Happy Monday friends! And a warm welcome to all of you newly engaged readers who may be popping in for the first time.

It’s that time of year–everywhere you look there is a bridal show or expo popping up! If you’re newly engaged, it can be so tempting (and exciting) to visit them all. But if you don’t have every weekend free, you’ll probably need to narrow down the choices. Here are some of our best tips for choosing which bridal show is the best fit for you and how to make the most out of your time when you get there!

Location Considerations

Where are you tying the knot? Attend bridal shows that are in the area where your wedding will be located. If you’re a bride in Chicago planning a wedding in West Michigan, consider attending shows in the area so that you can meet vendors that service the area where your wedding will take place. You’ll cut down on things like travel & hotel fees, and get to meet businesses familiar with the area and your venue which will benefit you in the long run!

Research & Pre-Screen

Do some research beforehand. If you know you’re in the market for a photographer, visit the bridal show websites and see which ones have some vendors you are interested in. That way you can come to the show already knowing which vendors may fit your style, and focus your time on those! Some vendors will also offer discounts for booking AT the show so doing some research ahead of time will ensure you don’t make an uninformed decision on the spot just for a discount!

Style & Budget

There are tons of wedding shows out there for every budget and every style of wedding. From those that focus on high-end affairs to others that focus on DIY & budget-friendly, pic a show that caters to what you have in mind. Same goes for style–if you’re eclectic, focus on the small, indie shows that cater to brides looking for ultra-local vendors, offbeat providers and unique inspiration!

Avoid Info Overload

As a wedding vendor I can tell you that businesses all want to get their hands on your contact details. And it’s not a bad thing…they just want to be able to follow up with you after the show, provide you with more info, extend offers to you and answer questions. Bridal shows are hectic, so they can’t spend a lot of time with everyone at the show. That being said, beware of the WAY you give your info out. If you take away only one tip here, let it be this: Set up an email address that is ONLY for wedding-related information. That way you can put your email address on every contest entry and inquiry form without fear that you’ll be getting emails from 100+ wedding-related businesses long after you’ve tied the knot!

Bridal shows can be a great way to meet vendors you have already researched, check out samples, and get excited about your engagement—so gather up your bridesmaids and get out there and have some fun!