Recap: Navigating My First Wedding Expo

This past Sunday, five of my kindest, up for anything girlfriends joined me at the Jim Graham Building (NC State Fairgrounds) for The Wedding Show 2014.  I did register beforehand, indicating myself as a “Bride To Be” (this will be important later), but had not looked into much else regarding the vendors slated to be in attendance. I received some GREAT advice from my friend Dani and various wedding blogs. One pro tip Dani gave me was to make labels ahead of time with my contact information and share them with the girls to enter contests, provide info to places, etc. I received many compliments on this technique (so cheers to you Dani!)

1554413_10201550424186207_207527824_nDo I look…excited? Scared? BRIDEZILLA IN WAITING??

I did have a few categories on my list to visit: DJs, tuxedo rentals, decor ideas, invitations, and photo booth inspiration. We wandered down the rows, taking in the myriad of pitches and hearing the sound of dollars going cha-ching. There were some food samples available (alas, very few vegan options), so I implored my friends to try, try, try away and report back!

1538657_10201550422266159_742035538_nChocolate fountain FTW!

One of the highest praised cake samples was a chocolate stout cake made by Teal Petal Cakes in Raleigh. Keeping that on the radar, for sure. About midway through our journey, we stopped to watch the bridal show sponsored by David’s Bridal. Who stole the show? It wasn’t any of the brides. It was the adorable five-year-old boy rocking his tux with STYLE (alas, no photo to prove his ridiculous cuteness but take it from me: he was legit).

1488658_10201550400545616_1743293315_nThis was one of the most highly rated dresses among our crew. Her hair is pretty adorable too!

After two hours, I was exhausted, which seems almost impossible for the extrovert. I talked up DJs left and right – from those who offer dry ice dance floor (what year is it?) to those who focus on making unique mixes to radio personalities, all I could up with was: DJs are really expensive.

1501796_10201550404705720_401710920_nSo, you want to be my DJ? Can you remix O.A.R. with Al Green?

And where were the free mimosas?! Of course, we found the Korbel table. I imagined towers of glasses with flowing champagne. Those are likely the shows that cost more than $12. We did walk away with tons of fun, reasonable ideas for transforming our vintage, burlap theme into a reality. I was so thankful to have such good companionship through this event in the wedding planning process. What else to do after attending a wedding expo than lunch? We spent the next two hours laughing, eating, and laughing some more at Neomonde Deli. I am such a sucker for all things Neomonde, especially its beet salad. Mmmmmm….

Here are some of the highlights that you may see again come September. Time to get the pursuit of crafts on….or farm those out and take on a supervisory role (I’ll be sitting in that chair, cheering you all on!)

1488874_10201550420226108_793208426_nVintage signs – soooooo hipster!

1510535_10201550418906075_1104722878_nFun way to display photos, and a much better use of chicken wire, no?

1521772_10201550394665469_818525915_nWe LOVED the “LOVE” sign – some tea lights and we’ve got this

1527100_10201550397985552_1646555914_nLiked both the sunflowers and the wood carvings used for bases

1538635_10201550395065479_58766977_nBURLAPPPPPPPPP!

1511667_10201550392265409_1282216938_nMore Mr. and Mrs. and chalkboard signs!

For those of you who have done this before, what’s one piece of advice you wish someone had shared with you? For those of you who have not or will not, what is your “must have” or “must see” when you attend a wedding?