After the congratulatory remarks have subsided, itÃ.‚¬s time to turn your wedding dreams into reality. ThereÃ.‚¬s much to be done, from booking the hall to buying the gown to scheduling the photographer. With all the tasks at hand, a bride should look to the experts for advice getting started.
On Jan. 23, Cleveland Magazine is teaming up with Executive Caterers and Brides by Demetrios to bring together the regionÃ.‚¬s top vendors Ã.‚¬" by invitation only Ã.‚¬" for the Ever After bridal show at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights. The event will include breakout sessions and professional panels to offer brides tips and advice on everything to do with wedding planning.
Ã.‚¬Å"I think thereÃ.‚¬s only so much you can get from marketing materials and websites,Ã.‚¬ says Nick Borelli, Executive CaterersÃ.‚¬ marketing manager. Ã.‚¬Å"Personalities count. You can get from a show the personality of the wedding professional that you want to deal with and see if you click. ThatÃ.‚¬s where a wedding show stands out.Ã.‚¬
But when it comes to a bridal show, many brides might not know how to get the most out of the event. Borelli suggests a game plan for brides so they can walk away equipped with a host of ideas and promising leads.
Choose the Location First
The first order of business for any bride should be to determine the ceremony and reception locations, advises Borelli. Traditionally, reception sites tend to book most quickly because there arenÃ.‚¬t as many of those available as there are other vendors.
So come to the bridal show with a sense of what you want for your wedding reception. Make a list of whatÃ.‚¬s most important to you in the venue Ã.‚¬" whether itÃ.‚¬s great food, beautiful architecture or a friendly wedding planner. As you make your way around to the tables at the show, be sure to ask questions regarding your must-haves, such as does the hall offer food tastings prior to the big day? Does it schedule multiple weddings on one day? What decorations, if any, are included in the wedding package?
Ã.‚¬Å"Have a checklist, and set goals,Ã.‚¬ says Borelli. Ã.‚¬Å"ItÃ.‚¬s not cookie-cutter. From bride to bride the emphasis is very, very different.Ã.‚¬
Tackle your Vendor List
Next, select your vendors. Prior to the show, Borelli recommends brides make a list of every type of vendor she plans to use on her special day. From there, prioritize the vendor list, assigning them an importance value from one to five. For the top priorities, a bride will most likely want to fill these roles with higher-end vendors Ã.‚¬" these are also the ones that tend to book up more quickly. So she should work on visiting them first at the show.
As you speak with vendors and ask them about their services, itÃ.‚¬s important to get to know their personalities and determine if youÃ.‚¬d feel comfortable working with them.
Ã.‚¬Å"And donÃ.‚¬t think you have to make that decision that day,Ã.‚¬ reminds Borelli. Ã.‚¬Å"Give it some thought and really think about personalities.Ã.‚¬
Ask Questions and Prepare to Plan
Lastly, make sure when you leave the show, youÃ.‚¬re prepared to plan your big event. DonÃ.‚¬t expect to complete all your planning at the show. While working the room, take notes to reference later, collect business cards and any special promotions a vendor may offer to bridal-show attendants.
Remember, thereÃ.‚¬s a lot of expertise and knowledge to be tapped at bridal shows. Take advantage of it and ask questions. These vendors have been through hundreds of weddings. In fact, some may have even worked with your reception site and could share their experiences.
Ã.‚¬Å"We have so much knowledge because we do this time and time again, and the brides, they donÃ.‚¬t have any; thereÃ.‚¬s such a deficit,Ã.‚¬ Borelli says. Ã.‚¬Å"A bride has to make sure she learns something that makes her feel less stressed out and more comfortable with the process. Being able to make these brides feel a little bit more calm Ã.‚¬¦ everyone benefits.Ã.‚¬
When: Jan. 23, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Who: Hosted by Cleveland Magazine,
Executive Caterers and Brides by Demetrios
Youngstown-native-turned-global-fashion-designer Demetrios James Elias will be on-site to answer all your questions about the latest trends and fashions in bridal gowns. Plus, he will host a fashion show featuring 2011 bridal gowns and hold breakout sessions to offer brides tips and advice on looking their best on that special day.
Ã.‚¬Å"Brides should go into my show with an open mind,Ã.‚¬ Elias advises. Ã.‚¬Å"She should look for something that complements her figure and she would be very comfortable in.
Ã.‚¬Å"In my collection this year, the dresses are not only for the modern bride; we have some traditional, some contemporary and some classic,Ã.‚¬ Elias says. Ã.‚¬Å"For 2011, we have a lot of dresses with flowers and ribbons with a lot of layers of fabric, like organza and tulle.Ã.‚¬
Demetrios owns and manages 23 bridal boutiques and operations throughout the world, including Brides by Demetrios at Legacy Village, and is the recipient of several awards and recognitions for his fashion and design excellence.