After getting engaged, bridal expos and wedding fares are some of the first places you can meet with a variety of wedding vendors in person. As much as we at Bridelise love doing internet searches and connecting with vendors on social media, there will always be something magical about attending the right bridal expo. And meeting someone in person gives most people a good idea if this is the type of personality you want to work with when creating your vision for your wedding day.
But now, with almost one bridal expo planned for each month of the year throughout South Africa, how do you choose to which expo to go to and which to leave off your calendar? How do you know which bridal expo will be the right expo for you?
We cannot say, attend this bridal expo, nor can we say, stay away from that bridal expo, but we can give you some things to consider when deciding which expos to attend. We have also been attending bridal expos in the Western Cape this year and in future articles we will be giving you a review as to how each of them was.
THE SIZE OF THE BRIDAL EXPO
The size of the bridal expo is always one of the first things we look at, most times the organisers will advertise how many vendors you should be able to expect at the expo, but not always. So if you cannot find how many vendors will be at the expo, look at the venue where it is being held. If it is a larger venue, chances are it will be a larger expo. Were as if it is being held at a venue, it can be a smaller or more medium sized expo.
It will strongly depend on your personality, who you are taking with you and if it is your very first bridal expo on if you should attend larger or smaller bridal expos.
If you are a people person and get your energy from being around a lot of people, then attending a larger size expo will be perfect for you. With a lot of wedding vendors come a lot of other bridal couples, so keep in mind that not only will you be speaking to a ton of vendors about your wedding day over and over, but you will also be amidst a larger crowd of guests attending the expo.
If on the other hand you do not get your energy from people, but people tire you, you should look for smaller or more medium sized bridal expos. These tend to be more intimate and you should be able to speak with all the vendors and more amidst the other guests attending without feeling exhausted halfway through the expo.
As we cannot write down everything in this one article, we will talk more about which size expo is best depending on whom you bring, and if it is your very first expo, what type of expo to look for. But keeping the above in mind if you and your fiancé are attending together is your fiancé a people’s person or do they tired from being around a lot of people?
THE BRIDAL EXPO’S VENUE
As we mentioned above, the venue the organisers choose plays a very large part in the overall feel of the bridal expo and will greatly play into if you walk away feeling that it was a cold and impersonal expo or if it was magical. We have attended very large bridal expos at some of South Africa’s largest venues and although the expo has a more formal expo feel, the organisers paid great attention to insuring that guests felt welcome. So just with everything in life, there exceptions to the rule.
In general, we at Bridelise mostly prefer a bridal expo at a wedding venue, bridal expos hosting at wedding venues gives a more submerged feeling, as is so true for every bridal expo we have attended at wedding venues. Because the wedding venue is already focused on bridal couples and the wedding industry in general, adding in all wedding vendors with food and music makes for, mostly, a magical feeling. Along with this, we have found that wedding dresses and grooms suits come alive in such a setting, much more than when it is presented on a normal runway.
But because we lean towards bridal expos at wedding venues it does not mean that we have not attended beautiful bridal expos at conference centres, as mentioned, we have attended very large expos at some of South Africa’s largest conference centres. We were able to make the most of one day and meet more vendors at once that what we could have ever done if we had attended smaller bridal expos. However, it was not our first expo and we knew exactly what to expect.
THE DISTANCE OF THE BRIDAL EXPO
While weighing the size of the expo and the venue into consideration, it is also important to look at how far you will have to travel to attend the expo. We have traveled up to around two hours to attend a bridal expo and it was more than worth it, but with other expos we were glad it did not take that much effort to attend.
If you are on the fence about attending and its quite away away, then we would recommend doing your research well or even contacting the organisers to get a good idea of what to expect at the expo before attending. On the other hand, if you have a good feeling and you think it will be worth it, don’t let a little distance get in the way of potentially meeting the right vendors for your wedding.
THE AMOUNT OF YEARS THE BRIDAL EXPO HAS BEEN RUNNING
There are pros and cons to both new and long running bridal expos. When taking the amount of years a bridal expo has been running into consideration, a bit of research about the expo is recommended.
Bridal expos that have been running for years could have grown from strength to strength and mostly that is the case. They are well oiled machines when it comes to the organising of their bridal expos, they know what works and what does not and they should know what will help you get the most out of their bridal expo. This along with a good name in the business should give longer running expos the chance to have some of the top vendors in the industry at their expo. So mostly, it is a safe bet to take when attending a bridal expo that has been running for a few years.
The flip side to that coin is more stagnant, they might be stuck in their ways and refuse to look at a bridal expo as a way to surprise, entertain and truly submerge guests into a wedding wonderland. They might not deliver what they have become known for in the industry and leading vendors might not want to work with them anymore.
So how do you know if you are attending a well establish or a stagnant bridal expo? Like we said, research, research, research. The plus side to researching a bridal expo that has been running for years is that there should be a strong digital footprint on the internet about past events. This should give you a good idea as what to expect. If their past expos look like the type of bridal expo that will meant your expectation, then go for it!
On the other hand, if it is a bridal expo’s first or second year, you might be worried about the quality of vendors they will have and how well the organisers will anticipate the smaller details when it comes to a bridal expo.
However, younger bridal expos may present guests with new and fresh ideas; they might have their own unique spin to welcoming you at the door or how their fashion show program will run. Vendors in the industry could be excited about new doors opening and you might be inspired much more at a younger expo. Once again, we suggest doing some research. However, with a younger show their digital footprint is not as strong as longer running expos. Don’t just look at the event created on their social media, but also look at the expo’s web page and the organisers of the bridal expo.
If their social media accounts and website gives you the feeling that you expect from a bridal show and if the organisers are industry expert, then we recommend taking the gamble and attending the expo.
THE COST OF THE BRIDAL EXPO
Finally, one of the things we look at is the cost. You might think if the expo is expensive we would think twice, but actually it is the opposite.
When looking at your selection of bridal expos you should get a good idea of what a bridal expo tickets will cost you in general, at the moment in the Western Cape the standard cost of a ticket is around R80 per ticket. We have attended expos for free and we are planning on attending an expo that is around R120 per ticket, but if the industry standard is R80 at the moment, you want to ask yourself, whey are the organisers charging more or less?
We recently attended a bridal expo for free, but attending had costs involved. We are currently based in Worcester, Western Cape and had to drive about an hour to get to the expo and while there for the day we had to buy refreshments and pay for parking. In retro spec, if we did not go to write a review, I would have been disappointed if we had chosen to attend the free expo above spending R80 to attend another bridal expo.
Although the costs of the expo could have been covered entirely by the vendors exhibiting, if the expo is free what you will get out of the expo might not be as good as what you would get out of a paid ticket. So if you are close to a free expo and you have the time, go and have fun. But if you are going to have to travel further than usual or have to move things around, we would suggest thinking twice.
Now it the expo tickets are more than what other expos charge per ticket, then we suggest doing a bit of research again to see why this could be. You might be getting a whole lot for the extra cost or you might be paying more just because the expo is so well know and they want to insure that only guests who are in fact getting married attend. Have a look at what you can expect on the day you attend and then if it fits into your budget, we would, for now, recommend spending the extra money to attend the expo.
If the cost of the ticket is standard and taken everything else into consideration we suggest looking at the cost of traveling as well as parking and refreshments. If you are driving for about two hours to get there and two hours to get back, should you then have to pay parking and still feed yourselves for the day, we would make sure that is it worthwhile before going. However, if the distance it not an issue and everything else looks like you can expect to have a magical experience at the bridal expo, than attend and enjoy!
We hope that this article was helpful, we have attended and are planning on attending bridal expos in the Western Cape to give you an idea of what to expect at each bridal expo. If there is an expo you wish us to attend, please tell us in the comments below. To stay up to date with when our articles are posted to our blog please follow us on social media and if you wish to attend a bridal expo in a mystic valley in the Western Cape, South Africa head over to our Bridelise Breede Valley Bridal Expo at the Nuy Vally Guesthouse on 7 September 2019
DISCLAIMER: The opinions in this article is just that, opinions, and should not by any means be the only reason why you do or do not attend a specific bridal expo. Always take more than one person’s opinion into confederation before making final decisions. Also, please remember that Bridelise as a team are in the proses of planning our Bridelise Breede Valley Bridal Expo at the Nuy Valley Guesthouse on 7 September 2019 and the opinions mentioned in this article may reflect our current state of mind.