How to Survive Your First Bridal Show

how to survive your first bridal expo

Attending a bridal show can be overwhelming. Sure, there are a lot of cakes to taste and pretty flowers and wedding decor to look at, however there is an abundance of vendors set up all trying to get your attention to book with them right away. To your surprise, it does not end when you get in your car to head home. The emails and follow-up calls in the weeks ahead can drive even the most excited bride insane. The options for planning a wedding are endless and making decisions for your big day can be daunting. Below are some tips to eliminate stress at your bridal show.

How to Avoid Bridal Show Burnout


  • Gather a crew.  Making decisions about your wedding all on your own can be tough.  It is always nice to have a second opinion, or third or fourth…  That is what your Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids are for.  Plus you will receive a ton of stuff to carry around, let someone help share the burden.  If your bridal party is not available, drag along your mother.  If your parents are covering the cost of your wedding then it may be important to have your mother at the bridal expo to help make decisions.
  • Use labels.  Some bridal shows offer sheets of labels to purchase.  They will print them at the entrance to the show.  The price I paid was $4 for one sheet or $6 for two.  Almost every vendor will offer a prize drawing and have a mailing list for you to register on.  Having labels not only saves you time from writing your name, phone number, email, address and wedding date hundreds of times but they are more legible than handwriting when you are in a hurry.  The booths will get crowded so being able to peel and stick a label will save you a bunch of hassle.
  • Pack snacks. Bridal shows last all day. Most of them will offer a lunch bar where you will find the typical concession food of hamburgers and hot dogs. However if you are like me and have food sensitivities this will not work for you. Plus with the abundance of cake you will be tasting it is always important to keep some healthier snacks on hand to prevent stomachaches. Steering off hunger pains will allow you to focus on the wedding planner with a clear mind.
  • Identify potentials.  You will taste a lot of cake (or in my case being gluten free my bridesmaids tasted a lot of cake) but you will not like all the cakes.  The same goes with wedding planners, DJs, and venues.  You may find one cake that is beyond amazing for your taste or one DJ that has the most reasonable pricing.  Several vendors will offer special rates that are exclusive to the bridal show and while you travel down isles of wedding planning you are sure to find one or two vendors that stand out.  Make sure you keep their business cards or brochures separate from the others.  Another great tip to identify which ones were your favorites is take a photo of their booth, business card or logo with your smartphone as a reminder.
  • Do not make rushed decisionsHurry, sign up today and save $500 off our regular rate before we book your wedding date with someone else!  You may hear this a lot and in some cases it may be true.  Take a deep breath and continue walking through the entire bridal expo before making a final decision.  Do not do anything rash without clearly thinking it through and knowing the consequences of canceling if you change your mind.  This is another good reason to have your bridesmaids or mother with you, to help you keep a level head and not be rushed into anything.  Most experts, at least reputable ones, will give you a week or sometimes even a month after the bridal show to book and receive their exclusive discount.  Sometimes you have to have a little faith that if it is meant to be, it will be.
  • Clear the clutter.  Every booth you stop at you will receive a business card, brochure or other form of marketing material to take home.  From the moment you walk in the door of the bridal expo you will be handed a bag with wedding planning propaganda.  As soon as you get home clear out the mess.  It will only take you a few minutes and it is so important to do it before you forget which card or flyer came from which business.  By the time you found your favorite photographer on isle three you already collected handouts from five other photographers.  Once you get home, toss what you don’t need.  Save at least one runner up in each category then get rid of the junk.
  • Stay organized.  Create a folder at home and in your email inbox for wedding planning.  Within a few days after the bridal show you will start to receive emails from all the businesses you met.  Some you will want to save.  Once you have cleared the clutter from the expo you need a folder to store the potentials you may hire for your special day.  Staying organized will help you have easy access to make phone calls and schedule meetings.  It will also be easier to find your backup option if the first choice does not work out.
  • Know the difference between a prize and a marketing tactic. So you received an email announcing you as the winner of chair covers for your reception at the fancy venue you visited during the bridal show. I hate to burst your bubble but odds are you were not the only bride that “won” the amazing prize. Obviously you can not even claim your prize unless you book your entire reception at their location. If you plan to host your wedding at this venue then it is an added bonus, otherwise unsubscribe, delete and move on.
  • Unsubscribe then delete.  When receiving dozens of emails a day to help you plan your wedding do not feel guilty about clicking unsubscribe.  Not every vendor will meet your needs and it is okay to move along.  Putting labels on the prize drawing forms in hopes of winning a free venue or photography session does not make you obligated to stay in touch once you find out you did not win.  There is nothing wrong with entering all the giveaways.  Facts are at least one bride will win each prize.  Just because you wanted to win a dream wedding with a value of $20,000 does not mean you have a budget to plan the wedding that costs $20,000.  I highly recommend entering all drawings, signing up for all newsletters to stay informed about special rates and discounts.  However, once you secure a vendor with a deposit then go through and unsubscribe from those that you no longer need their service.  Instead of deleting tons of emails every day, unsubscribe first so they don’t bug you again.  An inbox filled with constant reminders of planning a wedding can be overwhelming – remember, clear the clutter.

Have you attended a bridal show? What was your favorite part? What was one thing you learned?


  1. Crystal says

    Great tips! I remember going to my first (and only) bridal show and although it was fun it was certainly overwhelming!

  2. elishia bakle says

    I woudl use it to buy the kids new winter clothes and donate their coats and clothes that do not fit to the local childrens shelter.

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