Tips for Attending Wedding Events & Bridal Open Houses in Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill
Whether you are newly engaged or are knee-deep in the wedding planning process, local wedding expos and open houses are a wonderful planning resource when seeking wedding vendors. Truth be told, you could end up attending at least 1 or 2 wedding events & bridal open houses in Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill per week if you wanted to! But without proper knowledge of what you are getting yourself into, these events can become daunting and overwhelming to say the least. We are here to give you the lowdown on what each event actually is, the benefits of attending, and how to prepare.
Bridal Shows & Expos in Chapel Hill, Raleigh & Durham
Generally speaking, a bridal showcase is much larger than an open house, sometimes with as many as 100 or more different vendors! Every possible category of wedding professional will be represented, including photographers, caterers, venues, planners and more, as well as some that you didn’t even think of, such as healthcare and skincare professionals, and there is almost always entertainment and a fashion show with the latest wedding trends.
These big events are often organized by a third party, such as Forever Bridal Productions. They usually occur throughout the year, with the greatest concentration in late winter and early spring (right after the rush of holiday proposals!) Other large wedding shows in the Triangle include the Carolina Inn Bridal Showcase and the North Hills Wedding Affair. Some bridal showcases are more intimate, with only a handful of quality vendors in attendance, like the Cotton Company Bridal Showcase.
Tips for Attending a Bridal Show
Walking into one of these huge expos can be pretty daunting, especially if you have yet to start your wedding planning process. There will be rows upon rows of wedding vendors, each of them hoping to engage you and tell you a little more about themselves and their company. There are definitely a few strategies to implement if you hope to make it out of there as stress-free as possible.
1. Make Address Labels beforehand and bring them with you to the show. A lot of vendors will ask you for your information to follow up, or have giveaways that require filling out an information card. To save time (and hand-cramps!) create a sheet of address labels that includes your name, address, phone, email, and wedding date if you have chosen one. That way, you can just stick and go!
2. Bring a friend. The show organizers will give you a bag at the beginning of the show to collect all of the swag, pamphlets and magazines that you will be recieving during the show. To help balance the load, bring a friend and save your shoulders the trouble!
3. Stay Organized. You will be receiving a LOT of information at a large bridal show, so it is important to keep it all straight. If there is a vendor that peaks your interest or you make a good connection with, be sure to put their information in a separate pocket or folder. Otherwise, you could run the risk of losing their contact information or getting them confused with another event professional.
4. Take your time. The big bridal expos can be overwhelming to say the least, with as many as five aisles with vendors on either side of you. There will be a lot to look at and a lot to take in, so don’t breeze through. Be sure to block out at least a few hours so you can enjoy the experience without feeling rushed. Many of the Forever Bridal Shows & Expos are two day shows, and your ticket is good for both days. This way, you can swing by again on the second day to make sure there wasn’t anything that you missed.
Last but not least, swing by the Weddings Magazine booth to get your copy of the newest edition, and enjoy some Korbel champagne! The next Forever Bridal Bridal Show & Expo will be on August 8th and 9th – we hope to see you there!
Bridal Open Houses
There are a few key differences in Bridal Open Houses and Bridal Expos in Durham, Raleigh & Chapel Hill. Specifically, open houses are usually much smaller, with an extremely limited number of wedding professionals in attendance. Generally, an open house is hosted by a wedding venue or wedding caterer to showcase their space or their menus. There may be a cake designer, florist or photographer in attendance as well, but that is not always the case.
Open houses are always more intimate than a bridal expo, and really give you the opportunity to interact with the vendors. If the open house is being held at a venue, this is a wonderful opportunity to get an idea of what the space will look like when it is set up for a wedding. For caterers, this is a wonderful way to taste their food without setting up a tasting. Open houses are held throughout the year, so it is always a great idea to ask your vendors if they have any upcoming events that you can attend. Also, open houses are generally free, while most bridal shows and expos require that you purchase a ticket (usually between $5 and $15).
Be sure to visit our calendar of events to discover upcoming wedding events & bridal open houses in Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill that could help you during your wedding planning process, and subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get an updated list of events in your inbox every month!