This past weekend I took a break from homework and took a step into some new territory- bridal shows! I attended the Fort Worth Bridal Show on Sunday, February 1 in downtown Fort Worth. The event was put on by Bridal Shows Inc and was located at the Fort Worth Convention Center. I naturally wouldn’t be my wedding-obsessed self without spending three hours at the show, so I had fun and learned a lot along the way. Here is a recap of the wedding-filled day!
Why did I attend a bridal show?
Because I love weddings, obviously! Of course I am not a bride-to-be (yet!), but I still wanted to take a step outside of my comfort zone to check out the event. Since I am so passionate about the wedding industry, I thought it would be fun, inspiring, and educational. And it was all that and more- yay!
I also knew that bridal shows would be flooded with wedding trends, gowns, and vendors that I could learn more about (and later obsess over online, like one of my favorites from the day, George Street Photo and Video). Pretty much, I went to have a fun afternoon and surround myself with brides, vendors, and all things wedding related.
Who did you say you were?
I wanted to go in being 100% honest… meaning as tempting as it was to pretend to be engaged to some mystery guy, I was myself and admitted to anyone who asked that I was solely attending the show for fun since I hoped to work in the wedding industry.
I had no issues with this until I was summoned into a tuxedo booth. I purposely didn’t approach the booth on my own since I had no need/interest in investigating tuxedo rentals at this point in life. But, the saleswoman pulled me and I was stuck. I told her my line- I wasn’t engaged and I was just here for fun. Well, she didn’t seem to understand. So there I was, filling out forms for a tuxedo discount code for a wedding date “in the near future” because I felt bad to leave the saleswoman. I left the booth holding back laughter and soaking in just how obsessed I am with weddings… you gotta do what you love, even if it means getting roped into tuxedo booths!
What was the bridal show like?
Since this was my first show, I had no idea what to expect. Essentially, you walk into a large convention center room lined with tables of vendors who are separated into booths. The vendors all customize their booths to express their services and styles. I unfortunately couldn’t take photos inside the show, but I will you tell you some booths were very cute (think white picket fences, colorful tables, and large photo boards).
Once you entered, attendees had the freedom to visit as many booths as they chose. I did a few laps around the venue to make sure I at least saw every booth, even if I didn’t chat with the vendors.
Vendors at this show included: wedding venue locations, caterers, bakeries (hello free cake samples!), planners, photographers, DJs/bands, tuxedo and men’s wear stations, and luxury car services.
Brides spent long periods of time at various booths, chatting about prices and potential dates open for availability. In fact, almost every time I approached a booth I would get asked, “Do you have a date yet?” Of course, I would say no and explain why I was there. But, I learned that vendors bring their calendars and hope brides do too! Vendors are not only there to publicize themselves, but to perhaps secure a deal on sight. So if you do visit a bridal show in the future, I recommend bringing your calendar (and maybe a checkbook!) to be efficient with your time.
Towards the end, there was a short fashion show that showcased 8 gowns from a bridal boutique.
How much did it cost?
My ticket cost $10, which I bought online via Bridal Shows Inc. I’m sure very high-end bridal shows are more expensive, but I would say this is an average price for your standard bridal show.
What was your favorite part of the show?
My favorite part of the bridal show was chatting with photographer Ashley Rains, who owns and photographs for her company AR Photography. As I explained that I was solely there because I loved the wedding industry, we got to chatting about how she started her company. I learned that Ashley had graduated from college two years ago and started her business immediately after graduation… and was making good money! Her mom was there with her and reassured me she was able to provide for herself and business was steady.
Speaking with Ashley made me excited and motivated to follow my passions. Her story inspired me to never give up on my dreams of starting my own company shortly after college.
Another highlight was stopping by the Brides of North Texas booth. Brides of North Texas is a magazine that covers wedding trends and real-weddings in the Dallas area. I was blown away by the magazine and will definitely be a devoted reader to their brand from now on.
Are bridal shows necessary in the wedding planning process?
Of course not! Not every vendor in your area will be at the show. In fact, a lot of my favorite Texas vendors I’ve found online were not present. But, bridal shows are a great place to start. For brides-to-be, you can great ideas for what you want at your wedding. And for businesses new to the wedding world, it’s a great place to get some exposure.
In conclusion, I highly recommend bridal shows for anyone- engaged or not! Go to explore, have fun, or prepare for your own wedding. Be honest, be yourself, and most importantly don’t get roped into a tuxedo discount booth.
Have a fabulous day!