Yesterday, I posted 25 tips to help you make the most of attending a bridal show. In that post, I encouraged brides to bring a list of questions. If you aren’t sure what to ask, that’s perfectly okay! Here are twelve great questions – some hard-hitting! – to ask when meeting vendors at your local bridal show.

“Are you available for my wedding date?”
It may seem obvious, but this is the very first question you should ask; especially at larger shows with hundreds of vendors exhibiting. If the vendor is already booked, it’ll save both of you a lot of valuable time.

“Have you worked at my venue before?”
If they have, great! Follow up with them and ask them about room layout ideas and other advice they would recommend based off your venue. If the vendor has yet to work at your venue, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If they mention doing a site visit with you at some point during the months leading up to your wedding day, that’s a great answer to look for as well.

“Will you be the person I work with? If not, can I meet them before signing a contract?”
Some booths are staffed with employees, past clients, and even hired help for that weekend’s bridal show. If the answer to the first question is no, the second answers needs to be yes. If that person is present at the booth, ask to be introduced to them.

“What are the names of the last couple you worked with, and what was their wedding like?”
Occasionally, it’s good to ask an unexpected question and take the vendor off script. There is some valuable insight to be gained from this question – for example, do they care as much as their advertising claims to – and listen carefully to how they respond.

“Is this your full-time profession?”
It may be, it may not be. A part-timer isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I know several that are fantastic at what they do – but they may not be as responsive or accessible as you may need.

“Can you tell me about three creative things you have recently done for your clients?”
Their answer will give you insight to their passion, talent, and of course, creativity. If one of the three captures your attention, make a note to definitely follow up with this wedding pro after the show.

“What does the process leading up to my wedding day look like?”
What do they do behind-the-scenes that won’t be seen during the wedding reception? For some vendor categories – like wedding planner, photographer, officiant, and DJ – this will be a lengthy answer. Is that vendor detailed and organized? Or do they seem like they will be added stress?

“What makes you unique from your competitors?”
Answers will vary from professional to professional, but do listen for any negative comments. That’s an immediate red flag. Talented, reputable wedding professionals can stand on their own merit, not trash talk. Also, do you really want to work with someone who may talk negatively about you behind your back?

“As a ____________, what is your greatest strength and weakest weakness? What about as a business owner?”
Wedding professionals aren’t perfect, we’re human, too. I love this question as it provides an authentic, insightful look into the vendor’s character and personality traits.

“What is the craziest thing that has ever happened on someone’s wedding day? How did you handle it?”
This is a great question that illustrates their level of experience. Things happen, we’re all human, but the story may help you avoid a potential pitfall on your wedding day.

“What are your interests outside of the wedding industry?”
Here’s another question that will throw wedding professionals for a loop. As a wedding professional, I love this question because it allows me to make a real connection with the bride and/or groom. If you don’t feel the right vibe, that’s perfectly okay. Us vendors want to work with people we really like, too.

“Can you provide me with ballpark pricing for my wedding?”
As I wrote in my 25 Tips for Making The Most of Attending a Wedding Show post, there isn’t enough time to find out everything a vendor needs to to provide an exact price. However, with just a few logistical details, they should be able to give you a ballpark estimate to help with budgeting. If the initial number seems expensive, follow up with why. Jot down your notes to be reviewed after the show.

Photo Credit: Seattle Wedding Show.