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Bridal Shows: to go or not to go?

I’m pleased to announce my first ever collaborative post with a fellow blogger, Leona AKA Crafty Boo & Artsy Pea about our experiences at bridal shows! So it’s like you’re getting 2 Wedding Wednesday posts at once! Especially great when drowning with work these days. Check out her blog for her Wed or Bust experience at the 2nd Annual Craft My Wedding Bridal Show in Boston! (I actually found the event through Yelp and shared it with her since I thought it would be perfect!)

I attended The Bridal Event at The Mall at Chestnut Hill armed with a few of my Bridesmaids and my future mother-in-law on September 27, 2015 (wow, that seems like ages ago now). Fresh from my engagement in August 2015, the excitement of wedding planning didn’t fully unravel into the anxiety-filled days presently, so I thought I had plenty of time. I actually found out about the event just by shopping at the Mall several weeks prior. For any average person who has been to the Chestnut Hill Mall, you may notice that it exudes an air of pretentiousness with its limited set of high end/luxury stores. Now, knowing their target audience, the bridal show definitely exhibited brands that I would never be able to afford, nor would I want to splurge on. The show I attended  was *FREE*, but don’t be turned off if the one you want to go to charges an admission fee! (Leona had a great time at hers and hers had a $15 fee.)

We were one of the first groups to arrive as some vendors hadn’t even filled out their booth! I checked in and of course this was the first of SEVERAL instances where I had to sacrifice my personal information. As I’ve mentioned before I would strongly encourage you try these tips to get the most out of your experience.

Bridal Show Tips
  • Research any shows in your area and see if there’s an admission fee!
    • Sometimes if you register in advance you can go for free, or they might have some other check in or social media offers
    • Research what VENDORS will have booths there and have a list of questions to ask during the show.
  • We all know how SECRETIVE venues are about their pricing. Most of them require you to CALL them to inquire about packages and pricing so this is your chance to ask them without committing your personal info.
  • Go early on in your engagement! Don’t worry if you don’t have a date picked out yet. When I went I just knew I wanted to do something for Spring 2017.
  • (Optional tip) Bring contact labels.  If you’re a raffle pro, you’re probably familiar with having that info pre-filled out on a sticky label to save yourself hand cramp.
  • Make a WEDDING E-MAIL to save yourself the spam/headache! If you’re going with a group, have them give a spam e-mail as well. It is unreal the amount of promotion e-mail you will get otherwise.
  • Invite some trusted friend(s) and family to go with you!
    • Not only will you have more chances to win some of their prizes, but it’s always more fun to share the experience and get second opinions.
  • Follow up with vendors you are interested in. I actually had several people e-mail me after the show, but if you see someone you are interested in, you should definitely take the next step to reach out to them!
  • Take photos to save your ideas! Most bridal shows feature a fashion/runway portion, so it’s a good idea to take some photos of some styles and latest trends.
    • Honestly, the one I attended was so high fashion that I just went with my own.
  • Get that GOODY BAG! To be honest, mine was mostly filled with wedding pamphlets and brochures along with some cheesy knick-knacks that I’m never going to use but this could be the beginning of your research to find out what kind of wedding you want!

Similar to Leona’s experience, the bridal show had a passport for attendees to complete with stamps by visiting the booths to redeem a goody bag at the end. Thankfully I didn’t have to engage in banter with every stop as most of them just gave me the stamps without much fuss. Honestly, the bag itself was not a gem since it just contained huge pamphlets and magazines, but I did enjoy interacting with everyone for the most part! When the event wrapped up they were actually GIVING AWAY all the goody bags to everyone since they obviously didn’t want to lug back those heavy things… So make of that what you will. They had an amazing variety of venues, photographers, caterers, jewelers, bridal boutiques, dance lessons, and even personal fitness!

What I Got Out of the Event
  • Tons of free food samples, cake pops, sweets and complimentary champagne!
  • Endless coupon vouchers, promotions and wedding resources
  • Cute/cheesy wedding themed trinkets
  • Lighthouse Brunch Cruise for 2 from Boston Harbor Cruises ($150 value)

lighthouse

  • Engagement Photo Bundle with Kristin Griffin Photography ($540 value)
    • Everyone else that entered received a complimentary mini-engagement session, although I don’t think the USB and complimentary photo prints were part of my package.
    • We were pleased with how the engagement photos turned out, and decided to sign a contract with her and a 3rd party videographer she recommended for our wedding day. Stay tuned for a vendor specific review once the wedding is over and we’ve received the photos/video!
  • Mary-Kay Complimentary Bridal Session Pampering – WARNING AVOID SCAM!!
    • Be wary of this vendor, although they have legitimate products their pyramid scheme style of selling products is suspicious. My info was leaked perhaps through Davids Bridal, but the vendor was at this Bridal Show as well. I received an e-mail saying I had won something and to contact this sales rep. It seemed too good to be true so I looked it up on line. Lo’ and behold there were several other ladies who had the EXACT same luck of winning this prize! In reality it’s a ploy to get you to book a session to BUY their makeup line.
    • Did I really win something for FREE?!! WeddingWire
    • David’s Bridal – Mary Kay Prize Package?
  • Beware of “Runner-up” Prizes –  I understand they just want to make you feel “special” to incentive a second look for purchase… However, it’s not hard to tell that they sent it out as a copy/paste to several people when the prize is just a coupon discount off one of their packages.
temp
I’ll leave this company anonymous since it’s a common practice.

Overall I would rate Bridal Show at Chestnut Hill favorably at 4 stars. However, to get the most out of any bridal show I would highly recommend the tips I listed above! Let me know if you enjoyed our collaborative posts. As you know I am always open to doing more collabs so fill out the contact form or comment if you have other topic ideas!

Rating: 4/5 ★★★★

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7 thoughts on “Bridal Shows: to go or not to go?

  1. I apologized for bumping into people so many times that I received a Canadian passport upon exit. The flow of traffic was terrible. You’ve got people patrolling the free food in different directions, and the trashcans are placed at the choke points (which by the way, brilliant planning, because people will loiter there). That said, the drinks were nice, and lots of attractive runway models, which brought the experience to 3/5 had I gone there solo. Zombie outbreak survivability is 0/10.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I completely forgot about the congestion until you mentioned it. Thanks for sharing. The mall is such a typical place for zombie outbreak scenes. Funnily I haven’t seen another bridal show there since then, maybe they realized the venue was not ideal.

      Like

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