A model shows off a wedding dress on the catwalk at Canada’s Bridal Show in Toronto in January 2011.
Hunting season has begun! With the holidays being a hot time for people to get engaged, it’s no wonder wedding shows use January as their prime season to target those sparkly-eyed brides excited about planning their upcoming nuptials.
We went to about 6 shows all over the Greater Toronto Area so we became veterans of this exhausting circuit. Seriously, you will be overwhelmed and tired, but it’s well worth going to score some money-saving deals. Sure, you walk around meeting endless vendors, picking up heavy brochures, filling out prize ballots, watching fashion shows, and testing out limos. Everything will start looking the same. But you do at least get a sweet reward when you go to the bakery booths and get to taste wedding cakes!
Here is the first of a two part series: How to find deals at the bridal show. Next instalment will be a survival guide!
- Some wedding shows are free. Others make you pay. Some are free for brides only, but since they don’t ask you to prove whether you’re getting married, if all your friends and even your mom are conveniently brides too *wink wink* they will also get in for free. Your fiance will have to pay, unfortunately (ridiculous)
- Paying to get into a wedding show sounds dumb, but going can help you save HOURS of Googling and phone time by exposing you to hundreds of vendors all at once. You can get a general idea about pricing, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you can snag some deals there too.
Here’s how to save money through the wedding expos:
- Be an early bird. Look at the bridal show websites in advance. They often have a $5 off discount or 2 for 1 admission coupons. I have seen Canada’s Bridal Show in Toronto do this several times. If you buy online, you can skip the lines which can be brutal. (We once waited 1 hour just to get in!)
- Wait until the show to open a wedding registry. The big department stores give you some kind of incentive for signing up for a registry at the show. When we signed up, The Bay, Home Outfitters and Sears were offering $10 gift cards and entering couples into draws for thousands of dollars in appliances. If you’re going to sign up for a registry anyway, you might as well wait for the show, and get $10 bucks for it, right? And bonus if you win a food processor!
- Don’t spend a dime on bridal magazines or planners. You will get about 4 issues of popular ones for free at these shows. In Canada you usually get the fall and winter issues of both ‘Today’s Bride” and “Weddingbells” and “Wedluxe,” not to mention wedding magazines specifically for your region. These can go for as much as $7 each. Collecting these on your way out of the show can potentially save you up to $45.
- Look for the wedding show specials. If you find vendors you like, check if they offer a “wedding show special.” We were very close to booking a particular photographer, but we saw that they had a “wedding show special” of a free photo album. We were going to book with them anyway, so it was nice to get a little bonus for signing up within a few weeks of the wedding show. This bonus was worth $600!
- Look for cheap accessories: If you know exactly what kind of accessories you want, buy them at the show. Shoe and jewelry vendors often do clearance sales at wedding shows. We saw bride and bridesmaid shoes for $20 and bridesmaid dresses on for $30 (these can cost $200). So if you don’t care if you get last season’s shoes, and your bridesmaids don’t want identical dresses, you can snag a great deal.
- Look for freebies. I got a free garter, some feather boas for the bachelorette party, and bridal organizers that totally saved my butt a few times. These organizers are gold. They’re like day planners, and they have handy checklists and give you tips on what you should do, and when, when planning a traditional wedding. You can buy them for $20 at the bookstore, but why should you when you can get it for free at the show?
Anyway ladies, I wish you luck at the wedding conventions! They can be exhausting but they’re a great way to save money.
Models at the fashion shows show off everything from gowns, hair and makeup vendors, shoes, and even bouquets like this one.
Some wedding shows in the Toronto area: Canada’s Bridal Show. The Total Wedding Show. The Wedding Co. Show. The Wedluxe Wedding show, the National Bridal Show.
Next instalment: a wedding show survival guide
So up in Canada, the “Real Housewives” shows are on channels that cost extra, so I’ve never seen an episode and never seen the need to download any of the 6,000 permutations of the show. So no clue who this Kim Zolciek woman is.
However, I saw this photo in a celeb mag and couldn’t resist sharing this trainwreck dress with you all.
I assume she was going for a Marie Antoinette look, but all I can think of is that a monster ate up sheets, curtains and upholstery and then threw up this gem. What is that god awful crumply thing in the hips?!?!?! Ewwww. Ewwww. Ewwww.
I like how her dress is indistinguishable from the curtains in this photo!
Maybe she was going for Scarlett O’Hara’s famous “curtain dress” look. For you youngins, here’s an explanation of what I’m talking about from the old movie “Gone With the Wind.”
I’m sure that whoever designed the first Damask pattern had seat cushions in mind, rather than Zolciek’s $58,000 dress. Damask inventor is rolling over in their grave.
This dress takes the whole concept of “color, texture, pattern, shine” to a whole ‘nother level.
And an aside: is it just me or does this thing make her look waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay older than the 33-years-old that they claim she is?
I gave up on this blog right after the wedding in July of 2011, (I had tons of stuff to do, we went on an amazing Mediterranean cruise honeymoon, and husband thought that venting on here was just making me more upset about some stuff than I needed to be).
But I just logged in and saw a ton of hits on this blog, even though it has been inactive since August. This has me thinking that since there’s 100s of people a day coming here and looking for help with their wedding, who am I to stop helping?
I’m still going to throw in my two cents about celebrity weddings, (it feels good to snark it up sometimes), but I’m also going to try and help you guys cut down on wedding costs, and handle some sticky situations like pushy parents or judgmental bridesmaids. I will also talk about some of the challenges we are facing as newlyweds (major! Husband likes eating chicken nuggets. Nothing else. I come from an Italian family! I feed the soul!)
Too bad I can’t change the username to reflect that I am happily married, had a lovely wedding, but was just annoyed at all the wedding drama.
I hope I can be some help to you, please leave some feedback!
My friend is out of the hospital and feeling better!
We’re getting tons of “good luck” and “can’t wait!” messages from our guests!
I’m worried I will cry at our wedding and mess up my makeup, I’m crying just thinking about it (happy tears!)
What do I do to prevent this?
Me to friend who plans on waking up at 5:30 a.m., driving a long way to get to the wedding and then leaving as soon as dinner is over, which means we won’t even get to talk to each other for five minutes.
“My suggestion is you should sleep in so that you can stay at the reception longer. We’re going to leave the ceremony very quickly or we won’t get pictures. I would love to see you but won’t if you leave the reception early. I understand that you can’t come to the rehearsal, because it will cost you a lot with your new mortgage. Let me know what you want to do.”
Her reply: “I am being accomodating, I am spending a lot of money on my mortgage and your wedding is costing me a lot of money.” She actually wrote that she is trying to give, give, give, but its not enough?!?! God forbid you are driving all this way, so you probably want to see us, and am letting you know how to make it happen!
What does this cost have to do with me suggesting you come later instead of waking up at 5:30 a.m? How does my suggestion ask you to spend money or spend extra time? My email suggested you get MORE sleep and said nothing about you spending money. My email was ONLY about actually SEEING you.
That’s the last time I try to help ANYONE.
Dear every single person on the planet: I am not your personal dumping ground, I have enough shit to worry about, including trying to make you and the other guests happy. Thanks for whining, now move along!
Note to everyone:
Don’t have your wedding in July. Too many babies born. I’m not exaggerating when I say that TEN people have cancelled on us because their babies were born early and they don’t want to come to the wedding with newborns, even though we’ve insisted they are welcome.
So don’t have your wedding in July so that you won’t get blindsided.
It makes me sad because someone I’ve been friends with for 15+ years isn’t coming now because she’s scared her week-old baby will cry and disrupt everything. Sure I’m happy she’s having a baby, but I’m sad that she won’t be around at our wedding. 😦
There are 7 days to go until our wedding!
Just tried on my wedding dress today. Its a corset back. But its too big. It keeps slipping downward, making way too much of my boob exposed than I am confortable with.
My mom has tried to tie the corset tighter, but the two edges are already touching. There is no more fabric left to squeeze it any tighter. What do I do? Help!