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Bridal guidelines for a smooth show

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Column from the Better Business Bureau

SHOW INFO
A 40-page special section previewing the annual Bridal Showcase will be inside Friday's edition of The News-Enterprise. The free event is scheduled from noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown.

The wedding planning season is in full swing - and bridal expos are headed to the Louisville area in the coming weeks! Your Better Business Bureau has helpful tips for future brides and bridesmaids attending a show.

Create a new email just for the show. Whether you are pre-registering or signing up at the door, it is a good idea to create a new email for wedding vendor communication. This allows the bride to keep track of all of the special offers and electronic newsletters she likely will receive after attending the show. This also can help reduce high volume of email in your personal inbox.

Take a notebook or pad and pen. As you walk around the show, you may see something you hadn’t thought of or you may want the name of the designer of a wedding gown during the fashion show. Bring something to write with because you may get home and have forgotten everything you wanted to remember.

Ask the right questions. Before falling in love with a vendor and their services, ask if the company is available for your wedding date. Also ask whether the special packages and pricing being offered are available after the show and remember to get a list of references.

Bring someone you trust. BBB recommends taking someone to the expo that is not as emotionally and financially connected to the wedding planning as the bride. This individual may provide a different, yet helpful, perspective when talking with vendors and visiting booths.

Research the vendor before signing a contract. The goal of a bridal expo vendor is to make connections, get exposure, and attract the right brides for their services. However, it is crucial to know the company’s track record by taking the time to do follow up research on their reputation in the industry. Start by reading the vendor’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org.

Get all sales promises in writing. Written contracts should include specific dates, products, prices, name brands, etc. and be signed by all parties involved. Cancellation policies should be included in the contracts.

Pay with a credit card. They offer consumers added protection in the event of a problem, because you can dispute the charges. Checks and cash don’t offer this protection.

Set a budget. And stuck to it.

Cathy Williamson is manager of the Lincoln Trail branch of the Better Business Bureau.