Should You Hire Before, During or After a Major Wedding Trade Show?

Come mid- September, many wedding vendors will be buzzing around the city like crazy. The main reason, it's wedding trade show season.

For wedding businesses, this is a great but very busy time of year. Getting out information, meeting with and booking a number of events and overall planning and doing whatever one can to shape their calendar for the upcoming year.

For couples, it's a time of excitement but also confusion. There are so many choices within the wedding industry, it becomes even more difficult to decipher all the literature and quick conversations one might have at a wedding trade show, that often times a bride is more confused after the show than when they first went into it.

So, if you're planning your wedding, how do you know if booking before the busy trade show, during a show or after the show is best way to go? Do you try to beat the rush? Do you try to get a deal at the show? Do you go through all the information you grab and then make your decision? So many choices, sometimes, so little time depending on when you plan to hold your wedding.

Here are the pros and cons of each choice:

Before the Trade Shows

If you want to beat the rush and not risk that a wedding company you really like will be booked when you finally make your decision, finding the right vendor is best to do before thousands of brides and grooms start talking to them too.

Most vendors worth their salt will have started booking shows long before the trade shows take place, but many will have openings before the shows when they won't after. It often doesn't take long if another bride likes what they see to call the company right away. They may book on the spot (which isn't always likely, but it does happen).

You can often save yourself the headache of having to select your backup choice or spending too much if you simply meet with and decide on your vendors before the shows.

During the Trade Shows

This isn't a practice I'd recommend, but there are times that some companies will offer discounts only at the show that you can take advantage of. This is their way of getting your attention at the show and ignoring the other companies who do what they do on the trade show floor.

While discounts are good, we say avoid doing so at the show, only because you really can't take the time and get the information you need one-on-one with a vendor at a busy trade show. They are talking to hundreds of brides and it's often about quantity, not quality when they get a few minutes to chat with someone as other brides go rushing by.

If you really want the deal, ask them if they can honor it until you get a chance to meet with them in just a few days and book an appointment then and there for later in the week.

If you must do so at the show, get a contract, get a receipt for any deposit you might have to pay and cover your tracks.

After the trade shows

This is likely the most common practice, but there is a trick to it. Often times brides will grab information and then do nothing with it for months. We don't suggest this.

You'll find that if you wait too long, vendors will book up, their prices will change or you'll miss great opportunities to chat with vendors when they are in a giving mood.

Booking an appointment with any vendor you click with at the show is a great idea. Set a time and date to get as much information as you can about what they do and what separates them from others in their field. Then choose your top three or four and meet with them to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

No matter which way you decide to go, be prepared, inform yourself of your choices and know what you're buying when you finally decide what you'd like. The trade shows are a fun and exciting time, but they can hurt you as much as they help you when it comes to finding the best vendors for your big day.

Come see our booth at Bridal Fantasy on September 23rd. We offer DJ, photography, video and photo booths and would love to work with you.