Have you been to a bridal show yet? If you just recently got engaged on Valentine's Day, you may not have had that pleasure, but all the Christmas Brides probably know what I'm talking about. It is the time of the year that we love, (meeting new brides, the excitement and love in the air) but can also be overwhelming for everyone (trying to talk to so many people without making anyone feel hurried, rushed, overlooked, brides feeling like there is so much to do, so many choices, so much money for everything). We get it. WE do! We've been the bride and groom but we've also been at A LOT of bridal shows in the past several years. A LOT. We have met so many couples in various stages of planning.
Some of you will have attended or been in weddings (with a few having had a wedding before) and some of you may never have been to a wedding so are even more overwhelmed by this process! While some of you will choose to get a planner right off the bat to help you navigate this world of vendors, colors, overlays, chargers, flowers, and venues, many will choose to go it alone. (Either way, we are always here to help!) In fact, before your take off to your first/next bridal show read our blog post on How to Get the Most out of Bridal Shows here!
So let's get to the point, where do you go? Which shows are the best? They are all good in their own ways. It really depends on which services you need, what your budgets are and what your schedules allow. So let's run through them fairly quickly. For the sake of keeping the field narrow, we are going to confine it to the immediate Triad and only shows that we have shown/are showing at for this year. (I know that is not all encompassing but trust me when I say, you do not need to be even more overwhelmed).
We will start with the largest: The Carolina Wedding Show. Three locations, twice a year. Greensboro and Winston-Salem in January/Feb and August. This is a large show with hundreds of vendors at large locations such as the Fair grounds and the Coliseum. It's a maze of curtained 10 x 10 booths with a center stage. Multiple vendors of each category often with "purchase now sales pitches". This is a fast paced show with a large crowd of attendees that works well for the "seasoned" bride who knows what she is looking for and has direction for her wedding. The newer brides can often get inspiration but it can be very overwhelming with all the options and people. If you did not attend this show already, catch the next one in August (but if you haven't been to a show, maybe hit a few smaller ones first!) Some of you reading this probably met us at the Greensboro Coliseum Show on February 2nd.
Eat, Drink and Be Married Bridal Show at Castle McCulloch. This show is at a larger venue every other month alternating between Tuesday nights and Sundays so it works well with a lot of schedules and because it happens consistently is easy to find time to attend. This show is medium in size. Attendees can be the same quantity as The Carolina Wedding Show but with far less vendors and a spread out open layout. Not quite as overwhelming but still multiple vendors of each category for choice (though 2-4 of each vs 10-15 of each at CWS). This is a good all around show. Still enough for choice but not too large for the newly engaged and did I mention the food? AMAZING and Plentiful food and fun prizes with more chance to win! The next show is March 17th. What better way to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day than good food, planning your wedding and an early start to the drinks at the Castle Bar?
Date The Wedding. This is a small intimate show in a completely different format from any other show in the area. It has one of each vendor actually doing their work to put on a wedding. Rather than an actual wedding, it uses models for a ceremony style fashion show. A full sit down meal reception that includes cake, dancing, bouquet toss and ends the night with prizes. This show is loved by both seasoned show goers and new brides because the format is informative, not overwhelming and relaxed. Several grooms say this is their favorite show because it includes them and they get a "date" with their bride all while planning their upcoming event! This is one of our favorites because it is at smaller venues with limited tickets so it is very intimate and we get to know the couples and they get to know us. Next event is March 3rd from 5-8pm. Definitely check out this show!
Randleman Wedding Expo: Sponsored by the Randleman Chamber of Commerce. This is a county wide show featuring many of the area/surrounding area vendors. It is about the size of a venue show but not tied to a specific venue or vendor. Wonderful vendors, good food, intimate atmosphere. This year it will be held at the local high school to avoid any weather issues as many of the venues in that area are outdoor venues. We will not actually be there but will be represented at the booth of Amanda K Events. Amanda is an amazing vibrant personality that plans/coordinates weddings. She is a wealth of knowledge in the industry. Go see Amanda at the Randleman Show on March 10th!
Venue/Vendor Open Houses and Bridal Events. Many of the venues now host their own open houses and bridal events, inviting some of their favorite vendors to set up and meet brides and grooms. These are perfect for the couples interested in or already signed up at those venues. If the larger shows seem overwhelming these smaller shows are probably perfect for you. A few coming up that we are attending are: The Longhouse Open House and Art Show on March 16th, The Adaumont Farm Bridal Show on March 3rd (day time and we will be at Date The Wedding that evening), Rosa Mae's Open House on March 21st.
Keep an eye on our Instagram for more places we will be attending through the year, as well as, your favorite venues/vendors to see if/when they will be hosting open houses/shows. No matter what show you choose, stay calm, breathe, relax and enjoy the process. Don't forget to visit our previous blog post on How to Get the Most out of a Bridal Show! Have fun and Happy Planning!