The best thing newly-engaged couples can do is look for a bridal show to attend. These events (thank the bridal Gods and the organizers for them!) are a real blessing for couples planning to get married so, whether your head is spinning with wedding ideas or not, do find the time to visit at least one bridal expo once you start planning your big day.

Attending a huge show with lots of vendors to meet, and even more things to see may feel overwhelming. The best advice we can give you is to prepare a little before attending the fair in order to minimize stress. Here are some pre-show tips to follow:

The key word is “research”. Start by checking the show’s website for an up-to-date list of participating vendors. Found anyone interesting? Browse their websites to get an idea about their prices, experience, location, packages, etc, and decide if it makes sense to stop by their booths. This process may take a while, but it will save you a lot of precious time later at the fair.

Purchase your ticket online before the show. Not only will you pay a discounted price, but you will also avoid box office line-ups on the day of the fair.

Print out labels. Vendors will hold drawings and award prizes which require filling out sign up forms. Why dread all this when you can be practical and simply print out labels with your name, email address, wedding date and contact number (in case you don’t mind vendors phoning you after the show)? Anything that helps you avoid spending half of your time at the fair writing is well worth it.

A little planning goes a long way. Bring a notebook or binder with you and write down everything you want to remember, such as vendor names, prices, or wedding ideas. You will be thankful you did after the bridal expo.

Prepare a comfy outfit. This is not the right day to wear your tightest jeans (think of all the food samples you will be tasting), or your highest heels (sitting will be one of your last options).  Remember you will also be trying on wedding gowns, so wear something that is easy to slip on and off.

Take an oversized tote or backpack for all the flyers, magazines and business cards you will receive.

This being said, you are now officially ready to step into the bridal arena and come out as a winner. Whether it’s bringing home a fantastic prize, gathering lots of wedding ideas, or finding your ideal Minneapolis/St Paul wedding vendors, you win anyway.