‘Tis the season here in Milwaukee, the official start to engagement season and wedding show season! According to Brides magazine, 19% of couples get engaged over the holidays so it’s no wonder most of the wedding shows happen in the first months of the New Year. Wedding shows are a great way to meet many different vendors at once to gather information and Cream City Weddings wants to share with you some tried and true tips and tricks on navigating the shows to find your preferred vendors.
What shows should you attend? There are a lot of wedding shows in Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin (you can find a comprehensive listing here on Premier Bride) in the winter months and all of them have a different flavor. Some are very large with many vendors, such as The Wonderful World of Weddings and some are more intimate such as Bartolottas Bridal Showcase at the Grain Exchange. What’s better for you depends on what vendors you are looking for! Be sure to check out their listings of vendors to see who’s there and don’t be surprised if some of the vendors you are interested in are not at every show. Wedding show coordinators limit the amount of vendors in each category because no one wants to go a show with 20 DJ’s when you already have your wedding entertainment planned.
(Cream City Tip: Most shows will have a nominal entrance fee, but if a vendor you are particularly interested in is going to be there, contact them to see if they have any “comp” tickets available. Vendors are often given a limited number of these freebies to give out to potential clients!)
Do your homework. Sit down with your significant other before the show. Even if you are newly engaged and don’t have much planned yet before you attend your first show have some conversations with your significant other on likes and dislikes and budget. There’s nothing more awkward than getting into a disagreement in front of a vendor when you find out he wants a backyard pig roast wedding when you’ve been dreaming of an Art Museum wedding your whole life.
(Cream City Tip: Read the informative articles from Married in Milwaukee on average Milwaukee wedding costs to help set a realistic budget)
Have a game plan. While the idea of spending a day at a wedding show may thrill you it’s not everyone’s idea of a good time, especially on a Packer Sunday. Make a game plan on what you definitely want to tackle together at the show, when you want to be there and perhaps plan to attend another show with moms and girlfriends. There are often a lot of vendors to talk to and a lot of overwhelming information, so don’t feel like you need to get all your information at one show.
(Cream City Tip: Make address labels to take so you aren’t endlessly filling out contact forms. The smartest ones we saw recently had the wedding date, address, email and preferred method of communication on them)
Be nice to the vendors. The vendors at the wedding show have a vested interest in being there and truly do want to see if their services are a good match for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for information and ask questions or even to tell them you are not interested in their services. Never deal with a vendor who pressures you to sign a contract on the day of the wedding show for a “show only” special. The investment you are making for your wedding is considerable and you should have time to make your decisions without feeling like you will lose out on a “great deal”.
(Cream City tip: If you want to know the inside scoop on where the really good caterers are, what’s a great venue for your barn-inspired wedding and who makes the best buttercream frosting, talk to the vendors. They attend weddings every week end and will unabashedly give you their reviews and favorites!)
Be prepared for follow up: If you give your name to a vendor or a wedding show event planner you are giving permission to be contacted after the show. This may include phone calls, texting or emailing. Since you have agreed to these terms, vendors may contact you multiple times to share information, and often this is where you will find the best “deals” and information. All communication must have the option for you to “opt out” of further communication in accordance to the US CAN SPAM act. If a vendor continues to contact you after you have asked them not to then you can report them.
(Cream City Tip: Get a dedicated Gmail address just for wedding related emails so your work email isn’t filling up with offers and distracting you)
We hope these tips will help you enjoy your next wedding show. We’ll be at the upcoming River City Lanes Bridal Show in Waterford on Saturday January 16 as well as the Washington County Bridal Fair on January 31 so stop out and say hi! We’d love to show you our affordable $899 packages for photography, DJ services, Photobooth and Video to see if we can brew up a beautiful wedding for you!