FREE of charge. Like the Expo's Facebook groups, join their email list serve and listen for promos on the radio. Paying more than $5 per ticket is absolute silliness.

4. Bring pre-printed address labels with your name, wedding date and wedding email.

There's literally over 100 raffles, drawings and contests to enter at any expo. Save yourself time and bring pre-printed labels with you name, wedding date, and wedding email address on them. Don't add your phone number unless you love promotional calls. I used my Google Voice number that is available for free and leads right to voice mail on the off chance a vendor I want to hear from calls or I win a real prize. Email spam is easy enough to get rid of, but calls are a different ballgame.

5. Don't get pressured into make a decision right then and there.

Wedding expos offer many great special pricing options from Vendors, but don't be pressured into placing deposits and booking vendors on the spot. Most of them will honor their expo pricing options for up to 30 days after the event. Just because a vendor is at an expo and has a pretty booth set up, doesn't mean they're a reputable company. Anyone who pays a fee can be an exhibitor at a wedding expo-- ANYONE. In the frenzy of the expo, there's no way that you can get all the questions you should be asking of a vendor answered. You'll want to check their website, reviews and BBB profile before booking them, no matter how good the deal seems to be.

Please, please, please do attend a Bridal expo. They are a great resource, really a lot of fun and super inspirational for ideas for all types of brides. I feel like the expo is sort of a right of passage to being a bride-- it was so weird to hear vendors say "Are you the Bride?" (DUH, look at my bedazzled tank top). All part of it becoming a reality, I suppose.

Did you love the expo? Hate? Think it was useless? Share your experiences with NotSoSingleGirl.com!


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