Mazel Tov! You're Getting Married

By Chelle Cordero

May 1, 2013 5 min read

Now begins a period of frenzied activities and stressful decisions and running all over the place to find everything, uh-oh. ... But you can make it a fun time and share time together with your fiance, wedding party, your mom and your mother-in-law-to-be. Share ideas and fun with other brides-to-be as you socialize and chat with potential services. The end result will be a special day and wonderful memories.

Bridal fairs are excellent opportunities to see several area vendors under one roof, get new ideas, comparison shop and have a fantastic time. Many of these shows are free or low-cost admission. These specially put-together group demonstrations feature everything from invitations to honeymoons. Sample cakes, see floral displays, watch bridal fashion shows, choose special gifts for your bridal attendants, view table settings and color schemes in person, speak to photographers and videographers, hear DJs and bands and much, much more.

Bridal shows are an excellent tool for the busy bride, groom and her family to see everything she needs for her wedding and starting out in marriage. In just a few hours, you will get to sample and compare more choices than you ever would by visiting single vendors. Venues, florists, bakers, DJs and more come to display their wares and services; you will often find dozens of local vendors in one location. Wedding and bridesmaid gowns will be on display, and there is usually a fun and entertaining fashion show to see all the latest styles.

No matter what stage of planning you are at, going to a bridal fair can be very helpful. Here are a few hints to make the most of your visit: Prepare a list of already-decided details or must-haves, such as whether you are getting married in your house of worship or whether need a venue for the ceremony as well as the reception. Add likes and dislikes to the list, such as colors and foods (remember food allergies). Bring people with you (parents, bridesmaids, fiance, friends), and work the fair in teams, using your list to pinpoint the vendors you need to see personally. If you can't make a particular show, see whether someone can go for you to gather literature and enter your name into free and fun drawings for gifts.

Bring a lightweight tote bag to carry brochures and samples. Take pictures so you can show your fiance or parents if they weren't there, or just to look at later. Exhibitors will have mailing lists and offer raffle prizes, so bring preprinted address labels (or print them yourself on a computer) with your name, your fiance's name, address, contact phone and email. Have a small pocket calendar with you so you can set follow-up appointments with dealers that interest you. Bring a checkbook or credit card to make down payments on anything you are sure of. Don't be shy, ask questions and share your visions if you don't see what you are looking for. Most importantly, wear comfortable shoes so you can easily navigate your way between displays.

Many men might feel uncomfortable at the thought of attending a bridal show, but despite the misconception of the name, these are really wedding showcases that can appeal to both the bride and groom. In today's times, it is not unusual for the groom to want to be a part of planning for this very special day. In addition to the actual wedding planning, couples also get the chance to speak with honeymoon planners, realtors, investment counselors, insurance advisers, fitness gyms and medical services. Men's formalwear is displayed and often part of the fashion show. While your man may indeed be in the minority, he is bound to feel the adoration of many brides who wish their guys also took an interest.

To find bridal shows near you, look through your local newspapers and wedding magazines. You can also look on the Internet at sites such as WeddingWire.com, TheKnot.com, OneWed.com, Festivals-and-Shows.com for locations in the United States. For international sites, visit http://www.bspibridalshows.com. Several wedding vendors will also post upcoming bridal fairs in their stores especially if they will be exhibiting in them.

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