I can see you from where you’re reading this blog post: sitting on your couch or bed with a nice glass of wine (or a strong ass margarita like me), covered in magazines with ceremony inspo, and a million pinterest tabs opened with ideas, trying to figure out where to even beginnnn with wedding planning!
Before you secure all your vendors that you may have found from The Knot, ISO threads in wedding planning Facebook groups, or from your married friends, set a date and visit a wedding expo! It’s a super convenient way to find vendors for your wedding day, take advantage of deals and discounts, and win some cool prizes.
In order to make the most of a wedding expo, you need to show up with a game-plan. From a photographer who just recently planned her own wedding and has coordinated wedding expos in the area, this article is filled literally with the only tips you need to tackle a wedding expo. You’re welcome 😇
Before you go
⭐ Create a designated e-mail address for wedding planning
Before you head out to your local wedding expo, create an e-mail address just to communicate with vendors throughout the planning process. Choose something simple like your names + wedding or your wedding hashtag so it is easy to write down on vendor contact forms. Having all that information in one e-mail account can ensure you won’t miss out on any deals that may have went to spam, or any future important e-mails from your vendors.
⭐ Have a date + dream venue in mind
If you’re heading to a wedding expo, you’re most likely in the early stages of wedding planning. The number one question you will be asked when you visit a booth is “what date are you getting married?”. Sure, it’s a great conversation starter, but your vendors need to know this so they can provide you with the right information based on their availability. With hundreds of vendors under one roof, you don’t want to waste any time gathering details just for that vendor to be unavailable for your wedding date! Have a date in mind — and a great bonus — have a dream venue in mind. Even if you don’t have your date or venue secured, it is a great way to envision your wedding day and locate vendors who:
✔️Fit your style
✔️Have worked at that venue before
✔️Who will ensure your day is unique and true to you and your boo’s vision
Here comes tha bride 💁🏽♀️ (or groom!)
⭐ Bring someone who has recently gotten married
Have you planned a wedding before? Didn’t think so! Bringing a friend who has recently gone through the wedding planning process is SO helpful. They can recommend what vendors you need to secure first and help ask the right questions when visiting each booth. It’s less intimidating to approach such a huge event filled with all sorts of vendors with a friend who has been through it before! Sure, your parent’s have had a wedding before (and may help pay for a few vendors), but it was probably years ago. Styles change, wedding planning has evolved. More couples are doing the damn thing on their own! Bring the parents along for your dress fitting, or meet up with them after the expo to share all your intel.
⭐ Ask if their services fit your budget
You should do a litttttle bit of research before you head to a wedding expo. Have a number in mind you would like to stay around for each vendor. Ask vendors what they can do for you within your budget. Vendors are more than happy to create custom quotes for your day, and are more than happy to educate you on what the local industry standard rate is. If a vendor is at a wedding expo, they want you to take advantage of their exclusive deal or discount they offer to event attendees. Every vendor is there to ensure your day is special – sometimes you need to hear directly from the pros if what you’re envisioning requires a larger budget. Don’t panic! You’re in the early stages of planning. This is why you attend these wedding expos – to gather info to begin putting together a beautiful wedding day.
⭐ Sign up for mailing lists
Most vendors will be offering an exclusive deal or hosting a giveaway. Some offers + giveaways are good during the event, some you have to sign up for a mailing list to hear if you won. Put your name on those lists! Many vendors will e-mail all attendees the following week with more discounts and offers for you to consider. Next time you check your wedding planning e-mail, your inbox will be full of potential vendors for you to review and reach out to! Visiting so many booths can turn into a blur by the end of the day, so go through these e-mails, visit vendors’ websites, and plan in your pj’s when you get home!
⭐ Skip interviewing vendors with outrageous lists compiled by wedding blogs and magazines
Listen, babe, choosing the right vendors for your day is absolutely crucial. You want someone you mesh well with, someone who can execute your vision, and someone who is experienced. Vendors are always willing to answer all questions you have about their services and the booking process, but skip those giant lists of “questions you should ask your photographer”. When your vendor explains why they enjoy working at beach weddings, is that really something that is going to benefit your day?
When walking through the expo, look for signs that they know their stuff – a well decorated and finished booth, a nice portfolio of their work, samples of food or desserts, ⭐⭐REVIEWS⭐⭐ from previous couples.
Instead of interviewing vendors in a loud and busy expo, mention something unique about your wedding vision or proposal story. If a vendor resonates with that detail, they will make a note and bring it up when they reach out to you via e-mail. This way you can tell which vendors are interested in being part of your day, and knowing they were listening to your story will make all the difference between choosing Discount Desserts and Elegant Affairs Cakes + Pastries.
Let’s get to planning!
BEST OF LUCK tackling your next wedding expo date! I hope this article helps you focus on what is important about your vendor search. Looking for more wedding planning tips? CLICK HERE for a fun post filled with Six Pensacola Engagement Session Spots for Foodies (and Drunkies!)