Wedding Show Survival Guide | Part 1

September 13

With Fall in the air, its safe to say the autumn wedding show season has officially begun!

In no short time, all you beautiful brides will have your weekend agenda’s full with countless must attend bridal shows lined up. Don’t get me wrong, Vancouver boasts some incredible showcases but truth be told, they can be dangerous!

I love to call them “cattle calls.” Rude, I know but true in part. Here’s why… much of the time, brides flock to these events for the freebies. It’s commonly known vancouver wedding shows offer incredible swag bags, unbelievable bargains and some fancy food + cocktails. Bonus, yes. But for some ladies, who are serious about using the expo to effectively plan and select their wedding vendors, it can be frustrating.

The shoving crowds become over whelming, the sales pitches feel sleazy and the ability to find quality suppliers seems daunting. Thankfully, I’m here to tell you that isn’t always the case and it doesn’t need to be your experience.

I’m here with a much needed survival guide to maneuvering Vancouver Wedding Shows. Take the time to be informed, go prepared and arm yourself with wisdom and know-how.

vancouver wedding shows

Moving top left to right: Images via The White Dress Bridal Couture, unknown, Lucida Photography, Corina V Photography, Studio Jeanie + NYC Bridal Market


1. Choose carefully and attend shows that cater to your personality and style

It’s important to remember that not all shows are equal nor cater to the same demographic and audience. That means that not only will the type of brides attending differ, but so will the vendors on showcase. Some shows will even go as far as catering to a specific niche or small segment of weddings, for example, ego friendly weddings, vintage weddings or high-end luxury weddings.

Be sure to peruse the wedding shows websites, taking in the buzz words they use, the types of celebrity guests or featured extras they have, such as demos and fashion shows, as well as the amount they share about the experience itself. Are they offering passed canapés paired with wine and scotch tastings, or are they advertising extensive door prizes and thousands of dollars in savings? And note that the venue itself and the cost of admittance are not always the best representation of the experience.

If all else fails, take a look at the featured vendors websites. Are these individuals you would drive to see apart from having them in one place? If so, then you have a winner and that show will certainly appease your desires!


2. Come prepared with Noshies

You heard me, noshies… snacks and water  that you can nibble on throughout the day that will keep you hydrated and perky. No one likes a “hangry” bride! If you happen to pick something up at the fair, be forewarned the prices are inflated. You may pay close to $3.00 for water, $12 for a cocktail and up to $20.00 for a “meal”.

My advice: arm yourself with healthy snacks and plan to go out for food after the fact. Not only will it be a much deserved rest for your tired feet, but it’ll keep your companions focused throughout knowing theres a reward coming at day’s end!


3. Polite doesn’t mean push over

For as much as I despise wasting time, rudeness is something I dislike more! It’s guaranteed you’ll be bombarded with vendors interested in hearing your wedding plans and after a while, the repetition can prove tiring. Rather than nicely smiling and explaining your plans eagerly, you’ll be tempted to nicely smile and look away or simply ignore the individual and keep walking. But here’s the thing…. the vendors feel the same way. As much as you don’t want to waste your time, neither do they.

So if someone tries to stop you posing a question or offering information, simply say, “thank you but I’m not interested,”  if you truly do feel that way! And only take cards from vendors you legitimatly are interested in and will call… after today! Not only will it save you time and emotional energy, but it’s less frustrating when you’re later sorting through your take-home pamphlets. You can still be polite without being a push over!

Along the same lines friends, is the countless “bargains” and “1 day promotions” you will encounter at wedding shows. While some offers may seem tempting, even too good to be true, don’t be pressure into buying something if you’re not 100% sold. Don’t be afraid to walk away and return a second time if you still feel called to know more.

My advice: Upon returning to a booth a second time, ask to book an appointment for a later date. Most vendors will be willing to extend the deal if you commit to a consultation right then. Just ask! You’ll never know until you do.


4. Know your specific needs and come prepared

While is poses the same allure to some as window shopping, venturing to wedding shows to simply look is a disaster in the making! It’s extremely important to have a list of which types of vendors your are looking for and have your questions for them prepared. You might also consider having a budget range in mind [ for each vendor of interest] for weeding out ones who aren’t within your reach.

Be sure to bring a note pad, ladies and jot down their answers as you browse. My advice: Staple the vendors card to the sheet of paper containing their answers. It’ll help with organizing and remembering facts upon reviewing at a later date.

And remember friends, if the vendors are well known or come with fabulous credentials, there may be a wait at their booth to speak with them. Have patience. It’ll be worth it in the end!


5. Preplan for draws

If you’re one of those brides who favours the thrill of winning, I suggest you come prepared for entering countless contests. You can do this by printing out sticky labels containing your Name, Phone, Address, Email and Wedding Date. By bringing a stack of your custom labels to the show, you can easily and quickly paste them on the draw ballots. It’ll save you hours and frantic scribbling!

But be forewarned: It can happen that at larger shows your information can get sold to third party marketing companies. So if you’re like me and hate mail and email spam, be careful to consider entering the countless contests!


6. Pre-Register

When possible, purchase your tickets before hand and pre-register your commitment to attend. Why? It’ll save you an hour of standing in line and a frazzled start to your already jam packed day! Thankfully, this [typically] only applies to shows that are relatively inexpensive or free to attend. Trust me, you’ll thank me later, as you waltz by the grid locked line!


Well friends, there you have it: Part one of our Wedding Show Survival Guide. There truly is so much more where that came from! So stay tuned next week, as I introduce part 2 and the conclusion to our discussion.

Now tell me: had you considered any of the above in your preparations for attending upcoming wedding shows?!


About Kailey-Michelle

Grace clinger. Marriage lover. Moment savourer. Passionate Creator. Seeking to inspire this generation as a Professional Wedding Planner, Speaker, Writer and Business Coach, to focus on what matters most in life and leave a legacy of love and service.
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