Tradition #2: Bridal "Things"

My finals are at last finished for the semester-I literally just finished about half an hour ago. I then grabbed a sandwich, a tall hot chocolate, poured a mini bottle of gin into said hot chocolate and am now commencing with the celebration known as "FINALS ARE OVER!"

It makes me a very, very happy woman.

Now that my week and a half of a hellish work-load has passed, I can concentrate once again on that time-consuming passion: wedding planning.

I've mentioned before about how excited I am for Santa this year (and Christmas in general-- not just the gift giving/receiving!) because I'm anticipating some wonderful wedding goodies that will help me along my way. However, since it's still a few days away (four! four days!!) I don't yet have some fabulous new pretty stuff to share. I also haven't yet found the time I've wanted to paint my alcoholic lemonade jugs, and so I figured I'd write today to you about...bridal things.

Now, I know the title is rather general, but that's because there are so many things that are chalked up to being a bridal experience. There are some necessary ones (dress shopping, for instance), nice ones (bachelorette party! woo!) and the not-so-needed, but definitely intriguing one on which I will be focusing on: the bridal show.

I have never been to a bridal show. I have been engaged for over a year and a half by this point, and although I've received invitations, heard announcements, read blogs about them, I have yet to attend one. I always thought that the pushy sales people, crazy crowds, and bridal fashion show (although I'm sure it's very neat to watch, I'm not the most *fashion forward* person) just weren't worth the potential gain.

That is, until I realized three things.
1) We have this wedding mostly planned. If I see something that catches my eye, great! If not, well-- it's no huge loss.
2) I've read a lot lately from people winning things from these little gatherings. Not necessarily big things (though I've read a few things about the honeymoon package giveaway...) but things, nonetheless- and I am a BIG sucker for free.
3) Free cake and champagne. Did I mention that it was free?

I want to share with you now, that a phrase used by my closest friends to apply to me is "gypsy"-- if there's an hour long lecture about sub-atomic carpet particles, but there are free cookies? I'm there. Those bags they give out at banks or colleges filled with useless advertisements and a few magnets? Never pass one by. Hell, if someone came up to me and offered me a free kick in the ass, I'd probably consider it, just because it was free. Free is one of my two favorite words, the other one being (if you haven't gathered by now) mini.

Free mini things? *Heaven*

So, the lure of free mini things forced me to really think about the idea of going to a bridal show. If I had attended a bridal show early in my engagement, I think I would have been sucker punched by the experience. So many people telling me what my wedding needs to be, shoving products I didn't know I needed to have in my face, the pressure-- I did not need the stress, and I didn't think I'd find it to be an enjoyable experience.

However, as a bride, engaged woman, and human being, I've grown in the last year and a half. In that time, I've learned to *PUT DOWN THE WEDDING MAGAZINE* from time to time, when the ideas were not my style (even though they were very pretty, sparkly, and enticing), or I started to question my own designs. Mikey and I have worked together to create a wedding that is going to reflect who we are as people, not the cookie cutter ones displayed in magazines.*

*not that there's anything wrong with those! They're almost always exquisitely beautiful-- but they're generally just not who we are as a couple.

So, the other day, I got an e-mail in my inbox (where else?) inviting me to the Bridal Show Expo in Chicago! Now, it's not really hard to get tickets-- you can just google the bridal show, find the discount code (I think it was Chicago10?) and get four free tickets to the show in January.

Well, I decided that I was going to try it out this year. I "ordered" the tickets, and I now have them in my possession. On Sunday, January 9th, my besties Sam, Mom, and my Sister and I will all head to Schaumburg, Illinois, to the expo.

Following the directions given to me in an insert, I plan to be armed with a bunch of pre-printed labels with my name, address, e-mail account and wedding date to hand out to vendors, like a good, prepared little bride. I don't really care if I get wedding stuff in the mail-- I adore getting mail-- nor do I care if my wedding inbox gets flooded with offers. I'm pretty sure that to win things, you need to sign up for information, and doggone it, I wanna win stuff.

I will also be prepared to eat as much cake and drink as much champagne as possible.

Basically, I'm going to treat it less as a day for planning, but a day of feeling special, free food and drink for my special peeps, and an interesting experience which will, I'm sure, entitle you to an interesting recap.

And hey, if I win a Hawaiian honeymoon, who am I to complain?



Have you ever gone to a bridal show? Any tips?

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