Attending a wedding expo or show can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming if you’ve never been before! If you’re planning to attend a wedding show, this blog is for you! We’re covering everything you need to know before you go.
Here at Northwest Wedding Guide, we’ve been to hundreds of shows over the years. In fact, we’ll be exhibiting at the Seattle Wedding Show on February 19th and 20th! If you are coming, please stop by our booth #1130 and say hello! Because of our wealth of experience at wedding shows, we’re sharing our best tips for attending so you can have an enjoyable experience. Here’s what you need to know before attending!
Source: Weddings In Woodinville via Jenny GG Photography
Types of Wedding Expo and Shows
Before we get started on our tips, let’s define what a wedding show is. There are traditionally three types of shows. All three types will give you fresh ideas, access to great resources and vendors, plus plenty of inspiration. But that is where the similarities come to an end. So let’s take a look at each type.
Trade Shows and Wedding Expos
These are the biggest of the three types of wedding shows. There are typically hundreds of vendors. For example, the Seattle Wedding Show typically has over 350 vendors. Wedding trade shows also have the most attendees, so prepare to be in a busy crowd. You’ll need to plan a whole day to attend a wedding trade show.
Boutique Style Shows
Boutique shows are curated intimate shows. Typically, they’ll have anywhere from 20 to 100 vendors in a more relaxed atmosphere than a tradeshow. As a result, wedding couples usually stop by every vendor and won’t feel rushed to see it all. Often boutique shows are designed to highlight a specific venue or theme and appeal to a particular wedding niche. They are usually very well decorated and offer more menu samplings than a tradeshow. Boutique style shows are very popular, and we’re seeing more pop up each year. Once you’ve attended one, you’ll understand the buzz.
Last but not least, we have open houses and events. Venues typically hold a few open houses per year. Couples can come to tour the facility and meet with the venue’s preferred vendors. This is a great way to see how the facility looks when it’s set up for an event and sample from the venues’ menu. If you have a venue you are very interested in, we highly recommend attending one of their open houses to see everything in action!
Source: Weddings In Woodinville via Jenny GG Photography
How To Get the Most Out Of Attending a Wedding Expo or Show
Research the Wedding Expo or Show Before You Go
Before you even leave your house, do some research. Look on the show’s website and decide what vendors you would like to check out. Make sure the show seems like a good fit for you, and the vendors that will be there pique your interest. It’s also a good idea to see what previous attendees thought of the show to ensure it will be valuable to attend.
Make A List Of Exhibitors You Want To See
In most cases, you can find out the names of the exhibitors and their booth numbers on the show’s website. Go ahead and look into the vendors ahead of time. You won’t be able to spend time at every booth at a big show, so make a list of the companies you want to see. If you still aren’t sure what companies, try narrowing it down to types of vendors. For example, if you are set on having a DJ over a live band, just go to the DJ booths.
Map Out Your Day
If it’s a big wedding expo or trade show, they will likely provide a map of the show floor for you online. Take the map and highlight the vendors you want to see. This way, you can create a plan of action for the day and maximize your time. You can see an example of a wedding show map below courtesy of the 2022 Seattle Wedding Show!
Source: Seattle Wedding Show
Wedding shows, especially the large ones like expos, are in massive convention centers. There will be rows and rows of vendors and a lot of ground to cover. You’ll be walking and on your feet all day, so comfortable shoes are a must. Additionally, the temperature could fluctuate, so dress in layers so you can adjust if the venue gets hot or cold. You want to stay focused on checking out vendors, not how much your feet hurt!
Source: Weddings In Woodinville
Don’t Go Alone!
Bring along your partner or best friend. It will make the day more fun having someone supportive by your side. They’ll be able to offer you their perspectives and keep you from getting overwhelmed. Plus, it’s fun bouncing ideas off each other!
Give Yourself Time
Wedding expos and shows are packed with information and unique vendors to see. To make the most of your experience, give yourself time. If you are attending a large wedding show, make a day of it! Plan at least 2-3 hours to attend for any other show type. If you are attending a two-day show, check if your ticket is valid on both days. For example, the Seattle Wedding Show allows you to come back the second day for free, which will enable you to give yourself a break and move at a more leisurely pace!
Take Pictures and Notes
You will be meeting with a lot of vendors at a wedding show! After the show, everything might blur together. To combat this, take photos of the booths or elements you liked and jot down some notes about why you enjoyed it. Then, when you organize your thoughts, you have reminders and photos to reference!
When you come to a tradeshow, it is your chance to ask the vendors questions about their company or processes related to weddings. You don’t have many opportunities to meet so many vendors under one roof, so don’t miss your chance. Asking questions will ensure that the vendor is a good fit for your wedding vision and give you an idea of how they operate.
Take the Next Step!
If you find a vendor you’re really excited about, schedule an appointment with them to connect one-on-one! Wedding vendors are flooded with booth visitors at shows, and it’s not possible to hold a long conversation or get into the details of your day. A meeting will allow you to chat in detail about your wedding day and learn more about the ins and outs of their services. Remember, vendors will be working on overdrive to get couples to take the next step and book a meeting. Never feel pressured to accept this offer if the vendor doesn’t feel like a right fit for you, just politely decline!
Final Thoughts, Have Fun!
Attending a wedding expo or show is a great way to meet vendors and see what you like when planning your wedding. It can be an overwhelming experience, but try to have fun! Taste the cake samples, take some selfies, and breathe it all in. Bring along a few friends to help you navigate the day and connect with wedding vendors. This is a memorable part of your wedding planning process so make sure you enjoy it!
If you’re looking for a wedding show to attend, check out the Seattle Wedding Show on February 19th and 20th at the Washington State Convention Center. If you do come, stop by our booth #1130 and say hello! We would love to see you!