Kiana Lodge
Harlequin Productions

Prepare for wedding shows

Engaged? Congratulations!

It's time to plan your wedding! To find what you need for your wedding, I recommend that you attend your local and regional wedding shows and the South Sound Wedding Workshops. Here are a few tips and ideas to prepare for the shows and workshops.

Every year, more than 40 percent of engagements occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.  Directly following engagement season is the wedding shows season – most are scheduled in January and February. 

For most people the largest party they have ever planned is a birthday party. When they become engaged they find themselves planning a wedding and reception for 100 to 300 people – on the most important day of their life.

Engagement season is a time of parties, so they are usually planning or attending more than one party: engagement parties, bachelor – bachelorette parties and a wedding day brunch.

The wedding shows are a fantastic resource for engaged couples -- to help them find wedding professionals. Most shows are set up in a trade show set-up with fashion shows, prizes awarded and swag bags given to engaged couples. It’s a great place to find the wedding professionals that you need for the show.

South Sound Wedding & Event magazine produces two wedding shows annually; our next shows are in 2018.

Presenting the South Sound Wedding Workshop

These are free, educational, intimate events for engaged couples. We have one in Olympia on Feb. 23 and one in Tacoma on March 11.

There are fewer wedding pros at these, but there’s usually plenty of food to sample.

When you are researching wedding shows and events, there’s a big difference between an open house and a wedding show, or a local tour and a wedding show.

  • Look at who is producing the event, how many vendors will be there, and if there’s a list, look at it.

  • If you have plenty of time, go to as many as you can.

  • But if you want to be more selective, choose local – regional wedding shows, and one or two open houses that focus on the ones that featured the wedding professionals who you might want to do business with.

Before you attend a show or wedding event, here are a few tips

  1. Research wedding shows online and in wedding magazines. Find the shows that are within your wedding location. It’s best to choose vendors within our geographic area to save on travel costs.

  2. Make a list of the shows that you want to attend, location, date and cost. Look at the show website to find out if it has discounted tickets online.

  • For example, our wedding shows are the West Sound Wedding Show in Bremerton, WA on Jan. 29, 2017. The show website has information, photos and discounted tickets -- register early for the best ticket price.

  • We also produce the South Sound Wedding Show on Feb. 4, 2017 in Olympia. There are discount tickets online plus details about the show.

  1. Not all wedding shows are the same; some are more upscale than others. Our shows are presented by South Sound Wedding & Event magazine while others are stand-alone shows.

  2. Caterers will often hold tastings following a wedding show, so you can taste the food to help you decide which caterer to hire. Venues will often hold open houses, too, so you can tour the wedding venues. It’s helpful to attend open houses within your wedding region.

  3. Once you have selected your wedding shows that you will attend, purchased advance tickets, there are a few more things to do to prepare.

  • Bring a list of the wedding professionals that you need. For example, if you have already hired a florist, then you aren’t looking for one – you might be looking for a photographer, caterer and DJ. Then look for those at the show. Talk to them, pick up their business card, look at their portfolio, and set an appointment to meet with them.

  • Bring your calendar, so you can book appointments with the professionals that you like.

  • Bring pre-made stickers with your name, email, phone number and wedding date, so you can quickly sign up for drawings and sign up for appointments. It’s a good idea to set up a wedding email, so you can easily track your wedding emails.

  • Bring your wedding colors in the form of a swatch of fabric in case you need to color match.

  • Wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot. If you are trying on wedding dresses, bring a pair of high heels.

  • Bring a pen and notepad so you can take notes. If they give you a list of vendors at the show, you can make notes about the ones you like.

  • If you have a notebook with photos or Pinterest board started for your wedding, bring it to show vendors your ideas.

  • Bring your checkbook, credit card and debit card, so you can make deposits if you are ready to commit to a vendor.

It is best if you both attend the show together if there are decisions to be made about making appointments with vendors. You can also bring your maid of honor or whomever is helping you with decisions.

Following the show, review all your notes, be sure you have all the appointment dates set on your calendar, and look through your swag bag for special deals, open houses announcements and coupons.

When couples attend our wedding shows, they receive a bag with a complimentary copy of South Sound Wedding & Event magazine in it. Plus there are promotional materials, products, announcements for open houses and other wedding events.

When you are trying to decide whether to hire a wedding professional who is local or one who is located farther away, here’s a guideline:

  • Some wedding professionals should be local, for example, the caterer, florist and cake baker. You don’t wantyour food to be overcooked, or your flowers to wilt, or your cake frosting to melt because it’s been in the hot weather for too long during travel.

  • Many wedding professionals who offer services such as DJs, photographers, officiants and others, often travel a wide geographic region for weddings – they don’t need to be local. Many of them won’t charge a travel fee either. But you need to be sure they allow plenty of travel time so they arrive when you need them on your wedding day.

I wish you the best in researching your wedding or event. I hope to meet you at one of our shows or events! Photos by Firstlight Photography.

Click on a photo to enlarge.

Published on January 18, 2017.

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