Wedding advice: 5 expert tips for bridal expo success
by Kate Swem

This is a post by our lovely bridal blogger Kate. Contact us to become a Wedding Party bridal blogger!

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Fall is seriously my favorite season: pumpkin flavored everything, sweater weather, and an excuse to eat soup all the time.  Tis' also the season for horror shows and I've been glued to Season III of the Walking Dead.  A recent inspired dream included zombie brides in chiffon saying "braaaaaains" to the dress at a bridal expo.  Speaking of scary, have you tried to swim your way through a sea of women to get to a vendor?  Yes, my friends, this can sometimes be the famed bridal expo experience and YOU (finger pointing in an Uncle Sam way) can survive one with not only your personal email intact but some worthwhile information if you follow 5 fundamental tips.

1. Have a Plan: When you are trapped on the roof of a high rise and the evil undead are clawing at you, should you take the fire escape or the basement? When I first started going to expos, I would sign up no matter what, without researching what I was up against.  Bridal expos are definitely fun but can be overwhelming if you 1) don't look into who will be there, and 2) don't have an idea of what you're looking for.  Take time to walk the room and see who's worth talking to so you can maximize your time.

2. Pack Provisions: Sometimes you will get cake, sometimes you will get dranks, and sometimes you will scramble to fill out a mailing list form for an Almond Joy.  You can't rely on bridal expos to meet your hunger as you maneuver through the aisles of vendors.  These are light bite events.  Make sure you eat lunch beforehand so you aren't stuffing mini parfaits in your purse.

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3. Technology: That extra bright flashlight on your phone will come in handy in those underground tunnels.  Your phone can also act as your second wedding binder.  If you love something, and they let you take pics, snap away! I like the Google Keep app. It lets you organize pictures with cute virtual 'post its' in your phone so you can remember that sparkly sash you noticed.

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4. Know your Enemy:  Would you try to kill a werewolf with a pillow fight?  Bridal expos have uniquely different characters.  If you are on a budget, you may not get much out of the luxury bridal expo.  I find my lack of traditionalism had made the Windy City fancy expos yawn worthy while wed local stuff floats my bridal boat.

5. Reinforcements: You can't fight alone, right?  My first expo was a little rough as no one was able to come. You definitely need a friend to save you from a too-chatty chicken dance playing DJ and to take pics of your bridal journey.  These experiences have given me time to bond with my bridal party beauties which is an extra perk.

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One free final tip: After all I care about the survival of my kind.  Learn the art of hiding.  Either open a wedding email or be careful who you give your email out to at expos.  I, and now my fiance who is shaking his fist at me, have sadly been bit by the expo email list serve.  Check the fine print and see if the expo will be sharing your contact details.

*WHEW* You made it out alive!  Anyone else have expo horror or success stories to share?

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Kate Swem is a recently married lady living in Chicago. Her husband, Raja, is her blogging coach, fellow Netflixia sufferer (The Strain is now in rotation) and adventure twin. Tune in to hear about her wedding reflections and advice! You can follow her on Twitter, or read more on her and her best friend’s blog, Chi Organic Girls.