Bridal shows were one of the many things I was excited to experience when I got engaged. I had never been to one before and always lusted after how fun and glamorous they seemed to be. Luckily, my long time friend and bridesmaid, suggested that we attend Canada’s Bridal Show on January 12. It would give us a chance to see what was out there in the bridal world, meet vendors and get ideas for my wedding. We managed to find some discounted tickets on Groupon and only paid $12 to get in! Honestly, websites like Groupon are a total hack for brides. Never pay full price for things like attending a bridal show when you don’t need to. Every dollar counts!
This year, Canada’s Bridal Show was at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. It’s a super big and lovely space, exactly where you’d want an exhibition like this to be held. The first thing we did upon arriving was to register for the event. It was super quick and easy and honestly saved me so much headache in the end. Once you register, you’re given a pass with your name and a barcode on it. From what I can gather, the barcode on your pass contains your name and email address (although I entered a bit more information at registration than just that, so who really knows). As you go through the show from booth to booth, vendors are able to scan your barcode and get in touch with you later. This was such a smart and helpful feature. It really saved me a lot of time from manually signing up at each booth. One thing I would recommend is to consider making a new email account exclusively for wedding planning and contacting vendors. It will honestly save your everyday personal email from being clogged up during the planning process and beyond (another handy bride hack!).
While the experience was absolutely everything I was hoping for – super fun, informative, and inspiring – it also came with some pretty strange experiences that I didn’t expect. All part of the fun, right? Well, at least that’s what I tell myself.
The weirdest experience happened pretty much as we entered the exhibition. To be honest, I think I brought it on myself. I came to across a huge booth for Bionyx Skin Care and spotted all the skin care and make-up goodies and couldn’t help myself. Totally self-inflicted, I know. The sales associate immediately scooped me up and sat me in her chair. After chatting for a bit and looking at my skin, she insisted that I absolutely needed her $110 facial cream and $5,000 (yes you read that right – $5,000!) infrared wand to help with my wrinkles and fine lines. Now hear me out. I just turned 30 in February and have been actively taking care of my skin for over 10 years. Do I have a few fine lines? Sure, who doesn’t at my age?! But do they need $5,100 worth of skin care? Absolutely not. To add insult to injury, the sales lady then tried to tell me that these products were unlike anything on the market (honestly, she should be on QVC, if that’s even still a thing). Not only would this $5,000 wand significantly reduce my wrinkles in mere days, the facial cream contained grape stem cells and was the first of its kind. The catch? The cream and the wand needed to be used together to see results. Well that and the insane price tag, of course.
Here’s the thing, because I’ve done a lot of research on skin care and make-up ingredients in the past, I know that there are other products on the market containing grape stem cell extract. So Bionyx Skin Care and their $110 facial cream are definitely not trailblazers on this front. I also know that there is not a lot of hard science behind grape stem cells and the claim that they prevent and even erase major signs of aging. The thing is, a less informed consumer may not be as aware and actually buy into the hokey pokey garble the sales associate was trying to sell me that day. This is the unfortunate side of the cosmetic world that I really dislike. I get that companies need to make a dollar, but there are honest ways of doing this that don’t include selling customers a pipe dream. So if you take nothing else from this post, just please remember to always be an informed consumer.
After I giggled at the price tag and kindly told her “no thank you” because, well, I’m saving for a wedding, she then attempted to put the facial cream on my face, over my make-up, without my permission. Needless to say, I had seen all I wanted to see of Bionyx Skin Care. I was promptly sent on my way with a sample of the facial cream, which honestly I still laugh at to this day. Don’t I need that handy dandy infrared wand to see results? Isn’t it critical for them to be used together. Ha!
Despite the odd and off putting experiences, I saw some really exciting exhibits and was able to get a few ideas for my own wedding. To balance all that negativity and sarcasm I just spewed, I thought I would share photos of some of my most favourite things from the show. Stay with me, I promise it’s nothing but positivity from here on out ☺
The exhibit for byPeterandPauls.com was probably one of my favourites. They had so many cute and elegant, yet simple ideas for gifts and wedding favours on display. One that really caught my eye was the baby succulent in the little glass jar. I instantly fell in love with how adorable it was! This is such a unique idea that I haven’t really seen done before at other weddings. I also love that it’s environmentally friendly and encourages guests to pot them for their home. The one that byPeterandPauls had on display came with a little tag that said “life would succ without you, be my bridesmaid?”. Such a cute gift for asking someone to be part of your bridal party. I’m considering using this idea for wedding favours and changing up the tag to say something like “let love grow” with our names and wedding date. I’ve been looking on Etsy to see if the succulent holders and tags can be purchased in bulk at a reasonable price. Depending on the number of guests, I really think this is something that can be very easily DIY’ed with a few girlfriends over some wine. I’ve found a few Etsy shops that will make their own rendition of the baby succulent wedding favour, but nothing that I’m 100% in love with or at a price point I think is reasonable. I’m also wondering how to ensure the succulents stay green and relatively alive in time for the wedding. So if you have any ideas, tips or tricks, leave them in the comments below ☺
I also really loved the booth for Pearl Invitations. They had so many intricate and beautiful wedding invitations on display. It was like a magical paper wonderland! One style of invitation that really caught my eye were those that had lace-type envelopes like the ones in the photo to the left. I think they are so romantic and elegant and would tie in really well with the boho vibe I’m going for. The other type of invitation that seems to be really trendy right now are those that are printed on semi transparent paper. Pearl Invitations also had a few of these on display, but I’m not totally sure if I’m a fan or not. While they’re creative and super interesting to look at, I want to ensure my wedding invitations are also practical and readable. Since the bridal show, I’ve been inspired and have started digging online for a design program, templates or online print shop. I’ve been loving looking through the thousands of different invitation, RSVP and enclosure card designs on zazzle. They have an amazing selection of styles and themes, with hundreds of different fonts, boarders and backgrounds. While the price point for a full set of invitations and RSVP cards is on the upper end of my budget, I love skimming through the site for ideas and inspiration. I would be curious to know if any of you have used zazzle before and if the quality of their product was what you expected. Be sure to let me know in the comments.
Overall, I’m really happy that I went to Canada’s Bridal Show. I met a lot of really great vendors and managed to come away with a few ideas for my own wedding. Like any new experience, it came with its odd moments, but at least I have a few stories to share! Are any of you planning on going to Canada’s Bridal Show when it comes back again this fall? What do you hope to get out of the experience? Have you already attended a bridal show before? What are some tips and tricks you would share for a first time attendee? Leave your thoughts below!