(Closed) Are bridal fairs worth it?

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 17
Member
1736 posts
Bumble bee

I went to two different shows. The first was a major bust – only a handful of vendors. The second show I went to because I knew that my photographer would be there and I hadn’t met her in person before. I also knew that the woman who I wanted to have make my cake would be there and my Mom wanted to taste before booking. They had this door prize raffle that resulted in being on mass-email lists for crap … that part annoyed me. But all the vendors had little freebies and I was able to have fun walking around with my Mom and sister and seeing what was out there. Aside from putting a deposit on our date with my cake maker and getting to say hi to the photog…I didn’t get much else out of it! It was fun for the experience (to say that I went) but do I think it’s worth paying for? No. The ones I went to were free.

Post # 18
Member
1215 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Honestly, it depends on what you’re looking for, what type of wedding you’re planning, and what vendors you still need to book. If you’re just going for the giveaways, you might want to just enter giveaways from wedding blogs instead, or subsribe to the “I Do” wedding deals (like Groupons for weddings). I entered TONS of different giveaways at the bridal expo I attended in January and didn’t win anything – not a surprise, because the expo was packed.

My experience was that I was overwhelmed and didn’t accomplish much, other than getting to meet our DJ before we had booked him. We are planning a rustic/vintage wedding, and the wedding expo was DEFINITELY for glitzy ballroom weddings. A lot of the vendors there were really not relevant to our wedding – modern lounge furniture rental companies, ice sculpture and chocolate fountain rentals, linen rentals, etc. But the vendors were very pushy and to enter the giveaways we had to give out our contact information – and 7 months later I’m STILL getting calls from vendors who I did not book (especially from Alfred Angelo!! ugh).

The tastings were OK, but you should get a tasting from your caterer and cake baker when you book them, and you will get much more variety – and probably larger samples! – from those more personal tastings.

They really gave out a ton of papers, and it felt like I went home with a ton of junk (wayyyy too many glossy color brochures from pushy vendors) and no help in the inspiration for the wedding. I think it may have been more helpful if we went to the expo with the intention of booking very specific vendors, e.g. photog or cake baker or rental company – it is still a great way to meet vendors in person.

I dunno, I wouldn’t recommend the bridal expo to any of my friends getting married, I have had much much better luck researching vendors through The Knot and Wedding Wire, reading reviews about them, and meeting them in person when we can talk one-on-one outside of a crowded conference room.

Post # 19
Member
2692 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I went to 1 (the huge one here) in February with Fiance.  We had just started planning and were pretty clueless.  I had a blast, fi not so much LOL.  I wish I had gone with a friend instead because we left before seeing everything and fi didn’t want to stay for the fashion show.  But we did accomplish what we went there to accomplish… just to go and see what is out there in the wedding world.

I was not hoping to win anything or book any vendors but ii did give me a great idea on what was out there and the prices so I could kick start my research at home.  I did enter a few contests and was bummed I didn’t win but it’s all in good fun. Oh and the samples were great LOL.  I did make appoitments with 3 vendors from the show.  But ended up not going with any of the vendors I saw or met with.  I would recommend do one, a LARGE one and then be done.  No need to go to every bridal show out there. 

Post # 20
Member
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I would never pay to go to one, but if you get in free it’s kinda fun.  I went to three different ones I think.  One of them had free passed appetizers and that was the best one.  I also got to try a lot of cake and sweet samples.  You do get exposed to a lot of vendors, so if you are looking for something it’s a good place to start.  I did pick a salon for my hair and makeup that I saw at the fairs (I also got a $20 off coupon so that’s better than nothing).  I would advise you not to give out your real phone number or usual email unless you love spam.  I used a google voice phone number and an email I created for stuff like this.  

Post # 21
Member
554 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

View original reply
@nursemel:  Oh ok, that’s not too bad… the few we’ve gone to we’ve had cake/wine and sometimes finger food samples which is nice. Like a PP said, they were more of a realisation about what I’m not looking for.

But I did get my photographers from an expo (with a great expo deal to boot!!) so even if you get one good deal from a vendor, could be worth it?

Post # 22
Member
811 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I have been to two small ones so far and I’m going to a big one in August. I always take a few people with me and we have a really good time. I’ve gotten a lot of cool freebies like these awesome stick on nails that are really thin like stickers and tons of good food.

The best thing that I come away with when I leave these places is new recipes that I’m going to try at home, since I’m going to attempt to self cater most of my food.

Post # 23
Member
3459 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

It was noisy and overwhelming for me.  Not a conducive environment to talking to the vendors and getting to know them, too many of one type (e.g. photobooths).  At $10 a head, it was not worth it at all and I wouldn’t go back for free.  I got a lot of spam calls afterward too. 

My mom went to one and won a cake (8 inch) and a free cruise dinner for two and told me they were both mine – but then she wouldn’t let me use the cake for the rehearsal dinner, insisting it was intended as a taste to see if you’d buy it.  Yes, it’s intended that way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it differently!  (We had pie.)  So, we never redeemed what was won (cruise is closed over the winter).

Post # 24
Member
1542 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I went to one a few months ago before booking anything. 

We found our photographer there and booked about a month later with their 50% off show special rates. I also “almost” found our DJ there. Still might go with him not sure yet but he made me a deal and game me a couple hundred dollars off all his normal prices cus he knew i was on a budget.

We are going to 2 more next month (one in our area and one about an hour away closer to our venue) Hoping to find and book our DJ at one of the shows. theres also Dress stores there that give out coupons you can use toward your dress if you buy from them. We also need to go back to get the information for the sandals event that a travel agent is having. My Fiance tasted these cupcakes there that he’s dying to get for the wedding. I think they are overpriced tho so we’ll see.

The only thing I “won” was like 200 dollars off the most expensive DJ known to man. Who pays 3k for a DJ for 4 hours is beyond me. So that did me no good. But I am a sucker for entering contests. Hey ya never know!

My Fiance even had a good time – that surprised the heck out of me! I recommend going to atleast one!

Post # 25
Member
343 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Yeah I agree with some previous posters – the bridal show I went to didn’t offer me much except motivation to start projects

Post # 26
Member
7344 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

It really depends on the show.

My area has one every year, and it’s very specialized. We’re a resort area, with most of our weddings being couples planning a Destination Wedding here. It’s put on by our local wedding assoc., and so the only vendors that can participate are all local to our area. You won’t have any large chains or corporate people spamming you. The brides getting married here find it very helpful, and most actually make a special trip into town just to attend it.

The vendors pretty much all offer certain “show specials”, which can be great deals. In our case, the brides have already visited our assoc. website and seen the various vendors. The expo is more to meet them in person, see their stuff in person, and check out what everyone has to offer.

I’ve attended shows in larger areas, and most of them tend to be a bust, unless it’s a specialized show. 

Post # 27
Member
1111 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Fiance and I went to one in February with two friends of ours who are getting married around the same time as us.  It was fun to be there with them (eating cake samples, getting a free drink, looking at photography, etc.) – but was it helpful to us?  No.  To be fair, we had a lot of our vendors already booked and went just for fun.  But the fair sold my contact info, and ever since I’ve been getting TONS of spam emails and phone calls from wedding vendors.  PISSED ME OFF.

Our friends did end up finding their photographer at the fair, though.  They probably wouldn’t have come across his work otherwise, and they were really happy to find & book him!

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