This January I was an exhibitor at Canada’s Bridal Show. It was my fourth year as an exhibitor at Canada’s Bridal show in Toronto. While the introverted part of me likes being a homebody, the extroverted part loves talking to people. Being an exhibitor at Canada’s Bridal Show puts me and my work in front of hundreds of people, and truthfully it can be a bit nerve-racking. But the fun part is talking to couples and bridal parties and hearing about everything from wedding planning to how they proposed. It’s the one time of year I get out of my shell and meet many of you.
Canada’s Bridal Show Highlights
The best part about doing the show is meeting so many of you who follow me on Instagram and my blog. Most of the time I wonder if anyone reads these blog posts, and it can be surreal meeting those of you who do. Thank you to those of you who follow!
I’ve been an exhibitor at both Canada’s Bridal Show and the National Bridal Show. At these shows, I’ve chatted with a lot of brides, grooms, and bridal parties and learned their secrets to making a wedding show work for them — these are what I’m going to share with you. Without further ado here are my seven best tips for attending a wedding show.
Seven best tips for visiting a wedding show
- Create an email address for your wedding planning. This might seem obvious, but only provide contact info according to how you want to be contacted. If you don’t want to receive phone calls or snail mail, don’t give out that info. During the wedding show, many exhibitors will ask you for your contact info, which usually leads to a flood of messages after the show. If you create an email address specifically for your wedding planning, you can use it when signing up for contests and connecting with your wedding vendors. After your wedding, you can unsubscribe from these emails or delete the account.
- Get free or discounted tickets. Wedding show tickets often have an offer: buy one get one free, bride gets in for free, or a percentage discount. Check out Groupon or wedding blogs such as the Wedding Co, Wedding Bells, Today’s Bride, or Elegant Weddings for ticket giveaways.
- Visit the wedding show’s website and check out the exhibitors list. By looking at the exhibitors’ websites and Instagram feeds ahead of time, you can determine who you’d like to meet. This will keep you from wandering aimlessly up and down the aisles and have you connecting with vendors you’re interested in meeting. Some exhibitors might also give away tickets to the show.
- Look at the show’s schedule. Some wedding shows like Canada’s Bridal Show or the National Bridal Show are three-day events. To avoid the crowds, go on Friday. Or if it’s a one-day wedding show like the Wedding Co. or Wedluxe, go earlier in the day. Going when there are fewer attendees will give you a chance to have real conversations with exhibitors and ask questions that are important to you. If you’re interested in winning prizes or checking out wedding dresses and suits, you’ll want to attend the fashion show. Often this is when big prizes are given away. A word of caution: these prizes don’t necessarily mean great quality. Check out the prizegivers’ websites, reviews, and fine print of the prize before redeeming it. For instance, some prizes don’t come with all the necessities or require you to spend a certain amount. Be cautious if it sounds too good to be true.
- Bring the necessities. Chances are you’ll be inside walking around for a few hours and chatting with a lot of vendors. Wear comfy shoes and if it’s wintertime leave your heavy jacket at coat check. Wedding shows always have food stations, but the options might be limited and the line ups can be long. Consider bringing your own snacks and water. During the show, you’ll be collecting a lot of flyers and other promotional material from vendors. Although free bags might be given away at the show, you may want to reduce your carbon foot print by bringing your own reusable bag and taking only the flyers you want.
- Have a game plan. As mentioned, you’ll be getting a lot of marketing material at the show. Have a system like separate bags for exhibitors you like and dislike or dog-ear and write notes on the flyers you’re interested in.
- Book meetings. When you feel a connection with a vendor, take a photo of their booth, follow them on Instagram, or do whatever you need to remember them after the show. Afterwards, reach out them to see their portfolio and schedule a meeting with them.
Toronto Wedding Vendors
Special thanks to one of the best Toronto florists — Jamie from Leaf and Bloom — for the flowers in my booth and one of the best Toronto calligraphers — Mandy Calligraphy — for designing my new logo. You ladies are the best biz girl gang.