Wedding planning: Shows offer help for brides-to-be
Dress, venue, photographer, baker, caterer, DJ, videographer — the list of decisions a bride-to-be has to make can seem endless. Bridal expos can help consolidate her choices. Kansas City-area shows provide dozens of vendors on-site, plenty of cakes to taste, and fashion shows featuring the latest gowns and bridesmaid dresses.
Upcoming shows include the KC Wedding Bridal Spectacular on Jan. 14 at the Overland Park Convention Center and the Perfect Wedding Guide’s Engaged at Union Station on Jan. 29. Brides up for a drive east on Interstate 70 can catch the Freestate Bridal Show on Feb. 18 in Lawrence, Kan.
Laura Stephens, event coordinator for Freestate Bridal Show, says she anticipates about 50 vendors. The event, which is free to attend, draws brides from throughout the region.
“We do definitely have brides coming in from Kansas City,” Stephens says.
Michelle Jolles, producer of KC Wedding Bridal Spectacular, says expos are one-stop shopping for brides-to-be.
“You can actually book people that day,” Jolles says.
Some vendors offer deals for brides who book that day or within one week of the expo.
“You get to actually meet people that you will be working with and that’s obviously valuable,” Jolles says.
Jolles recommends that brides who are ready to book come prepared with questions for vendors. She says the most popular vendors book fast.
“Our biggest line is at 10 a.m. because they want these dates that these vendors have,” Jolles says. “People get there early to get their date.”
KC Wedding Bridal Spectacular will have more than 175 vendors for brides to check out and offers two fashion shows during the expo.
“We are one of the biggest shows in the region,” Jolles says. “We try to put on a very high-quality show.”
Angela Smith, with Engaged at Union Station, says the bridal show will have about 90 vendors.
“(These are) the most-celebrated wedding professionals in Kansas City and they are all under one roof,” Smith says. “Definitely block off the whole day.”
Engaged includes gown sales, with gowns starting at just $99.
“You might get a really good deal at our show,” Smith says. “Have fun, take in the whole experience.”
Sharon Ivy, wedding planner with Sharon Ivy Weddings and Events, offers tips to brides who plan to attend upcoming bridal expos.
“First of all, wear some comfortable shoes,” Ivy says. “I would suggest taking no more than two people with you.”
Ivy recommends that brides come to expos with a game plan. If a bride plans to book vendors she should do some research before the event, Ivy says.
“I would suggest that they give a little forethought to what their objectives are,” Ivy says. “Once you get there it can be a little overwhelming.”
Ivy also recommends that brides attend expos early in their engagement.
“Even if you are getting married a year from now you still need to be booking your vendors,” Ivy says. “I don’t think it’s ever to soon to start researching and getting your options.”
Elizabeth Alexander, a future bride from Kansas City, Mo., who plans to wed in May, attended an expo sponsored by the Perfect Wedding Guide last year.
“It was very, very informative,” she says, adding that she liked the variety at the expo. “There is everything from photographers to DJs to limo services. The fashion show was excellent. It gave me a lot of good ideas for bridesmaid dresses.”
Whether you are newly engaged or months away from the big day, expo planners encourage all brides to check out this year’s bridal events.
“Anytime in your planning is awesome,” Smith says. “Coming to the bridal show, you get that first in-person impression.”