Bridal Show || Fall 2014 || Brazos Valley Wedding Planning

On Sunday, September 21, our local Bridal Association held the annual Fall Bridal Show and Benefit where this year, 82 vendors in the wedding industry came together to showcase their trade and put their best foot forward to meet planning brides. It proved to be one of the most attended shows, by brides and vendors alike, which is always a good reflection of those involved!

The bridal shows have become fun for us on a few different levels of participation. We get to enjoy the “bride” side by guiding current clients that we are wedding planning with and making sure they hit certain booths while at the show to do side by side comparisons. Then, we also get to exhibit as a “vendor” but more importantly, assist other vendors in booth design and rentals to help make their booths look the best they can! Here are a few of our favorite reasons from both sides of why bridal shows are pertinent to planning…

Why attend as a bride?

Style – Yes, as a “designing” company, this is always one we stress! Whether you are selecting vendors or just visiting with ones you already have contracted, you want to know they have a sense of style that fits with what you are planning. Your styles don’t have to match, you just have to have confidence that your florist, baker, wedding coordinator, wedding designer/decorator, rental company, photographer and videographer (to name a few) have the ability to read your style and execute what your vision is.
ComparisonThis is one chance you get to have vendors of the same trade in one location where you can pick their brains and decide which you feel most comfortable with, whether it is that you make your decision that day or set up a follow up appointment to make that final agreement. Ask them the same questions, don’t be afraid to talk price, and use the time as a mini interview session.
IdeasYou may already have your vendors selected, or your wedding may be out of town, but going to bridal shows can often trigger the creative juices and add some element of surprise for your wedding. If you find something you love there, don’t be afraid to talk to the vendor about it. They should be more than happy to share the tricks of the trade even if you aren’t able to work together.
GiveawaysThat’s right, free things! Most bridal shows offer door prizes, hourly drawings, vendor booth drawings, and/or grand prizes that can really add up when you’re tallying up your budget. Don’t miss that opportunity!
Girls dayTake your mom, his mom, your girlfriends and bridesmaids and just make a day of it! This can be a good bonding time for all of you without being too overwhelming with opinions and will give everyone something to focus on. They can even have wedding specific jobs after attending the show as you get details nailed down.
Eat Cake!…and all other goodness! – Possibly one of the most fun components of planning any wedding…the cake tastings! At bridal shows, you get to taste multiple cakes by multiple vendors so you can be absolutely confident they one you have chosen is the one that matches your taste buds. But not only do you get to sample multiple cakes while at the show, you get to sample the culinary work of different caterers as well.

Why attend as a vendor?

StyleShow it off! As vendors we should be flexible with the way we work our style to make sure that the end product reflects the wishes of the client. But the bridal show is an instance, just like in a vendor’s office/showroom/personal space, that we all get to use our creativity and show what our personal style is which is a huge draw for clients and should be a lot of fun for vendors. Use trendy colors or themes, or stick with something traditional and classic that always screams your name. Just do your thing!
NetworkingWorking in a like industry we need to know who we are working with, who offers what services, what names go with what businesses, and be able to share stories, business laughs and referrals. Most of the time when we are all working together it is at a wedding or event, so the shows are a little more light hearted, a little less focused on one client and can typically spare a few good conversations. It also helps to know who you like on a personal level so that you can share that, and professional experiences, with your clients. We all know how powerful word of mouth is!
Meet those bridesWhat other opportunity are you going to have to be in a room with 250-400 brides who are in the middle of planning their weddings?! This is your platform! I hear people say all the time, “The shows don’t really work for me.” If that’s the case, no big deal, but make sure you track that progress. Know going in what will make it successful for you. How many bookings do you need to get to cover your costs? How many bookings do you need to get to exceed your expectations? Set goals and make those connections with the brides that you can feel are the right fit with you. It is a hard realization as a vendor, but we are not meant to work with all clients. A bridal show brings these different personalities to you for a mini speed dating session so that you can gather their information and follow up down the road to make sure you reconnect.
A day out of the officeThis can mix it up a little bit and give you a different line up in your schedule! In the wedding industry 8am-5pm jobs are not the norm, but this can help get you out of the office, stop the computer work, and get the social chatter going. It is usually a welcome break.
Team buildingThis is a good opportunity to give different members of your team “Bridal Show” related jobs and see how they handle the task of setting up, exhibiting and pulling together a full concept of a booth. There are more components that go into it than some expect and working on projects such as this are good steps for those coming into the industry. Make sure as the manager, or owner, that you help along the way and know what the end product will be so that you can give your stamp of approval because ultimately you will hold the responsibility.

To those who attended as brides, we enjoyed meeting you and talking briefly about your wedding plans. We’ve been excited to start relationships after the show and will enjoy seeing those weddings bloom.

To those who attended as vendors, we enjoyed talking with you, seeing your ideas and style and will see you again soon.

To those who were on the planning side of the show, job well done and congratulations on the contribution that will be given to Pink Alliance at the October banquet. The donation is always such a high point!

Happy planning, businesses and brides. xoxo

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Mock Set || college station event planning

What exactly is a “mock set” and what are the benefits? If you’ve ever been in our showroom I’m sure the words mock set have been thrown out in conversation more than once! We are strong believers in mock sets and try to encourage our coordination and rental brides to do one prior to their weddings. If you have heard the phrase in passing, but really aren’t sure what it is, or if one would be…

Bridal Planning Guide || Follow as it Fits You

 

As a general life rule, we are all different. This is a positive aspect that makes life interesting and unique, and weddings are no exception. We’ve worked with clients who have an extended planning time of up to two years and a few who have had engagements totaling only two weeks, so take the following as it fits you best. We often are asked by our clients if there is a general outline of what to do when planning a wedding. There is, yes, but, take it with a grain of salt and know that you are in charge of your own destination!
{edit dates, order, eliminate what you don’t want, don’t stress if you don’t fall right into the “norm”, etc.}

Eighteen Month Bridal Planning Guide

Twelve to Eighteen Months:

Discuss and define your overall tone of the wedding: formal, semi-formal, informal.
Decide on your color scheme.
Interview and select a wedding consultant.
Select your ceremony site.
Select your reception site.
Research the options in your area.

Six to Twelve Months:

Compile your guest lists from you, your groom, and both sides of the family.
Discuss wedding rings and begin to shop or design those desired.
Shop for and select your bridal gown, veil, shoes and other accessories.
Select apparel for bride’s attendants.
Interview and select a photographer.
Interview and select a caterer.
Interview and select a florist.
Interview and select a videographer.
Interview and select the entertainment for the reception: band, DJ.
Schedule your engagement photos.
Interview and select musicians to provide ceremony music.
If you are not marrying in a church, interview and select your officiate.
Discuss honeymoon plans.
Select and order Save the Dates: mail 6 months prior to the wedding.
Select rehearsal dinner location.

Three to Six Months:

Select and order men’s formal wear.
Select and order invitations and personal stationary: include maps, accommodation cards, etc.
Secure reservations and lodging for the honeymoon.
Place your gift registries: two to three store choices.
Select and reserve rental items.
Reserve bridal party transportation: horse drawn carriage, limousine, classic car, etc.
Begin skin routine and select make up artist.
Begin personal fitness routine and set goal.
Sample and select a baker for the wedding cakes.
Schedule final menu tastings and determine menus for rehearsal dinner and reception.
Begin pre-marital counseling.

Six to Eight Weeks:

Write local newspaper wedding announcement and submit with an engagement photo.
Mail invitations.
Plan attendants’ gifts: gifts for each other: gifts for parents.
Review and finalize floral arrangements and décor.
Experiment with hairstylist and make up artist: take veil along.
Attend your final gown fitting.
Select and purchase ceremony accessories: unity candle, guest book, ring pillow, flower girl basket, etc.
Select and purchase reception decorations: candles, draping, vases, candy etc.
Review all contracts and details of professional services.
Schedule physical exams and immunization updates.
Select photos for your video montage.
Schedule your bridal portraits.

Two to Four Weeks:

Mail invitations for rehearsal dinner.
Make reservations for bridal luncheon for wedding weekend.
Confirm honeymoon reservations.
Record all gifts as they are received and send thank you notes.
Confirm times and appointments with wedding coordinator.
Determine the floor layout for rehearsal dinner and reception: confirm seating chart and order or make place cards.
Confirm wedding party arrival times.
Begin process of change of name and address: bank account, credit cards, diver’s license, social security, etc.
Obtain your marriage license.

One to Two Weeks:

Pick up wedding rings: check sizes and engraving.
Final consultations with all vendors: florist, entertainment, photographer, videographer, decorators, rental company, baker, etc.
Confirm the final guest count with the caterer, reception facility, rehearsal dinner facility, etc.
Remind men to pick up formal wear and check fit while in store.
Complete the wedding day schedule.
Pack for your honeymoon.
Schedule a spa day for pampering for you and the girls: manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, etc.
Relax and enjoy your family, friends and soon to be spouse!

Steps to take After the Wedding

 

Congratulations, you’re Mr. & Mrs.! You have survived the months of planning, compilation of details, hard work, and incredible celebration with your family, friends, and new spouse. There are just a few more things to tie up the loose ends, make things legal, and get you fully settled into your new life. Read along for some guidance on what to do next and remember, the sooner you get started, the easier this will be.

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{marriage license}
Your marriage license should have been filed by your officiate following the wedding. It can be filed in person or mailed back to the county to be filed and a certified copy will be returned to the address you provided on the license. Once you receive this, hold onto it and keep it out, you will be using it quite often in the first few months to make these changes. Depending on the county, this could take a couple of weeks to process.

{name change}
This is something that offers many possibilities these days. A woman can keep her maiden name, hyphenate, take her maiden name as her middle name, drop her maiden name altogether, or just add her new married name to the last of her existing names. If you are changing your name, you will need to visit the social security office and DMV. Also remember any other form of ID that you have such as a passport, bank account, credit card, cell phone, etc., and start notifying those administrators of the change.

{say your thanks}
Be as prompt as you can with your thank you cards for all gifts you have received, which include showers before the wedding and gifts received at the wedding. Above those thank you notes, if you had anyone who went above and beyond during your wedding time that you feel needs a little extra pat on the back, send them a note. It might be a parent, an extra helpful bridal party or extended family member, or a wedding vendor who just made the day that much better. Let them know you noticed.

{cohabitating}
If you are a more modern couple, you may have lived together before this point, so this may not be as big of a step as it once was. But if you are moving in together for the first time, remember to communicate and start learning each other’s habits and patterns because you both may be moving into the other’s space. This is when you get to start setting up your house, apartment, duplex, etc. how you want it. You get to decorate and blend your styles using the fantastic gifts from your wedding registry and a little of what each of you had before the wedding. (Which can be a good and bad thing!) Again, patience is good in this situation and decorating together can teach you a lot about personalities.

{finances}
This was probably a conversation before the wedding, but it may not be a bad idea to revisit the finances. Talk about bank accounts and if you will keep everything separate or will combine, existing loans, salaries, monthly bills, general spending and budgets. This will keep you on track and in the clear with your spending.

{your gown}
Once the wedding is complete your wedding gown will need to be cleaned and you may want it preserved. Or, you may decide you want to donate or sell it. Each person is different and has a different expectation for their gown after the wedding. Decide exactly what you want done with yours after and start making those plans. If you decide to get it preserved talk to the bridal consultant that helped you with the purchase of your gown to get a direction that they trust.

{pictures & videos}
Before the wedding your photo and video vendors may have spoken to you a bit about what they need from you. For example, the videographer may need you to give them five songs to fill in for your highlight video. The photographer may need you to choose 80 images once they have processed everything so that they can begin working on your album layout. Be aware of what those vendors need and know that the sooner you get what they need to them the sooner you will have your product to share with others.

{legal, formal & little pieces}
This is where insurance, naming beneficiaries, writing wills, changing email names, business cards, name plates a work, changing your status with your accountant and all the little things come in. Look into insurance with your spouse and decide which policy fits best for needs and complete that paperwork. Once you have made the decision on your name change notify your supervisor at your job to have your new name listed on all that it should be.

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