Welcome to this series of posts that look at bridal shows & all they entail. This series will focus on our opinion as a Full-Service Wedding Photography Studio & veterans of the Bridal show industry! We get asked all the time by brides, other vendors, parents, & even the groom is going to a bridal show worth it? It’s Crazy, there’s so many people there, & how can I truly find what I want?
Well, you’ve come to the right place! During this series, we are going to look at bridal shows from every perspective & give you our recommendations about whether you need to bother with attending a bridal show or not! We are going to give you both our pros & cons so you can decide for yourself!
Please take the time to also see the other posts from this series to see our recommendations for each different group so you can have our exhaustive study on the subject & make the best informed opinion! Remember, this is your day! You need to make the decisions for your day based on both knowledge & experience of people whom you trust! We are always here to answer any questions you may have! Just reach out! You may click HERE or on the link at the bottom to setup a phone call or email us to chat about questions or services for your day!
Bridal shows are an international phenomena! All over the world, in almost every country there is a bridal show, fair, or extravaganza of some kind or size! The purpose is simple, to connect brides with potential vendors or simply to give inspiration!
In a world dominated by internet (Pinterest weddings), brides have started to disconnect from the real life experience of shopping & planning their weddings hands on. Yes we love Pinterest, we use it for our business! It’s a great way to get inspiration, plan color schemes, compare locations,etc, but if your entire wedding is based solely on pictures from the internet, you will get lost in the sea of mediocrity.
We hear it many times, a bride wants her wedding to be unlike anyone else’s! Her pictures must be unique, her decor must be trend setting, her dress must be one of a kind & to help she pulls up her Pinterest board of what she wants to be copied! The flaw in this thinking is if you want to be unique, then you, well, have to be unique! Dream boards are important & we urge all of our couples to create one both for their engagement session as well as their wedding portraits, but we stress this is simply for inspiration not a list of shots to copy!
As a wedding vendor, it’s our job to help you realize the vision for your day in any way we can. Every bride is different! We can all watch a popular “fix up my house” show on television & half of us can see the finished product when the house is only bare walls & the other half can’t. We have to see pictures, carpet, furniture, etc to capture the vision of what our dream house really looks like! Neither person is wrong or right, they’re simply different in how they see the world! That’s why there’s a designer to help guide the couple through what they want to make it a reality.
Weddings are the same, almost every vendor that contributes to the creative process, i.e the Photographers, wedding planner, florist, cake designer, etc, should be able to envision what you’re wanting & help make that a reality whether you yourself are a creative visionary or not.
Enter The Bridal Show. Bridal shows are setup to be your “one stop wedding shop” where you can literally find everything you need! It’s created to give you an idea of what a business has to offer in person instead of simply seeing their “best photos” from a website. Let’s take a closer look at how as a bride this can benefit you!
We all know how excited you are! You just got engaged! You have been planning this day for a long time & are ready to get your fairytale started! You found your Prince Charming, all you need is the Pumpkin coach, the glass slippers, & some friendly mice to help make your dress! Trouble is, there’s a lot of different kinds of pumpkin coaches, glass slippers aren’t really your style, & Prince Charming’s aunt is super allergic to dressmaking mice!! What do you do?!?!
Using the internet is a valuable resource, it helps weed out items or places that don’t fit your dream, but sadly they can only take you so far! Yes you can search for the perfect rustic wedding venue without calling all the places that don’t accommodate rustic weddings, but how do they treat their clients?Do you feel comfortable with them?
Bridal shows are like designer clothing stores! Caught your attention just then didn’t I!? In every window you will see not only the “perfect outfit” but every accessory known to man that will go with that outfit or may even slightly match! This takes all the work out for you! The perfect matching shoes to the outfit, then of course the matching scarf, but you can’t leave without the matching purse or bracelet to go with the perfect matching shoes, scarf, & outfit! Funny how you just went in to the store to find a belt! Oh man, I have to go back to get the matching belt now!
A well crafted bridal show is the same way! You may already have the perfect venue or you may find them at the bridal show, but right next to them is the perfect matching DJ who doesn’t just play a playlist from his Iphone, oh, & right there next to him is the cake you’ve always dreamed of, but couldn’t put into the right descriptive words! Yay! You’re doing so well, but wait, none of this matters without the proper Photography Team to capture all this planning & perfection! Well, no worries, if you’re in Tulsa or OKC we are right there for you!
Just in one simple paragraph you have captured 3 of what we call the “Big 4” most important details of your wedding! See our wedding tip post: ‘The 4 Most Important Wedding Decisions‘ for more.
Below we are going to list the Top “Pros” to why you should go to a Bridal Show! Again, this is our opinion so make sure you weigh all the evidence & make the decision that’s best for your day!
1.) Discounted Services:
This is by far one of the biggest Pros to attending a bridal show! Many times the vendor you’ve already been looking at or planning to hire, us included, will be offering either a giveaway of some sort or a discount on their service to encourage brides to make decisions at the show! We have couples all the time that follow our work & plan on booking us, but wait until they see us at the next Bridal show because they want to take advantage of whatever special we are offering!
My wife is a coupon queen when it comes to shopping! I make the joke she’d drive to 100 miles to save 50 cents on kid’s clothes! I love this about her! We understand budget is a big deal to most brides, so we love offering discounts & specials at bridal shows! The other great things about discounts are you can sometimes win prizes you weren’t even going to the show to find! We’ve had several couples that have won honeymoon packages, a free cake, & many other things just by entering at other vendor’s booths when they came to see us!
So should you plan to pay money & make deposits at a Bridal show? As a Wedding Vendor, my obvious answer is always yes. If you know you want to use us, then by all means make the deal then to ensure your date is locked! We have seen many brides wait to book their venue or DJ & lose their date because someone else grabbed it first!
One way we try to be different, is not being heavy pressured! Our work speaks for itself. I tell every bride, if you like our work & want our style for your day, then let’s set up a coffee date to discuss in more detail! We always honor any special or discount for any bride who sets up a coffee meeting at the show with us!
So if you already have an idea of what venue you want, which DJ is best, & who you want to capture your wedding day, it never hurts to ask what specials, giveaways, or discounts they may be offering at the next bridal show & then attending to take advantage! You are taking a risk that they may book someone else before you book them, but that’s a decision you’ll have to weigh the risk of.
2.) Everything you need in one place:
This is kind of a review of what I said earlier in the post, but it’s still true. Nowhere else can you find everything you could ever possible want for your wedding, including some things you didn’t think about, all in the same place! Even if you’ve already found all the major components of your wedding, there are still tons of little details that you may not have thought about.
Many brides come to a bridal show just to find little details or see if there’s anything they haven’t thought of yet! It’s hard when you’re sitting down to Google to remember everything little thing you need to plan for. Now, of course, every wedding is different. Some weddings are very simplistic while others are more elaborate so find out where you fit in that list & go from there.
I have seen many brides walking down the aisles of a bridal show eyes twinkling from the inspiration they are getting. It never hurts to look as they say! Ha-ha
3.) You can meet your potential vendor face to face:
We consider this to be the most important reason to attend a bridal show, but have listed it last because we know budget & finding what you need may be of more importance to some.
After years in the wedding industry & serving hundreds of couples, we still firmly believe that no matter how many websites you visit or how many pins you add, you will never be able to fully connect with a certain vendor unless you meet them in person.
There is a big misunderstanding in the industry that vendors are simply out for your money & are like car salesmen. This has never been farther from the truth, especially among all the amazing vendors we have worked with. If we don’t see a commitment from a vendor we’ve worked with, we don’t recommend them.
Yes, there is some advantage to price shopping through dozens of websites, especially if you have a specific budget & can’t adjust it. It’s pointless to talk to a venue that costs over 10k & seats 500 guests if you don’t have the budget for it, but in the same fashion, only comparing prices will not give you the sense of what you’re getting. I have known brides who have visited the venue they’re booking at least once if not more. Why? Because you can’t picture your reception or ceremony from simply a web photo.
This is the reason why Bridal shows are such an advantage. You can not only see the vendor & decide if you like what they have to offer, but you have the chance to chat with them for as long or as little as you like to get a sense of if you click.
In our area of wedding Photography, this is extremely important. Prices may differ slightly, options in collections may be this or that, but the personality & dedication that a team displays matter drastically in how your Portraits, album, & memories turn out! We have never had a couple hire us sight unseen. You can’t fully understand my personality or my wife’s soft spokenness without spending time with us. The bridal shows we attend give you the perfect opportunity to do just that. Then, after chatting for a few minutes, you’ll know if you’d like to meet for coffee to find out how we will capture your day in a unique way! This is extremely hard to get from a website page or even a blog post! It takes a personal touch!
We hope this first part to our Bridal Show series has given you some important things to think about. Be sure to look for Part 2 where we discuss the Cons of attending a bridal show as well as our final thoughts. See you soon!
Also stay tuned for our next post: “Are Bridal Shows worth it for Grooms?”
We hope you choose to attend at least one upcoming Bridal Show in your area! To see what Bridal Shows we attend & the amazing companies we work with, click their links below:
OK Bride (We have worked with OKBride for a long time. They host the largest Bridal Show in Oklahoma)
We would love to chat with you about your special day & what you want to make your unique love story! Please click below to reach out to us. We are here to answer any questions you have! Reach Out