Welcome to my new “Sharon Naylor’s Top 5” list! You’ll see my additional top 5 lists at http://www.ivillage.com/ in the Weddings section, but my blog here will offer original content just for loyal visitors. And every once in a while, I’m going to throw in a FREE BOOK for the first person to write — so keep an eye out for those announcements. Your Top 5 things to do at a bridal show are:
1. Sign up for each vendor’s mailing list, for great giveaways and contests. (We just won $250 off our honeymoon by signing on to a travel agent’s list, so it really does work!) I suggest that you set up a separate, free e-mail account for your wedding sign-ups, since you’re going to get a LOT of e-mails from wedding world. It’s always best to have them all in one place and not crowding your personal e-mail accounts.
2. Bring pre-printed labels with your name, address, phone number and website, so that you can just walk around with a sheet of stickers to affix to each mailing list. Saves you time and prevents hand-cramping.
3. Talk to the vendors on display about the samples they’re showing…what kinds of flowers are those in the pictures? What’s the name of this song? A bridal expo is a great place to get new details and ideas, even if you don’t hire that particular pro.
4. Participate in audience games…yes, it may be cheesy to get up there and do a line dance, but audience members who participate in the show often get a prize for doing so. At a recent bridal expo I attended, participants received tickets to a TV show taping. At another, participants got coupons for free wedding-day hair and makeup. Not bad for 5 minutes of line-dancing!
5. Talk to other brides and grooms. Especially if you don’t have a lot of your details set, others may have done some terrific research and can tell you about that fabulous estate home garden their coordinator found for them, or a fantastic custom wedding favor artisan, etc.