The Seattle Wedding Show opens tomorrow and literally thousands of brides will descend on the Seattle Convention center as wedding planning season moves into full swing for the year. As a Seattle wedding photographer with 17 years of professional photography experience under my belt and at least (if not more) wedding shows I’ve participated in as a vendor and a bride, I know a thing or two about how to make the most of this two day planning extravaganza. Here’s some tips that will help you make the most out of your time at the Seattle Wedding Show.

Wedding Show Do’s:


  1. Pre-purchase your ticket. Visit the Seattle Wedding Show’s website now to do so. This saves time and gets you in the door before the crowds.
  2. Pick up a Resource guide from a vendor like Macy’s, or online and map out your plan of attack. It’s best to consider what vendors you are in need of and plan time to talk to people at each booth in that category. There are over 400 vendors, 5 fashion shows over the two days, a gown sale, a grand prize giveaway, and thousands of dollars in discounts available. Basically, everything you could ever need to plan your wedding is here, under one very large roof. For example: if I was newly engaged and looking for a venue I would review the list of exhibitors 79-ijphoto-seattle-wedding-photographer-reception_107(see page 6 for Banquet and Event Facilities) find the ones I was interested in, (website are listed for all vendors here,) then highlight their booth number on the map (page 5). As I walked through the show I would make a special point to visit these vendors.
  3. Have a list of questions for the vendors you need ready to go. Good questions include: Are you available for my wedding date? What will my experience with your company be like? What do your packages include? Do you have travel fees? What do I need to book? The vendors won’t bite, so don’t be afraid to ask anything you need to know. Having questions ready will help keep you on track so you get what you’re looking for and avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  4. Visit the gown sale. This is a total no brainer, right? I suggest doing this early on Saturday (starts at 9:30am) for the best selection. Where else can you see dresses from 5 amazing shops at once? Plus there is the possibility of sample discounts and access to knowledgeable consultants. If you don’t see what you’re looking for you can visit the fashion shows, Saturday 11:30am, 1:30, 3:30, Sunday 12:30, 3:30 to see the selection and newest trends from 14 different bridal salons. Make sure to take notes on what you like so you can visit these shops later and try on those dream dresses! Insider tip: while there is seating for 1000, it fills up fast, so bring a friend along to save some seats while you talk to vendors!
  5. Come both days! As you exit the show make sure to get your hand stamped for re-entry. The savviest of brides spend Saturday getting information from their favorite vendors, narrow down their favorites to visit again, and then come back Sunday to book, set up consultations, and ask any questions they forgot.

Finally here’s a list of don’ts:

  1. 58-ijphoto-seattle-wedding-photographer-56Don’t bring anyone who isn’t 100% into the experience. If your fiance’ would rather watch the game, let him. You can fill him in afterward with what you learned. Same is true for bridesmaids. If she doesn’t know the difference between sage green, mint green, and aqua, she’s going to drag her feet and be a distraction. Remember, you are on a mission!
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast. There will be lots of cake to sample, and chocolates to snack on. The last thing you need during a marathon is a sugar crash.78-ijphoto-seattle-wedding-photographer-reception_106
  3. Get through the whole show. You never know, the perfect thing might be hiding around the corner, so don’t give up!
  4. Don’t avoid talking to the vendors. Remember they have spent a ton of money and time prepping to help girls just like you! They understand that not everyone needs their services and are just trying to make sure you get what you need. I have seen it time a
    nd time again, brides looking down long rows of booths with a deer in the headlights kind of stare. While it might be annoying to be asked over and over, “when’s your wedding?” or “do you need a DJ?” They are simply trying to meet your wedding needs. If you don’t need a service, simply say, “No thank you”.
  5. Most of all don’t stress yourself out! Yes, you might have to adjust your budget. No, you might not need 13 bridesmaids after all. The Seattle Wedding Show is basically a one stop wedding planning shop and that can be a lot to take in at once. But if you are organized, and willing to try new things, you might find exactly what you’ve been dreaming of.

Good luck ladies! May all of your wedding wishes become reality!