Philadelphia Area Bridal Shows- 2014

Are you recently engaged? First of all, congratulations! You have some planning to do, and it’ll all culminate with a big party and a relaxing, fun trip with your favorite person. Sounds like fun, right? Well, it is! Enjoy the process and the destination, and consider checking out a bridal show in the next few months with your favorite ladies (or your betroted!) to get started. Read a little about these upcoming shows, then scroll to the bottom to find out why you should (or maybe shouldn’t) go, and get some suggestions/tips to make the most of your time there!

Photo from Weddingthingz.com, NYC inspiration for this year’s Bridal Ball.

Here are some Philadelphia-area bridal shows that are coming up:

Philadelphia Bridal Ball
March 30th, 12:30 pm
The Rittenhouse Hotel, Philadelphia
Cost: $15 regular priced ticket, $20 VIP ticket (VIP seating for fashion show). You must register in advance; no tickets will be available at the door. Regular and VIP tickets include chance to win grand prize. Another option allows you to pick your price for tickets (up to 2 per email address, $2.00 minimum each, entrance to giveaways, but excludes grand giveaway).
Notes: You’ll be treated to a fabulous bridal fashion show and an opportunity to win 30+ wedding giveaway items, plus a chance to win a grand prize worth over $800!
Visit weddingthingz.com and The Wedding Thingz Blog for more.

Rock The Aisle Bridal Shows, 2014
<– Schedule to the left
Cost: Free to all!
Notes: “Your wedding is a celebration, so why shouldn’t planning your wedding be one, too? Rock the Aisle Bridal shows are full of high energy, music, fashion and a whole lot of fun! Don’t miss out on the chance to explore our wedding professionals who can help make your wedding day memorable forever! Get excited for door prizes every 7 minutes and FREE admission!
Visit http://www.rocktheaislebridal.com/ for more. 

Why Should I Go to a Bridal Show? 
– If you haven’t started gift registries yet, you can learn about the registry programs (and completion programs) at popular stores like Crate & Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s & more.
– You can win great prizes! I went to one bridal show during my wedding planning process, and won a beautiful pair of earrings AND a $50 gift card to Macy’s. It was a free show and we had a blast. We have good friends who won their honeymoon in Fiji at a bridal show. Vendors pay for/bring these great prizes and are just looking for brides to give them to. If you don’t go, you definitely won’t win.
It’s fun! Looking for something to do with your friends? This can be a really fun way to spend the day together. It’s entertaining- many shows include a fashion show and some even have a live band that performs on stage. When we went to the one at King of Prussia mall a few years ago, my friends and I were so into the music that we were called up to dance/sing the song Respect on stage. It was memorable, to say the least.
– You can find local vendors for your big day and even sign contracts right there. Many options, all in one place, in person= easy. 
Cool takeaways- try out the photo booth and bring home a photo strip of you and your besties. Enjoy that chocolate fountain and free cake. Take in the atmosphere, the music and the show. Look through your goodie bag. This is fun stuff, and it’s for you!
Scoping out the venues: Consider the venue where the event is taking place- they may have a booking special going on for brides at the show. If you like it, take advantage of it! Sometimes these are day-of specials only, so if you’re seriously looking at a venue and thinking about booking that day, bring your fiance (and possibly your parents) with you.
– You can find discounts for vendors you were already planning to use. We were already thinking of getting the guys’ suits at Mens Wearhouse, but it was solidified when we were offered a special at the bridal show. Help our guys save 40% and get the groom’s suit free with 8 rentals? Why not?!

Why Would I Not Want to Go To A Bridal Show? 
– Vendors want you as a contact because they want to help you. This is a good thing but it can also be overwhelming. Giving your info out to lots of people = being contacted by a lot of people for months, sometimes years. 
You already have everything figured out for your wedding or you have a very limited budget, so going to a bridal show can be frustrating/boring or feel pointless for you.
A particular show you were considering doesn’t look great– there aren’t many vendors and those that are there are very local vendors (not near your wedding location). Perhaps there are too many of the same kind of vendor, etc. Scope out the prospects before you register, especially if admission costs money. Skip it and go for another one.
– It’s just too much money for you and your ladies to go together. If it’s a lot ($25+), consider going with just your MOH or your mom, and paying for her admission. You don’t want to put your girls in a tough spot by asking them to shell out a lot of dough for something that they may not really be super excited about. If it’s not very expensive ($5-20/person), consider inviting everyone and paying for their admission. Alternately, you can explain that you’re going and you’d love to have them if they’d like to come, but not make it mandatory. That way, everyone can pay her own way and only those who want to be there, will.
I’m finding all of my vendors by word of mouth from friends and family and it’s going great. Totally fine- do your planning your way 🙂
I don’t want to have to visit every vendor in order to be entered to win the grand prize. Guess what? The vendors probably don’t like that part either, but if it’s the way the show is organized, then you’ll have follow their rules if you want to win. If you don’t care about the grand prize, then don’t visit every vendor. Just go see the ones you want to see and move on. That’s that.

Suggestions: 
– Before the show, create an email address just for wedding emails. You can also create a free google # that is connected to your real phone number so you can filter out calls for wedding-related stuff.
– If you’re not sure of your wedding date yet, just say so. If you throw out a made-up date, prepare to get emails as that ‘big day’ approaches with offers and congratulations. This could work in your favor, but may just be annoying.
– Many shows have cheaper tickets online, in advance. Do your research. Get your tickets, print them out, know where you’re going and where you’re parking, and have a great time!
Check out the vendor list for the bridal shows you’re considering. Would you want to learn more about them? Would you consider booking them? A bridal show is fun, but you can also look at it as a sort of ‘job fair’ where you hire the key players in your wedding celebration production. Have a plan in mind when you arrive. Do they fit the bill? If so, talk to them more while you can, and see what happens. Many brides find great vendors at bridal shows, and vice versa.

My friends Jenn & Amber were the best bridal show buddies ever! 
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