Bridal Show Hopping
Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013
Photo by: Nathan Abplanalp Photography
Alyn Wharmby is an Ohio native turned middle school teacher and graduate student, currently earning a degree in School Administration at UNC Charlotte. She is beginning her new life with fiance Erik and chihuahua Bella on July 13, 2013. Contact Alyn here.
This Sundays Bridal Showcase at the Charlotte Convention Center officially marks the end of my time as a bride on the market for vendors. I attended knowing that it would be my last bridal show --in a year in which I attended many. Ive chosen almost ALL my vendors, with the exception of a honeymoon/travel agent, cake and videographer (which is probably getting skipped in the budget).For those of you newbie brides who are recently engaged, bridal shows are a fun and exciting way to start your planning. But when youre nine months in, you can do without them. I have been to MANY bridal shows this year. I wont lieI went to my first one before I was even engaged, out of sheer hope that it would happen soon (I dont advise this, you feel like a nerd every time they ask you when the wedding is). For those of you that havent been, let me give you a run-down of the typical bridal show.First, follow local wedding blogs and Facebook pages (like Carolina Bride) and win your tickets to get in free. I have only paid for a couple of the shows Ive attended by taking that route. Be on the constant look-out for upcoming shows. Some venues offer a yearly show with their specific vendors, while many shows take place in arenas and event centers. Register in advance as needed--- usually you have to in order to win their prizes. When you get there, you will see many people suggest that you have labels printed with your wedding date and personal information printed on them. This saves time by allowing you not to have to fill out a registration form at each vendors booth. I also suggest choosing a few specific types of vendors to look at. If you try to see it all it can get very overwhelming. Also, create a new email address just for this purpose, or plan on changing it after you get married. You will get bombarded by vendor emails as soon as you provide it. I also try not to give out my phone number. Some vendors (usually the big corporate ones) do abuse the privilege and will call you repeatedly.Other suggestions? Taste all the cake vendors -- unless youre on a wedding diet. They each have a tiny taste of heaven to share! Bring a pen to mark brochures and information that you may actually want to keep with a star or another symbol. It is hard to weed out the cake vendor you liked from that you didnt when you come home with a bag full of business cards. Take a bottle of water; tasting all that cake will leave you pining for a drink. Invite your mom or future mother in law; its a great way for them to be involved in the beginning of your planning.My fiance is firmly against attending these soirees, even though some of them have a designated man space. I have to agree, he wouldnt have enjoyed it as much as the women in my life have. It can be a crazy scenebig crowds, small spaces, and long lines, so mentally prepare yourself for that. Despite all this, most any girl friend is in when I ask them to attend with me. Who doesnt want to dream up a wedding (yours or someone else's)?Here are some of my favorite upcoming bridal shows in the area -- check out as many as you can. Remember you only get to be a bride once (we hope)!· The Carolina Bridal Fair at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center: Sunday, February 10th, 11am-5pm· The Charlotte Bridal Show Winter Expo 2013 at the Hilton Charlotte University Place: Sunday, February 24th, 1-4pm· The Happily Ever After Bridal Showcase at the Magnolia Room: Sunday, March 3, 1-5pmAnd stay tuned here for others!
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