Bridal Show Woes…

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.


Personal photos

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:

  1. Before going, create a junk email or combined “wedding related” email address. After the event, your inbox will be swamped with crazy wedding paraphernalia.
  2. Print out labels that have your name, contact info, and wedding date. This will save yourself a ton of time.
  3. 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!
  4. If you are claustrophobic, stick to the blogs.

Go forth, bees! Conquer those expos! Who knows what gems you’ll find.


Mrs. Squirrel

Tampa, FL
Wedding Date:
May 2013
The Venue
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Angela MagnottiAndrews, Guest @ 5:24 pm

    Oh my gosh! This is a fantastic post on wedding expos. Your four points at the end are priceless and will save many brides much hassle and time. Simply brilliant! And the last of your photos, the glasses and the kiss, oh my goodness, I laughed right out loud! Love it! I’m glad you made the best of it. I remember going to a bridal show while I was planning my wedding, and it was very overwhelming. Of course, I mainly went for inspiration and the freebies! Much of what I saw was not in my budget, nor was it really my style. I actually enjoyed the runway show and would show up just in time for that.

  2. Member
    kaw2be 790 posts, Busy bee @ 6:37 pm

    We went to one bridal show and it was pretty small but I was SO overwhelmed and uncomfortable. We do have a wedding specific email and it’s one of the best things we did!

  3. bat Bee
    bat 285 posts, Helper bee @ 7:14 pm

    That’s so cool that despite how stressful it was at first that you ultimately found a really great vendor! Good for you! I never went to any bridal shows but since our budget is so small I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford most of the vendors at most shows to begin with and being bombarded by them might just stress me out more!!

  4. Member
    alleycat 661 posts, Busy bee @ 7:17 pm

    I’ve been married for over six months and I STILL get emails every day in my wedding email account. No, I don’t need flowers, I’m already married!

  5. mstoadstool Bee
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:08 pm

    I never took the Mr. to a bridal show, I actually attended two just by myself and it was great cause when a vendor turned pushy I could always say “I have to consult my fiance” and leave.

  6. mink Bee
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:26 am

    I went to a few “cattle call” type bridal expos and a one smaller, more local one. When I posted about using throw-away info on the inquiry cards at the massive bridal expos, people freaked out…but I stand by that practice.

    Be stingy with your contact information. The spam never ends, even if you write on the card that you are getting married the very next day.

  7. mink Bee
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:31 am

    I should add that the people who freaked out were people who put on wedding expos. They make their money by selling our contact information.

    I only gave my contact info to vendors I really, really liked. I didn’t give it to the registration desk, which shares your info with anyone they want to.

  8. Member
    krislynn_sd 72 posts, Worker bee @ 7:36 am

    Our bridal shows are pretty small compared to bigger towns. I had my photographer in mind before we were officially engaged, and when I brought my FI along to see some of the vendors, I never felt more like a bleeding fish in a shark tank.
    I got flagged by about 8 photographers before I finally got to my photographers booth. I couldn’t tell the other photographers fast enough that I already had mine.
    It was insane.. and I completely agree with you about the junk email address – they completely spam the heck out of your inbox!
    What an awesome post 🙂

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Kendall Leigh, Guest @ 9:08 pm

    Wish I could’ve gone with you! A bridal show sounds like so much fun.

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