Forever Bridal Southern Bridal Show & Expo ’12

I attended the Forever Bridal Fall Southern Bridal show this past weekend and boy was it intense! It was my first real experience with a bridal show and will probably also be my last. The experience itself was so overwhelming I’m not even sure where to begin telling you about it. I suppose I will start with getting tickets for the show.

Purchasing my tickets was relatively easy and they even offered a $2 discount for buying in advance online. I navigated my way to the Forever Bridal website and started registering myself for the show. While registering ahead made the process a little bit easier, I was surprised by how lengthy the questionnaire was and it became obvious that they want to know all this information about you and your fiance so they can solicit the heck out of you. This became even more blatantly obvious to me the moment I arrived at the show. I was glad that I’d done enough prior research to truly recognize their intentions in this situation and I would hate to have been a completely inexperienced bride at this show.

I decided to drag my bestie, Ashley, along with me for some encouragement and support. Looking back on the experience I am insanely grateful to her for tagging along. She did a great job keeping me focused and helping me get by some of the more annoyingly aggressive vendors.

Delicious Cupcakes from Gigi’s

When we got to the show, I had to exchange my online receipt for actual tickets, wander down a few random hallways and eventually made it to the room where I got us checked in. If you were someone who registered in advance, they gave you a sticker with the month of your wedding to wear and set aside a nice purple fabric bag labeled Savvi Bride with a few goodies for you, so I collected mine quickly and rushed into the main building where all the vendors were. Inside my bag of goodies was a free Wedding Organizer/Binder, a coupon or two and a pen. The bag was most useful for collecting things from the vendors, but then I’m sure that is the main reason they get handed out. The sticker they gave me with the bag said October, not Bride. At first I was somewhat confused and even a bit annoyed by this, but it didn’t take me long to figure out why they did it.

While wandering around from table to table, I realized how particularly aggressive certain vendors were as soon as they noticed my sticker said October; some even commented on how soon it seemed to be coming up. All of a sudden it hit me, the sticker indicated I was getting married THIS upcoming October. NOTE to Brides: Vendors equate a near date with a desperate bride. Apparently most of the vendors assumed that I was either marrying within the year or the following year. I suppose it’s my fault for assuming that I could attend a show without them thinking I’d be getting married shortly after. Even considering the confusion, I was still shocked at how negatively some of them acted when I explained that I was really just looking for ideas and getting to know the professionals available for the time being. It really frustrated me and honestly made me leave much sooner than I otherwise would have.

All in all, it wasn’t absolutely terrible. I got to taste a few samples from some pretty excellent bakeries and chatted with a few good musicians and caterers. We even caught the tail end of some contest for a Mother-Daughter dance off, which was quite amusing.

After having attended this show, I can see why most of the wedding planning guides firmly encourage skipping these expos. Personally I’d just let your wedding planner pre-screen your vendors for you and take the hassle out of it. But then again, I am biased.

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