Bridal expo vs wedding shows: what’s the difference?

bridal shows

If you have started planning your wedding, you probably thought about attending a bridal show. There are two kinds of bridal shows:

  • Bridal expos that take place at a Coliseum or any other location that would not be rented for a wedding. These types of shows attract thousands of brides and tend to be very crowded; they also charge admission.
  • Wedding shows that take place at the actual wedding venues and are organized by the venues’ coordinators. These types of shows attract several hundred people, so they are much smaller in scale; they typically do not charge admission.

Over the years, AFA Limo has participated in a variety of wedding expos and shows. Based on personal experience and bride’s feedback, here are few insider perspectives:

  1. Both shows limit the number of vendors per category, so all major categories are well represented.  Be assured that you will get a wide variety of vendors no matter which show you choose to attend.
  2. The majority of vendors (except for caterers) will bring the same display to the smaller show as they would to the larger show. So you are not gaining or losing in the presentation. We have a Marketing Box that we take to every bridal show & open house, so the materials are always the same.
  3. Larger expos tend to be overwhelming for vendors and brides. After about an hour, neither could remember who they spoke to. Smaller shows give brides and vendors an opportunity to communicate in a hustle-free environment.
  4. Smaller venues tend to invite only trusted vendors, vendors with whom they worked with in the past and have established a good relationship. Think of your wedding vendors as musicians in the orchestra, the more they worked together the smoother the day will go.
  5. Vendors almost always offer specials during the show.
  6. There are always giveaways, so by attending smaller shows you are increasing your chances of winning “the big prize”.
  7. You will have more time to talk to vendors, as there aren’t many attendees during smaller shows. You can always follow up on the phone, but it is much better to have your questions answered in person.

Statistically speaking, holiday season is the most popular time to get engaged. Keeping this in mind, major bridal expos take place in January, but wedding shows take place throughout the year. Considering you will spend several months planning your wedding, why not take your time and attend several wedding shows.   You never know what interesting ideas you might come across.

This blog post would not be complete without several tips:

  • If you have a particular wedding venue in mind, ask them if they organize an open house or a wedding show.
  • If you are interested in a particular vendor, ask which wedding shows they are planning to participate so you can stop by and chat.

Every time AFA Limo participates in the expo or show, we bring a featured limousine to show potential brides; if venue permits we bring several. We see it as a great opportunity for brides to meet our staff and chauffeurs, and “try” our limousines.

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