f7's wedding advice #5 - Getting Inspired at the Wedding Expos!

Happy New Year Everyone!

This is always a fun time of year as so many couples get engaged over the holidays. Congratulations by the way to all of you newly engaged couples!! January not only marks the start of the year and your fun time to begin planning for your wedding but it is also when most of the wedding shows around our area and the country occur.

Wedding shows are a great way to get the planning started. Where else can you walk around a convention hall and meet potential vendors face to face, see all kinds of amazing ideas for your wedding and eat cake! Oh and you can even go wedding dress shopping at the shows! There is a lot to be said for being able to search and research everything wedding related on the web, but it really is not a replacement for meeting people and touching and feeling the things you are interested in.

We exhibit at several wedding shows each year and have some ideas on how you can make your experience fun, informative and accomplish some great things. Here are our top tips (in no particular order):

1. Don't get overwhelmed. There could be over 200 vendors at the show all wanting to talk to you. Make a plan for walking the show floor and if there are certain things you don't need, don't waste your time in their booth. Collect brochures and put them in 2 separate bags - one bag for the vendors you absolutely want/need to follow up with and those that have interesting ideas but you don't necessarily want to book with them. If you don't like a vendor, don't take their brochure.

2. Be comfy. Go out and have a nice breakfast in the morning that way you have your fuel for the day. There is probably food to taste, but that usually doesn't make up a whole meal. :-) Wear your most comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking and standing all day and the floors of most halls are concrete under the carpet (if there is carpet). We suggest layering on your clothes as it can get pretty hot inside a hall, but then of course it is probably cold outside.

3. Bring your crew. Wedding shows can be really fun if you bring your mom, your MOH, sister, bridesmaids and hey how about your fiance? It helps having others there especially if you are making decisions at the show or just want people to be able to hold the bags. ;-)

4. Bring a pen and address labels. One of the best things I see brides bring to the shows is a set of address labels. Create these just for the show. Important info to include on the label is yours and your fiance's name, your wedding date, your email address and your phone number. It can be helpful to create a special email address just for your wedding so you can quickly see what is info on your wedding, then after your wedding you can shut the address down. You definitely want to have a pen and notebook with you so you can take notes. There are a lot of people to meet and ideas to see and if you see something or someone you like write it down! Taking a quick note - even on a brochure you get will help you when you go through all of the info after the show.

5. Buy show tickets in advance. There is usually a coupon or a discount if you buy your tickets on their website before the show. This will also save you time once you get there as you won't have to wait in line to buy a ticket there, you will be able to walk right into the show.

6. Be prepared to book vendors. Yes you are going to the show to look for ideas and meet folks, but if you find the perfect vendor, book them at the show! So bring your checkbook, cash or credit card for deposits. Some vendors (like us) can only do one wedding in a day so if you fall in love with them, don't hesitate. Remember there are over 1000 other brides at the same show also looking for wedding vendors and you would hate to lose your first choice for your wedding. If you aren't 100% sure a lot of vendors will let you do a "hold the date" deposit so you can then set up a follow up appointment with them, but at least guarantee no one else can book them during the show. We definitely offer this!

7. Get ideas. At the show all of the vendors are putting out their best images, flower designs, cakes, food, linens, dresses, you name it, you'll see it. They are designing their booths to show off what they do, usually showing the latest colors, etc so this is the perfect place to look for ideas for your own wedding. You might see a fun wedding favor idea, table centerpiece or a color scheme you had not thought of. Take pictures of ideas you like (be sure to ask the vendor first if it is okay to take a picture) so you can add them to your idea file later.

8. Have fun. This is your wedding and everything having to do with it should be fun and that includes attending wedding shows. If you have your crew with you, wear comfortable shoes, come prepared and are open to all of the amazing ideas presented to you, it should be easy to have fun!

Oh and one more bit of advice - make sure to stop by and see f7 photography! We'd love to chat with you about your wedding and show you some of our favorite wedding moments and ideas from weddings we've photographed. You can find us at the Bridesclub Wedding Expos in Tacoma and Everett. Details (and a coupon) can be found on their website -

www.bridesclub.com

We look forward to seeing you there!

Love,

Jenny+Jeff