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How To... Get the Most From a Bridal Show

When planning a wedding one of the best places to get ideas and inspiration is a wedding showcase. Under one roof you can see what’s available, do some shopping and ask questions and advice from wedding professionals! 

Marc McIntosh is Co-Producer of the Washington Wedding Experience, which comes to the Dulles Expo Center on April 19, brides-to-be will get the chance to meet with wedding professionals, get practical and expert advice, discover new ideas and see the latest wedding trends.

“There are many different ways to gather information when planning a wedding,” Marc says. “There certainly are a lot of resources, but what makes a show different is you get the face-to-face contact with the professionals and you get to see the flowers, taste the cake and feel the dresses – all things that you can’t do online or looking at a print ad! Our research has found that 97 per cent of brides will not make a major purchase decision for their wedding without a face-to-face meeting, so the Washington Wedding Experience is a very efficient way to do those meetings.” 

But there are only so many hours in a day, so making the most of your time at a wedding show is important. “Arrive as early as you can and plan to spend as much time as you can at the show,” Marc says. “Then you will have the time to speak to as many people as you would like to. There will be aisle after aisle of wedding businesses, and it can take a while to talk to all of them. You also want to allow time to see the fashion shows.”

While many people go to shows without any ideas or expectations, Marc says that having some ideas before you arrive will help you make the most of your time: “Do your homework, get some ideas as to what you’re looking for, get ideas of what your budget is and then you’ll be prepared when you meet the businesses. The wedding professionals know that they’re dealing with a bride who might not know what questions to ask, so they can be very helpful in helping brides with what they should know before they make a decision about a product or service.”

Spending a whole day at a show is ideal, but not every bride-to-be has the luxury of having a whole day free becauce of other commitments. If this is the case then there are things you can do to make the most of your time as Marc explains: “If you can only come for an hour or two then you want to come with a plan instead of getting caught up in things that you’re not planning on using on your wedding day.”

If you have absolutely no idea of what you want for your wedding and are feeling overwhelmed with the research you have done so far, then Marc assures brides that the companies at the show can help a bride get on the right path. “These are the most experienced wedding professionals,” he says, “the ones who are actively looking for business and to do weddings. For example there are lots of florists who don’t want to do weddings and would rather sell retail, but you wouldn’t know that. So you know the businesses at the show are most interested in working with brides and have experience. Weddings are different to any other kind of event and these people are used to working on them year round.”

If you’re heading down to a show like the Washington Wedding Experience make sure you don’t miss the highlights! “You don’t want to miss the fashion shows,” Marc says. “You don’t want to miss the opportunity to win prizes - we have a few prize draws throughout the day. We have our inspiration gallery which is a cool part of the show where different exhibitors have items on display like flowers, cakes and photography. It’s outside the main exhibition area so the bride can look and compare and get ideas without any sales pressures. It’s almost like a live version of Pinterest where you can see all sorts of things!”



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