By Amanda Parker
How I feel about wedding expos is a total mixed bag of emotions. Are they fun? Yes. Are they overwhelming? Absolutely.
My first wedding expo was at Twin River. I, my mom, Adam’s mom, Adam’s grandmother and even Adam (what a trooper!) went. We were excited and unsure of what we would be walking into.
Well. You walk in and it is rows and rows and rows of wedding ‘stuff.’ From caterers, to photographers, to dress shops, to roof-fixer guys — they had it all. So, walking into all of this, my first reaction was, “Where’s the bar? I need a cocktail before I tackle any of this!” After I found my mimosa, I was ready. Bring it on!
We started at one booth and walked up and down every aisle. We tried lots of cake, filled out lots of forms (we didn’t win anything, but now I get emails from everyone), and took some fun photo booth pictures. By the time we walked out of there, we each had a bag full of magazines, brochures and business cards. We survived. (And we even won a little bit of money afterward!)
The next event that Adam and I went to was a bridal brunch put on by the Rhode Island Wedding Group. Totally different experience than the wedding expo. This was held on a Sunday afternoon at the Squantum Association in East Providence (which is also a wedding venue). When you first walked in they handed you a mimosa (my type of bridal show already), and we were treated to passed and stationary hors d’oeuvres. There was absolutely no pressure to talk to anyone. All the members of the Rhode Island Wedding Group were there wearing name tags so you could easily identify them. Essentially it was just a cocktail hour so you could walk around, talk to some other couples, some vendors if you wanted to and have fun. Next we walked over to their main dining room where they had tables all set up. There was a bag on each chair with all of the Rhode Island Wedding Group’s vendor information in it. We had a delicious brunch and played games. (I love games! Adam and I both have a little competitiveness in us.) They played their version of the Newlywed Game and called it the Nearly-Wed Game — what a blast! For every question you got right about your finance, they gave you a ticket to put into a penny social raffle. You only put your tickets in what you wanted to win. Luckily we got all three questions right so we put our tickets in three things we really wanted and won all of them.
I highly recommend going to both types of bridal shows because it is a great way to get a lot of information without having to spend hours searching the Internet. While the bridal expo was all about getting as much information as possible, the second event was on a much smaller and more intimate scale so you could actually spend some time talking to the vendors. Both are fun ways to spend a day doing wedding stuff and getting excited about the big day.
[Editor’s note: Wedding show season isn’t over yet. There is a show this Saturday in Newport and another in March. For more on those, and for tips from a pro on how to get the most from these types of events, click here.]