Where is the LAST place a newly engaged couple should go two weeks after they get engaged?
a bridal show
That’s right. At a hotel, with hundreds of vendors, flashy dresses, bags of brochures, and, yes, cake. Talk about overwhelming times 500! OK, let me back up. After we got engaged, I happened to hear about a bridal show right next to my work that very weekend! It felt like fate. I was so eager to jump on the wedding-planning bandwagon and I wanted Mr. Squirrel to be just as invested, so of course I bribed him with, “There will be A LOT of free cake to try.”
What can I say, I know my man well…
So off we went, doe eyed and innocent, not realizing the ambush we were walking into. It hit us the moment we walked in the door. Hundreds of women, their mothers, bridesmaids, and overall entourages, all itching for the perfect vendors. And then there were the hundreds of vendors, all hungering for my business. Talk about sensory overload. We had no game plan, no pre-printed labels with our contact information, not even a wedding date to share with vendors.
I demoted myself back to a wedding novice.
Thankfully, we found a photo booth that was offering free pictures to sample. Of course we had to hit up the props table, and then we proceeded to take some goofy pictures. Taking these pictures allowed us to loosen up a bit.
To make a long story short: we sampled food, filled out our contact info, sampled food, filled out our contact info, again and again and again. The vendors started to blend together and my new tote bag became quite heavy. At this point, I didn’t know where or when I wanted to get married, let alone if I wanted a plated dinner.
By the end, we were STUFFED and I was cursing my long email address. To top things off, at about this time loud music came on and a strobe light started flashing…the runway show was about to begin. Mr. Squirrel and I looked at each other and knew it was our cue to leave. As we hurried past the masses toward the exit, a booth caught my eye. Those chairs were calling my name. I just wished I was back in my living room and this booth felt so cozy and happy.
Image via Sarah Mac Photography
As we eyed the chairs, Sarah and Ben started chatting with us. These two are the talent behind Sarah Mac Photography. They were so…normal. Around our age, quirky, and the opposite of pushy. We joked about silly things like Mr. Squirrel’s name. They had a cute puppy, Sarah likes cupcakes…you get the drift. Again, it felt so normal. It was such a breath of fresh air after the frantic wedding craziness we had just been through. All I could think was, These are the people I want by me on my wedding day. Fine. At this point I had no clue if they even had any skills with the camera. Skewed priorities? Maybe. I didn’t care, I knew I wanted them! ***Spoiler alert: their photography is awesome!***
Overall, an overwhelming, but ultimately successful day. A few take-away tips for those brave enough to attempt the bridal expo:
- Before going, create a junk email or combined “wedding related” email address. After the event, your inbox will be swamped with crazy wedding paraphernalia.
- Print out labels that have your name, contact info, and wedding date. This will save yourself a ton of time.
- If you already have a photographer booked, don’t stop at a photography booth. You will just waste your time and possibly cause yourself frustration!
- If you are claustrophobic, stick to the blogs.
Go forth, bees! Conquer those expos! Who knows what gems you’ll find.