GETTING THE MOST OUT OF BRIDAL SHOWS
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF BRIDAL SHOWS
Hello there, my name is Stephen Scott, and I am a Las Vegas Wedding DJ, the following post will share some of my insights on how to get the most out of attending a Bridal Show.
I actually love going to Bridal Shows, they are a tremendous opportunity to learn about Weddings. And I think that even after being in this profession for 21 years and counting. I see cool new ideas practically every time I attend one, whether I have a booth or not. I highly recommend that Brides go to as many shows as they can, early in the planning stage, and to keep an open mind when they go. As I explain later, many Brides fail to take advantage of this opportunity in the right way, and it does affect their Weddings. Hopefully you will never think of Bridal Shows, or the Wedding Planning the same way again.
PART ONE: THE RESEARCH
Please follow my social media for more timely information about each Bridal Show. I'll be sharing the details about the dates & times, ticket costs, and highlights as the dates get nearer.
Here are a few links to the largest bridal show sites in the cities I've lived and worked in. You can follow them year-round and see what ideas they have. Most of them have magazines you can buy (or ask for a complimentary copy) in between the shows.
Without a doubt, this is the biggest and best bridal show in Las Vegas. It's a great spot to see the newest trends in the industry. It has been held in the Cashman Center for years, and will move to the RIO in 2018. As of now, the summer of 2017, I don't think I'll be in the show until 2019, but even without me, I still highly recommend attending.
Back in Springfield, MO, there are a few options...
The Wedding Collection is basically a year-round bridal show. They have a retail showcase on South Campbell has displays for several Wedding Vendors. Also, many of these vendors work together on a regular basis and have already made arrangements for a multi-vendor discount through their “stimulus” package.
THE WEDDING COLLECTION
3107 S. Campbell Springfield, MO 65807
There are also a couple of semi-annual shows, check out their websites for more information:
In addition to being the largest bridal show in Kansas City, The Perfect Wedding Guide is one of (if not the) biggest Wedding Industry publications in the country. They publish a quarterly magazine and their website is full of current advice and trends.
PART TWO: THE ADVICE
I cannot understate my advice about Bridal Shows:
Go to these shows with an Open Mind
Let me start by stating what should be obvious – but I have seen bride after bride get this wrong year after year: Going to a Bridal Show to compare prices is completely missing the point. It starts with the false assumption that everybody does the same thing. And when you start your Wedding planning process backwards, that is usually what you end up with – a Wedding that is the same as the rest. When you go to a Bridal Show, don’t ask ANYBODY what their price is.
Please trust me and hear me out, this only sounds crazy because most people planning are Wedding for their first time and get their advice from someone else who planned a Wedding for their first time – or from someone trying to sell them something. I’ve been doing this for 21 years and counting, and I couldn’t possibly DJ for everyone who reads this newsletter – and my approach is not just for picking a DJ, it’s about enjoying the entire Wedding Planning process.
Price should only matter after you have made up your mind, because honestly, if you don’t like something, who cares how much it costs? And if you already know what you want, the Bridal Show is not the place for you. Instead of spending 3 hours with hundreds of other brides (and a few grooms who didn’t have other plans…lol), scheduling a private appointment with a few vendors that you are interested in is a much more effective use of your time. The bridal shows are ideally set up for people who don’t know what they want yet.
Talk to EVERYBODY, See ALL of the show
Some of the larger bridal shows in town will have over 100 vendor booths and around a thousand brides come through in a day. It will be loud, and probably a little hectic. It’s not a great place to make tough choices about your budget or really think things through. There are many other smaller or medium sized bridal shows or open houses that may not have quite the bustle of the convention center shows, but you still get the idea. A bridal show just isn’t the place to get serious wedding planning done.
A bridal show is the place to relax, have fun, and explore your options. It’s for people who don’t know what they want, and want to enjoy finding out new ideas. If you already know what you want, why are you there? The less you have figured out already, the more fun it will be.
Here’s the key reason why – most Wedding Vendors are services, not commodities. Even if they do sell a tangible item, I would bet that there is a lot of artistic thought and work being put into that item. You have a great opportunity to talk to many, many different vendors and see what’s out there. There are always new ideas, and this is the best way to learn about current Wedding trends.
Enjoy the day – see every booth you can. Ask questions – If you’re not sure what to ask, start with a simple one “so what do you do?” and go from there. Sample the food (many places also serve drinks) Most shows usually have a Wedding Gown fashion show (or 2) that you can check out. See what you like, and what you don’t like, get the contact information, and then when you get home, you can make some choices.
Upgrade by Simplifying
Upgrade by simplifying is one of my recurring themes in helping couples plan their weddings, and it feeds directly into my overall goal of “having the time of your lives”. Unless you can just afford the best of everything, you will have to prioritize what is important to you and your fiance when it comes to having your ideal Wedding. And even if you can afford the best of everything, I still wouldn’t recommend it*. If you do have a Wedding Budget, and money is important, there are two ways of prioritizing, and I think one way is far superior to the other.
*as a Wedding Professional, I watch several celebrity weddings on tv, usually where money is no object. I see lots of wealthy brides on tv make the exact same mistake with planning that local brides tend to do. Remember the example of the reality tv star that married a NBA player that made $18 million dollars by being televised, and then the marriage lasted 72 days? They had a very expensive, BASIC, wedding reception, just like 100s I've seen before. I’m not going to drop any names, or even put in a snarky anonymous link. Who I’m talking about is not that important, I’m sure it will sadly be repeated by someone else with lots of money but the wrong priorities.
A Wedding Reception should not be considered a substitute or even a foundation for the Marriage. It should be thought of as a one time celebration of the decision to get married with all of the special people in your lives. Adding more and more things to worry about can only distract you from the real meaning of the day. Even if you can afford it, you should still upgrade by simplifying and get the most out of your Wedding Reception. Throwing money at a situation is not always the best approach.
The approach a lot of brides take is that if I can’t afford the best of everything, let’s get as many cheap things as I can. They may not be the “best”, but at least I can have all or most of the things I want. The problem with that is by spreading your budget out too thin, no one single thing will stand out. Probably everything will be OK, but not that great. Which is why most people do not like going to Wedding Receptions, everything is OK, but not that great. Is that really everything you want?
The better approach (in my opinion) is to do a little research – the Bridal Shows are perfect for this – and find out what kind of options are available to you. Then think about what is most important to you. Knowing that “everything” is not the same as the “best” thing. To use a football analogy (sorry ladies, I’m still a guy) if you say you have 3 quarterbacks, you’re really saying you have none. Focus on the 3 or 4 things that are the most important to you, and then act accordingly.
1 Great Thing is more memorable than 10 average things
I am a Wedding DJ, so I would hope that “having fun” would be the most important thing. If it is, then great, hire the best DJ or Band or Entertainer you can find that matches your style instead of using an IPOD. If the room “looking elegant with my color scheme” is the most important thing to you, then try to find the best Event Planner or decorator you can, probably using a top notch florist would help with that as well, instead of having your family bring in the decorations. If you are a “foodie” make sure that you taste the food, not just look at the menu. Or if you are a “wine aficionado” maybe you should look at having your Wedding at one of the local wineries, or Local Brewery, etc. If “having lasting one of a kind images” then make sure you get a top notch Wedding photographer, and don’t try to save money by also having a photo booth as a substitute for four hours worth of time. It is a pretty important four hours, don’t you think. You can do whatever you want, try to make sure you actually want it when you do.
Talk it over as a couple and decide on what’s really important. (I’m sorry, but “I want all of that” isn’t really choosing a top priority – there can’t be two number ones, that would be eleven) (sorry, still a guy) Focus on what is most important and spend the money on that first, and then go after the next priority, and so on. When you run out of budget, stop buying things. Or even if you still have money, stop adding things that aren’t important to you. If they aren’t important, why are you buying them in the first place. Tradition and other people’s opinions are unlikely to have a lasting impact if you do not agree with them. Nobody says you have to do everything, in fact, Stephen Scott specifically says you shouldn’t .
And if you’re not sure what’s important to you, go to a Bridal Show, and talk to everybody. I do promise you will find a lot of great ideas there to think about.
So, the moral of the story for this month is: don’t figure out a budget first and they try to find things you can afford. First figure out what you want to do, and then adjust your budget to what you want. Trying to compare numbers for 100 or more different vendors in a variety of fields is a little silly. Go and enjoy yourself at the bridal shows, and only worry about the numbers later, for the ones you DO like.
And always remember: this is your big day – it’s supposed to be fun.
Upgrade By Simplifying
Relax, have the Time of your lives.
The Real DJ Steve is both a Las Vegas Wedding DJ and the owner of United DJs Las Vegas.
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“Have Fun At Your Own Wedding!”
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