It would be great if you could meet all these service providers in one place during one afternoon, and the truth is … you can! Bridal fairs offer brides-to-be (and their fiancés) a glimpse at dozens if not hundreds of options to make their day as special and perfect as possible. And if you want to hire locally and support far East County, Brentwood’s A Bride’s Day Out is the place to be to find local caterers, stylists, photographers, limo drivers, DJs and anyone else you need to hire or consult to create a magical day.
“This year A Bride’s Day Out will feature more vendors and options to couples looking for ideas or looking for someone to hire,” said His and Her Formal Wear owner Annette Beckstrand. “We’re also offering three grand prizes this year for guests who participate in blackout bingo. If you get a stamp from all of the vendors on your bingo card, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $1,000 prize and two $250 prizes. Plus each vendor will be offering their own raffle, so there are a lot of opportunities to score deals and meet with vendors.”
The third annual installment of downtown Brentwood’s bridal fair, schedule for Saturday, Feb. 19, features 34 vendors. The advantage to meeting a baker or a travel agent during a bridal fair is that these providers will offer discounts to entice you to select their services over the competition. Most of the vendors at A Bride’s Day Out will offer 10- to 20-percent discounts on merchandise and services, so it’s the perfect time to start making plans.
When planning your wedding, it’s important to shop around and compare quality and cost of services. Bridal fairs offer couples a chance to talk with wedding professionals face to face and see examples of their work. At the very least you walk away with a business card, but you could find the perfect florist or gown during the fair.
“Bridal fairs are a great way to meet a lot of vendors in one place,” Beckstand said. “You can meet several caterers in one place or you can spend several weekends checking out vendors, so it’s kind of a no-brainer. During a bridal fair, you also get a chance to get a read on vendors and see if your personalities match, which will give you an idea of what your working relationship will be like.”
Bridal fairs come in all shapes and sizes, but the best part about A Bride’s Day Out is that there’s no entrance fee, so you can bring an entire entourage to help you wade through all the options. Some bridal fairs offer tickets in advance and charge at the door, while large expositions charge an entrance fee of up to $15, so take advantage of this free opportunity to get ideas – but make sure you come prepared. Here are a few tips to make the most of your experience at A Bride’s Day Out:
Head to a party or craft store and buy a bride button, ribbon or cap so vendors can easily single you out when a large group approaches a table.
Bring a large purse or bag
During a bridal fair, you’ll be collecting a lot of information and packets, so bring a receptacle to store the loot in and keep your hands free to explore other display tables. If you’ve got a bridesmaid in tow, ask her to hold the brochures from the places that you really liked so they’ll be easy to find after the event.
You’ll be doing a lot of walking as you explore downtown Brentwood, so wear comfortable shoes. And since the event is outdoors, make sure you check the weather report before you head out.
Bring address labels
All the vendors will want to know how to contact you, so save yourself time by bringing address labels. Add your phone number and e-mail address if applicable. Better yet, Beckstrand suggests attendees bring labels inscribed with their e-mail addresses to make the process easier.
Speaking of e-mails …
Your inbox is already overflowing with e-mails, so set up a new e-mail account exclusively for your wedding planning and keep all information and updates in one spot.
Bring your camera
Take photos of displays to share with your bridal party and your fiancé. The images will also help jog your memory about things you looked at.
Bring a notepad and several pens so that you can take notes while you talk with vendors. Write down the vendors you spoke with and what you liked most about a display or exhibit.
In case you forgot, your wedding should be a happy occasion and you should enjoy yourself while you plan. So take your time, enjoy the food, take breaks, and brainstorm ideas for your big day.
A Bride’s Day Out is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in historic downtown Brentwood. For a list of vendors scheduled to appear, visit www.brentwooddowntown.com. To find a map for parking in the area, visit www.ci.brentwood.ca.us/streetscapes and click the shoppers link at the bottom of the page.
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