Nadine gives the 411 on bridal shows.

If wedding planning season is in full swing, I clearly didn’t get the memo.

My Bridesmaid Tru: Hey Nay! The National Bridal Show is happening this weekend. Let me know if you want to check it out. Might be a great way for all the bridesmaids to get together. P.S. Brides-to-be are free!

Me: Hey, thanks for the email!  I heard about this and was going to send a note to you and the other girls. P.S. I love free!

The truth: I had no idea about this bridal show until my girlfriend Andrea sent me a text just before I got Tru’s email. Thank God for bridesmaids and friends. So this weekend, I’m attending my first bridal show. Can’t wait! I’ve been to trade and wine shows but never a bridal show. For some reason I picture a bunch of frenzied brides pushing me along. Wait… I think I’m confusing this with a gown sale.

Before you head out to a bridal show, take a look at these tips that will help you enjoy your day, get organized and save money.

Why go? Bridal shows are an excellent way to meet wedding professionals you’re interested in booking all in one location. Best of all, it gives you a chance to see their work and creativity on display. You’ll be inspired. Plus, it’s a terrific opportunity to ask questions and take advantage of special discounts or promotional offers.

Who to take? The obvious choice would be your bridesmaids and/or girlfriends. [Triple B note: You might want to take your fiance, too…but probably not all at the same time.]

Pre-register before the show. Save time and money by registering online. This way you avoid the lines and having to fill out long forms. Some bridal shows offer discounts for buying tickets online.

Dress comfortably. You’ll be walking around a lot so comfortable shoes and clothes will make your day less stressful.

Get ready to spend most of your day there. Chances are you will want to see 2 or 3 vendors for every service you still need for your wedding. And you probably want to spend a few minutes talking to each vendor, asking questions about their policies, pricing, etc. That’s going to take more time as the day rolls along.

Arrive early. By arriving early you can 
1) be one of the first to enter and see everything still in tact and well organized; 
2) avoid crowds 
3) spend more time with vendors and 4) not have to stand in long lines.

Bring your contact info. To save time, bring labels with your contact info and wedding date/year. This will help you complete forms for information requests from the vendors that spark your interest!

Be prepared. Find out what services you still need to book, which vendors are  attending, check out their Web sites, view pictures of their work and get as much information about them beforehand. Also be prepared to record things you like and dislike about each vendor after visiting their booth.

Bring Your check book. Many wedding vendors offer an additional discount if you book their services at the show. So be prepared to make a decision and put down a deposit.

Have a camera handy. It’s a good idea to take pictures of the things you like from your favorite vendors.

Click on these links for bridal shows happening in 2011:


USA Bridal Show Directory


The UK

Triple B note: *For NYC brides-to-be, keep in mind this WBLS sponsored show on March 19.

Wish me luck ladies. I promise to remain calm and stay within budget, but I swear if anyone gets in the way of my dream cake or limo, I’ll go off on their behind…just saying.

Are you planning to attend any bridal shows?  If so, please share your survival tips!