How to Survive a Bridal Fair

It may have been Valentine’s day, it may have been on summer vacation or in Central Park, NY but you got engaged this year. You’ve done a bit of planning, and while you were hiding the newspaper (like Marge did to Homer when the Chili Fest came to town) your bride to be has found out that there is a huge Bridal Show in Calgary and now she wants you to come as well. This is a full day of wandering around the Round Up Center looking at booth after booth, most of which couldn’t care less if you were there or not. Most vendors go after the Bride and the Bride only.


As a planner, I attend this event twice a year, so I’m going to impart some tips to you on how to survive this day, keep your bride to be happy and make it out alive.

Comfort And Style

The trick is to mesh the two. You need to walk around all day, stand on concrete and look good while doing it. You wouldn’t wear track pants to go buy a new car, so why slum it for the Bridal Show? Project a high end image and high end vendors will be drawn to you. This is simple attraction. Vendors interview you just as much as you interview them, so put on a nice shirt, good pair of jeans and a kick ass pair of COMFORTABLE shoes. I’m not saying show up in a 3 piece suit, but dammit man, LOOK GOOD!

Versatile Clothing Is Good

A dress shirt is good, as I find that they seem to blast the A/C, but when all those people get into that space…man it gets hot. I get cranky when I overheat so I always make sure I can change my body heat quickly and whenever possible, without having to carry anything. So with a dress shirt, you can roll up the sleeves, let off some steam and this will keep you in a better mood and not overheated all day.

Sure you can take a sweater off, but then you have to carry it.

I also recommend, that if you bring a coat, leave it in the car. It’s not that far from the car park to the doors, and you DO NOT want to be carrying around a coat all day. With Calgary you never know what the weather will be like, but trust me, if your fiancé brings a coat, odds are you’ll be carrying it around when she gets hot. So leave yours in the car so you won’t be carrying around two. And avoid the coat check (if there is such a thing) as that’s just another line you’ll have to wait in.

Happy Feet Ain’t Just For The Penguins

ALWAYS make sure you have a comfy pair of shoes on. You’ll be walking around all day and standing while you chat to vendors or your fiancé does. The floors in the Round Up Center are concrete. Being on concrete for hours on end takes a toll on the feet. And after the feet go, the legs follow and then it’s all downhill from there. I usually wear a pair of sneakers or the shoes I picked up at the Bridal Centre (patent leather sneakers) I’m not saying head out and buy new shoes for the show, go through the closet and see what you have. But make sure they have a nice, comfy sole on them. Cushioning will get you through the day and save the pain in your legs when you hit hour 4. This is a big venue and you’ll be doing A LOT of walking.

Hydration Is Key

So I know that the show is on a Sunday and Saturday nights are a great party night. But this is only ONE day out of countless weekends you’ll have in your life. Do yourself AND your fiancé a favor and don’t go out and get sloshed on Saturday night. Trust me on this, you’ll pay for it tenfold the next day.

So no hangovers OK guys!?!!

That being said, the recycled air will dry you out almost as fast. I suggest bringing a large water bottle, sure they sell water and but there is that whole line thing again. Bring Vitamin water, Powerade, whatever gets you through. I strongly suggest passing on your Red Bull type drinks as they induce a rather nasty crash after a couple of hours. (And if you leave that coat in the car, carrying a water bottle around isn’t that bad.) If you do need a “pick me up” type drink I suggest those little 5 hour energy drinks they sell at the gas station. I use these on long road trips and I can say they work, and have little to no crash at the end. I think they may include a bottle of water in your “welcome Package”…but you’ll go through that in no time flat. And remember to eat as well…the burgers are actually quite good.

Take It All In

This type of event can be very overwhelming, so take your time. If you find a vendor you like, get all their contact info, make a note on it so you don’t forget what it was you liked about them and keep it somewhere safe. There is so much info passed out at these things that the good stuff can get lost in the shuffle. If you can make an appointment with the vendor on the spot for a later date, do so. Take the time to talk to the vendor and get a feel for them and the services they offer. If you take an interest in stuff instead of hanging back and moping, the day will go by faster, your fiancé will love you for it and you’ll be able to get some of your ideas incorporated in your special day as well.

Gutsy Groom Advice

While this may not be the greatest day ever…it doesn’t have to be the worst. Follow the simple steps listed above and it’ll go smoothly. If your fiancé brings other people, ie: her mother, maid of honor, any bridesmaids…anyone really. Listen to what they have to say, add your opinion, but NEVER get into a fight with any of them. You can discuss all the info you gather when you get home with the only person who really matters…YOUR WIFE TO BE.

It means a lot to your bride to have you involved so suck it up and go in with your head held high and the best of intentions. You may actually have a great time.

Simon Daykin is Firefly Occasions’ Atmospheric Designer and Groom Stylist

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