Why shop the local bridal show?

Most think they can do almost anything on the internet in our world today. For the most part, technically, you can. The pandemic has proven that we are adaptable and can learn new ways to do our daily tasks. However, is this new way the best way when planning the single most important day of your life? 

As an event planner with decades of experience, my advice is to consider your wedding a ‘Holiday.’ It’s a time to share, embrace and rejoice with family and friends. Your wedding day should include shopping and discovering new fun items or ideas coupled with the more traditional ones. It’s your day – so shop, meet, greet, and get a vibe for who you are inviting to your special day – or holiday! Gather your family and friends and find a local bridal show and let the celebration of you – begin! 

1) Connection is priceless

While using your iPad or laptop to shop online may seem to navigate you through many options for your day. There is one thing it does not do, and that is it doesn’t allow you to meet face to face with your potential wedding vendors. This element is essential because, from my experience, there is no such thing as a perfect event – things can and will go wrong. Insight about the people you hire is crucial, and you can’t get that digitally. 

Getting to know them face to face is the only way to decide who is an excellent fit for your day and, more importantly, to eliminate who is not. It all comes down to your sixth sense, inner voice, or your intuition – meeting in person will help you nail down your choices. 

Broadhill Travel

You trusted your intuition to choose your loving partner; now use that same intuition to choose your wedding vendors. 

Dan Cavanaugh

Owner, Cavanaugh Bridal Shows

2) Trust – but verify!

Never judge a website by its cover photo or a business by its Instagram! We live in an altered reality when we shop online, and what’s shown in pretty pictures may, in fact, not be what you bargained for on your day.

Let’s start with the vendor’s website. New companies often use stock photos for images on their website or social sites. Chances are, those stock photos do not even remotely represent that vendor’s equipment, services, dress code, or talents.

Vendors that use ‘stock images or video’ from a third party should be a flag to you. By default, they’re admitting they’re not creative enough to make a mock setting or thoughtful enough to photograph or video it for future clients.

So visiting and seeing their display at a bridal show will tell you a lot about how they care for their equipment, presentation, and even the team’s attire. It all matters, and it’s a preview of what to expect on your day!

Bridal Show Display Emme

Wedding services are a highly personal purchase; be sure to hire a transparent company – look for an about us page, online pricing, etc. 

Billy Takacs

Vice President , Elite Casino Events

3) The power of the deal

Often, you can meet someone at a bridal show and have an immediate repour with them. You’ll want to book, your instincts are kicking in, and you know that they’re an excellent fit for your day! Meeting them in person has validated this for you.

While you’re face to face, this gives you the power to negotiate a great deal. Let the vendor know you are ready to move forward and ask them if they can offer any show specials? Ask them what’s the best they can offer you to book them right now? 

I guarantee that every vendor has something to offer to book you on the spot. That’s something you won’t get negotiating via the internet either!

4) Be inspired

I live in a historical city with many artistic souls. Pittsburgh has always been known for creative and talented people. I am always fascinated by the ideas and creations I see at bridal shows. Being inspired is another essential element of a bridal show that you won’t see or connect with via the net.

Seeing the creativeness of the souls in the wedding industry is well worth the price of the bridal show ticket in itself! How they create art in every loving touch amazes me. Seeing the shows booths, unique displays and creative ideas will surely inspire you!

Expect the unexpected and be inspired; you might fall in love all over again – with a theme, art display, or even a new cupcake flavor!


Bridal Show
Bridal show

The experience is everything right now; make sure you vibe with your vendors to complete a magical wedding planning journey. ✨️

Tonya Edinger

The Pittsburgh Wedding Planner

5) Community matters

Maybe you need a DJ, photographer, and a bakery, and you’re overwhelmed by all the choices available to you. So while at the show, you meet a wedding planner or banquet manager, and you trust their style and vibe. Now is the time to ask them their opinion.

With their years of expertise in the industry hosting many weddings and events, you’ll get honest, unbiased answers. Trust when I say wedding planners and banquet managers see it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly! The feedback is raw, unfiltered, and not paid for like some wedding online forums.

While any online forum may offer a seemingly one-stop digital shopping place, be aware that those forums provide a listing for ‘pre-approved or featured’ wedding vendors that pay to participate in those forums. It’s no different than an internet search and a paid ad at the top. It’s not organic and not based on community opinion. 

Bridal Show

6) Save time & money

This tip is common sense to me, but having 50 to 100 vendors under one roof gives you more choices, data, inspirations, and the opportunity to bundle your needs/wants together!

Such as, you may be shopping for a DJ and not realize that they also do dance lessons or have a photo booth option too! Maybe their website is not up to date, and you didn’t know that they can bundle your dance lessons, DJ service, and photo booth all together and save you money!

You would have never known the other services that they offer until you met them in person at the bridal show, but now you do! Cha-ching!

7) Let’s celebrate you!

It’s OK to be selfish, and it’s your engagement! So go and buy a ‘bride’ headband or sash, grab your besties, and go to a bridal show for a girls-day out that celebrates you! 

The whole tradition of a bridal show is to celebrate the newly engaged couples and have people fuss over you! Think complimentary mimosa’s, sangrias, free catering and bakery samples, gifts for the bride from vendors with plenty of interactive fun at selfie stations, and photos booths

Bridal show

The local bridal show is your “one-stop-shop” for wedding planning! Take your bridesmaids and grab your favorite cocktails, and browse for all vendors you need, all in one place! It makes everything FEEL SO REAL! It’s an experience every bride should have!  


Tiffany and Design

8) Collaborate with your tribe

While you’re mentally in the magical land of forever-after with your wedding vision dancing in your head, it’s good to know you’ve got good friends and family picking up on vendors’ unspoken signals. You may miss many signs and cues in your wedding day shopping bliss, and the tribe’s got you!

Your mom, FML, bridesmaids, sister, or aunt will all be fun-loving and enjoying the bridal show with you but also be grounded enough to offer raw feedback about your options based on what they saw, heard, and felt while at the bridal show. I think this is an invaluable asset!

It goes back to intuition. Women especially have that sixth sense. Tap into your tribe’s collective thoughts before making big decisions or deals! Having them with you while shopping at a live bridal show is a full-proof way to make sure your day – is everything you imagined it would be!

In Pittsburgh, find a local bridal show on lovestartshere.com or join the community experts and local brides at PittsburghBrides on Facebook!

My best advice to any bride is to surround yourself with people you trust. Meeting your wedding vendors at a bridal show will help you process who is the best fit for your day! Things CAN and WILL go wrong on any event day. The best proactive measure you can make is to hire people you know who have your back! 

Dawn Takacs

President, Emme Photo Booth