Friday, August 30, 2013

Bride on a Budget - Part 3: Bridal Shows - Get the Deals


Last Wednesday, my mom, my lovely friend Jordan, and I went to the N.O.W. Magazine Bridal Show in New Orleans at Mardi Gras World.

Let me just say that I am so glad I had a lot of what I wanted in mind, including vendors.  It was really fun and a lot to look at, but I would have been way to overwhelmed to enjoy myself if I had gone in there without a clue what I was looking for.

At the same time, it would be good to go if you don't have vendors/ideas in mind yet because they give you SO many options!  If this is the case for you, just prepare yourself for lots of talking, walking, and looking.  (And cake samples, but that's an awesome thing!)

First, we walked in and took a picture together which was then loaded to my Facebook and printed for each of us. For free! It was great!

Then, we started walking around to all the different vendor tables.  Everything you could think of was there: photographers, hotels, caterers, bakers, a DJ, photo booths (that let you take photos!), etc.  There was a REALLY good live band.  There was even a parade!  It was a lot of fun!  We got there when the show started and surprisingly stayed the entire 3 hours without even getting to see everything.

Vendors had samples of foods, but they also had any information you could want from their company.
Most of them had a drawing or something you could enter.  It isn't a bad idea to do it, but just know that they will take your e-mail and send you things.  It wouldn't be a terrible idea to have a separate e-mail account just for wedding things. This makes it easier to stay organized!

Even though they use your e-mail, it's not terrible because a lot of them will include a discount code or special offer.  For example, Men's Wearhouse had a great deal going for those who attended, and a floral place in New Orleans e-mailed an offer for up to ten FREE boutonnieres for the men in the wedding!  It doesn't have any fine print about spending money otherwise, either!

I met one lady who is a wedding coordinator/planner.  That's my dream job.  She offered to let me tag along with her on the job whenever I wanted!  As soon as a I have a break from school to do that, I definitely will.  (You meet a lot of nice people at the show!)

Another cool thing they had was a lady who was doing free airbrush makeup trials.  She only did about 8 or so people the whole night, and Jordan and I were lucky enough to be one of those people.  Everyone else had to schedule a consultation for a later date in order to do that.  Nope, not us.  We got it done right then and there and never have to talk to her again if we don't want.

She was really expensive but offered packages for people who attended that really weren't so bad for a makeup artist that comes to do all your bridesmaids and your makeup.  However, Jordan and I hadn't even have airbrush make-up.  We were glad to have to trial there because we didn't have to waste any of our time with a consultation, and we were still able to figure out airbrush make-up is NOT for either one of us!  Needless to say, we won't be booking that lady.  Not necessarily because she lacks skill, but because it's just not for us.

So, my point with that is that you get to try a bunch of different things and get information all in one place instead of spending days on days doing it elsewhere and going through a lot more hassle.

Oh, and here is a terrible blurry picture of the parade that went through the building while I was getting my make-up done:

I recommend going to one if you can :)  This one was $15 a person and I feel like it was definitely worth it after all the info, eating, and experience we had.  Also, since N.O.W. Magazine put it on, we got a free copy of the new issue!  Which is like half the ticket price right there!

Going into the bridal show, the two main things I had left to find for the wedding was a DJ and make-up artist.  This made it easy for me to know where to stop and where to pass up.  Even though there was only one DJ there, I stopped at a lot of other booths because there were vendors there for things I didn't even know they had.  One example: a vendor specializing specifically in centerpieces. Not flowers.  Centerpiece decor.  I had no clue there were businesses just for that!

Anyway, this is what was great about it:
When you are trying to find vendors, you take so much time researching them, where they are, then try to contact them for pricing which is REALLY frustrating sometimes.  At the bridal show, a lot of vendors who don't have their prices on their websites had handouts with their pricing.  You get the prices, talk for a second, then they forget you (unless you want to make yourself memorable).

It's nice because you don't have to sit and talk forever and answer stupid questions just to get a basic package price.  Also, if you don't choose them, they don't hassle you because they don't know specifically who you are.  It's nice.

Side note:  I have had a lot of vendors follow-up with me after I got pricing, which is totally fine and professional, but some just get downright annoying and don't drop it.  It's great to be able to avoid that at all costs! And this helps do that :)

So the big idea is that a bridal show is a great source for information and deals in a quick and fun manner!


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