Conversations: Carolina Bridal Fair

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The Carolina Bridal Fair has become a great resource for brides and grooms in the Charlotte region to meet a hundreds of wedding professionals while finding inspiration to plan their big day. The bridal show is this weekend (Jan. 17, 2016) at the Cabarrus Arena & Events Center off Highway 49 in Concord from noon to 5 p.m. 

As with many wedding shows, it is easy to get overwhelmed as you try to start narrowing down the many choices out there to make your wedding unique for you and your family. With this in mind, I sat down with Pam Sossamon, the heart and soul behind the Carolina Bridal Fair, to talk about some tips for brides and grooms as they plan to navigate the show this weekend.

James: What would you say to a newly engaged couple just beginning their wedding planning?

Pam: Close your eyes and determine what your wedding looks like. When you close your eyes, what do you see? If you see a barn wedding in the spring with sunflowers, then that’s your goal. You’re probably not going be looking at modern looking or art deco venues.

If you just got your ring at Christmas, come to the show to get ideas and have fun. Then get your ideas together and figure out what your wedding looks like. What feeling appeals to you for your special day? Then sort through what you’ve seen at the show and find the personalities that can help. Personality and chemistry mean a lot. Don’t just go with price, or else you’re not going to be happy. Go with with the photographer who you’ve met and you have a lot in common with and you can talk easily with. This is your day and you don’t want to have to worry about anything. Having that chemistry and trust goes a long way.

James: What kind of couples come out to the Carolina Bridal Fair?

Pam: As many people as there are, there are that many varieties of what they are looking for. We’re doing ourselves a disservice if we don’t allow them the opportunity to see as many different varieties of wedding options as possible. Some people are very traditional and some people want something completely different. There are those who want to do their own wedding and they are talented enough to D.I.Y. it and are just coming for ideas.

James: For many, this will be their first wedding show. What tips would you give them before coming out?

Pam: First, pre register online, ahead of time. That is one of the biggest things. That way you’re all set to just show up with your ticket, get your badge and be on your way. You are also eligible to win some great prizes. We have some very generous exhibitors who donate all kinds of great prizes.

Set up an email account specifically for your wedding. You are attending the show to know who is out there and what wedding professionals can fill the needs you have for your wedding so you want to receive their information. Don’t use your regular gmail or yahoo account because when you’re married, we don’t know that, and you’re still going to get wedding-related emails.

Finally, come in with pre printed labels with your address, phone number, email and wedding date. That helps as you go through the show so you don’t have to write it down every time you want to sign up for something.

For more great tips, head to the Carolina Bridal Fair website.

The Carolina Bridal Fair started in 2013 and has grown rapidly since. It’s location off Highway 49 in Concord makes it an easy drive from Charlotte or anywhere else in the region. I attended the show as a groom in 2013 as I planned my wedding with my now wife and was impressed by all the professionals that went out of their way to help us out. Everyone involved in this show has been outstanding and I always recommend this as a great starting point for everyone starting out their wedding journey.

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