My fiance and I had the privilege of attending San Diego's Bridal Bazaar event, where brides(maids), parents, and vendors gather in celebration of love and Engagements. Brides hope to leave with a sense of direction for wedding plans. Vendors of all sorts (from pre-marital counselors to finance planners, cake decorators to videographers) offer their knowledge and services to help your vision come to life. This event is a party, but can be very overwhelming. Here is what to expect and how to prepare.

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Preparation is key

Make a checklist of required services and important questions before the event. This will streamline your efforts and give your team a game plan. Pre-registering for the event saves a few dollars and your time at check-in. Bring a large bag or a bag on wheels to store the magazines, brochures, and business cards you'll be getting. If you have a color scheme picked out for your big day, bring a swatch as you browse. 

Go in with a vision 

 

There will be tons of beautiful setups. You will likely admire many of the floral arrangements, centerpieces, arches, and dresses on display. Go to the event with a vision of your dream wedding. I recalled my vision by reviewing my Pinterest boards and bookmarked wedding magazine pages. The vendors' displays will help you narrow down an overwhelmingly amount of choices. Something you thought you might have loved may look disappointing in real life. On the converse, something you were opposed to may be something you didn't know you were searching for!

My example: A two toned tuxedo - I had never noticed how the satin finish on the lapel popped against the metallic nature of the material 
 

Wear something comfortable

These events require walking through aisles and aisles of vendors with admirable work. You will be walking, weaving through the crowd, or standing almost the entire time. Most likely, you will be holding a 10 lb giveaway tote bag full of vendors' brochures and business cards. Make sure you are comfortable so you can make your rounds! Vendors will have plenty promotions, decor inspiration, and giveaways to take advantage of. Who would want to miss that?

Do not go at it alone

Attend with your team! Ask your mom, friends, and bridesmaids to help you get the information you'll need. Communicate which services you're on the hunt for, split up into groups, and have them share your contact information. A great idea is to print adhesive labels of your name, email, phone number, and wedding date before the event. Make sure to keep a companion close for a second opinion. 

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No pressure

Notate which vendors listen to your needs, ask the right questions, and who are open to flexible packages. If you like the vendor's offer, but prefer a different style, ask the vendor to work with you to fulfill your vision. Avoid impulse decisions and do your research. Full disclosure: you do not have to give your contact information to each vendor.  If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it. 

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Know when to stop 

When the thought of sharing your wedding date sounds painful, when you find yourself avoiding eye contact with each booth, take a break from the search. Revisit your checklist and vision before overwhelming yourself. When you feel that you've got enough magazines, brochures, and business cards, head for the door. 
After the excitement passes, sort through your stack and see which vendors left a lasting impression. Some may end up in the recycling bin, some may join your dream board, and some may be there on your big day. Chances are you'll have a better idea of what to plan for your special day.

By Jae : )  

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