Wedding shows can be a great way to find vendors for your wedding and get some fun new ideas while you’re at it. Bridal shows can also be an overwhelming experience that may prevent you from actually connecting with any of the wedding vendors at the show. I have come up with a few helpful tips to ensure that you take advantage of having so many great vendors under one roof. I have also outlined some of the key wedding shows happening in the capital district (info at the bottom of the article).
Hope this helps with the planning process! – Dave Bigler (Bigler Productions)
Tip 1. Pick the right bridal shows
Albany, and the surrounding capital district, has no shortage of wedding shows! There are larger shows put on by newspapers and catering companies and then there are local shows put on by specific venues. If you have already booked your venue, then I would first find out if they are doing a show and make sure to stop by. The smaller venue-specific shows will not have as many vendors as the larger shows, but those vendors are usually well connected with that specific venue and have likely worked with their staff on many occasions. I would also make sure to stop into one of the larger shows to have the opportunity to meet some of the more well known vendors. Note: as many shows have the same vendors its always wise to check out the vendor roster online before you go.
Bridal Tip: My favorite wedding show is Mazzone Hospitality’s Glen Sanders Mansion show. In order for a vendor to even be at this wedding show they have to be on the Mazzone preferred vendor list, which is no easy task. This show brings out the best of the best (who in some cases only come out for this one show). More info on this and other shows at the bottom of the article.
Tip 2. Bring a friend
You are going to be talking to so many different vendors that its a great idea to get the feedback and support from a friend (preferably someone who has gotten married in the last few years). Before you go to the show, sit down over coffee and find out what she thinks makes one vendor better than another. You will likely not book the same people that she did but you can always learn from her experience.
Tip 3. Talk to the vendors!
I see two types of brides walking around most wedding shows; the overwhelmed bride and the organized bride. There are so many vendors in such a small space that it is understandably a daunting task to walk the room. On top of that some vendors can certainly talk an ear off! (wink wink). My advice: have a plan! I suggest that you first walk the room, get a lay of the land and figure out who you want to talk to and who would be a waste of your time. Then find those specific vendors and go talk to them. If a vendor has a group of people waiting, go chat with someone else and come back. This may be your only chance to talk face-to-face with the vendor before you decide to book, so GO TALK TO THEM (most don’t bite).
Tip 4. Don’t force it. This is just the first date!
Don’t try and have the actual bridal consult meeting at the wedding show. Your goal should be to get to know the personality of the vendor and find out if you want to take the interaction to the next level. This is the first date, no need to overwhelm your potential vendor with 100 questions, just find out if you want to take the relationship to a second date. (forgive the dating analogy, it works far too well).
Tip 5. Validate your findings
After the show I suggest going out for a drink and talking about the show with a friend. Who did you like, and why? For those vendors that you connected with, spend some time on their website and see if their work, or testimonials validate your impressions from the show.
Bridal Tip: If you found a vendor you really like and want to ensure they do not get booked for your date, give them a call or shoot them an email the day after the show and let them know you are interested.
Below is a list of some of the many shows in the capital district
02.21.2013 The Century House Bridal Event
03.24.2013 River Stone Manor Bridal Show
03.03.2013 Star and Moon Bridal Show at Longfellows
03.10.2013 Birch Hill Bridal Show
09.08.2013 Saratoga Today’s Enchanted Wedding Expo
Other Shows Already passed for 2013