Most bridal shows are scheduled in the months of January and August. Tickets are usually between $5.00 and $10.00 with a one or two dollar discount if you purchase your tickets online before the event. Prizes may be offered for the first 100, 200 or 500 brides to attend, which usually includes a copy of a major bridal magazine such as “Modern Bride, " a local bridal guide, a pin that says “Bride to Be, " as well as tickets for drawings and sweepstakes.
The most recent bridal show I attended started at 11:00 and ended at 5:00. They had a mini bridal fashion show that started at noon and showcased about 20 wedding gowns from one of the exhibitors. The “Runway Fashion Show" which included more gowns and tuxedos was scheduled for 3:00. The prize drawings were announced at 2pm and 4pm. Having arrived at 11:00, my guests and I had visited all the exhibitors, watched the mini fashion show, and were done by around 12:30. I recommend going to bridal shows later in the day in order to be there for the main events and giveaways. Also, I noticed that there were plenty of free magazines, buttons, and gifts for people arriving after 12:30.
Expect to see a multitude of local photographers at any bridal show you attend. You will be a little overwhelmed by their displays, but spend a little time looking through their photo albums, which contain some of their most personal and unusual candid shots. You will have fun sampling wedding cakes from all the local bakeries. Even better, is seeing new trends in wedding cakes. I saw rich, brown layered cakes with gold leaf accents, and bold, bright colors such as magenta, purple and hot pink.
Unless you want to be bombarded with phone calls and emails from wedding professionals, be careful about the forms you fill out for the exhibitors. My daughter filled out a form for a free cruise giveaway. She was called after the show and asked for her credit card number over the phone. Remember, that even if you “win" something, it may be a $500 discount off of a $2,000 photography package.
Being able to talk to so many wedding professionals in one place is very beneficial. Looking at companies online, who all claim to be the best at what they do, is impersonal and confusing. The exhibitors are friendly and helpful. You will be able to determine for yourself whether you like the taste and look of their cakes, or the design of their flower arrangements. You may not win a prize, but you will come home with a free magazine, some referrals, and some great new ideas for your wedding.
Kathleen Terrana is the owner of Beautiful Bridal specializing in discount tiaras, veils, bridal and bridesmaid jewelry. Visit our site for additional wedding tips, advice and information.