5 Tips for Surviving Bridal Market

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I wanted to repost this for those of you attending Bridal Fashion Week (also known as Bridal Market) for the first time later this week. It's an event that has several unspoken rules and norms and knowing them will help you have a more successful trip.


Bridal Market kicks off this week, and many of you are coming in from out of town for it. Market is one of those things that social media (primarily Twitter and Facebook) makes seem much more glamorous than it actually is. Still, it's a week that can be fun and beneficial, if you have realistic expectations going into it. If this is your first market, here are some tips and insights to help you prepare:

Dress Code
For the market shows, business casual/business chic is appropriate. Jeans are too casual and cocktail attire is trying too hard. If you are wearing heels, bring a pair of flats for your purse. You'll need them as you run between shows. Two more things to toss in your purse: an umbrella and your favorite brand of protein/breakfast bars.

Cab Fare
Bridal Market is spread out all across the city, primarily in hotel ballrooms or trendy warehouse spaces. There is no main cluster of tents like at Bryant Park or Lincoln Center for Fashion Week. All NYC cabs have to accept credit cards, but have some cash on you in case you get a driver who claims the meter is "broken." If it's raining, you'll have a tougher time catching a cab, so be prepared to wait or walk (you'll thank me later for the flats and umbrella suggestion, I promise).

Know Your Place
Bridal market is a trade show, just with fashion shows instead of row-by-row booths. The designers are there primarily to sell the next season's line to the buyers from various stores and boutiques from around the world. After that, they are trying to get press for their lines so that brides will ask the bridal store owners for a particular dress, enabling them to sell more. If you are not a buyer or a highly-trafficked press source, they do not care about you this week. Sounds harsh, but know your place. Imagine how you would feel if someone came and tried to talk to you while you were in the middle of a consultation with a potential bride or groom. You'd probably be upset that they were costing you booking that client. Same thing applies here. 

Follow Instructions
If you're annoyed that your seat at a show is actually standing room in the back, get over it. Don't switch seats to a better one (they will not think twice about making a spectacle of kicking you out of the front row for the tardy VIP) and don't complain. Again, if you're not a buyer or highly-trafficked press source, consider yourself lucky to be there at all. When the photographers yell "uncross your legs," just do it. If you don't, your feet get in the shot and mess it up. These shows are expensive to produce, and like a wedding, there are no do-overs.

Write It Up
Are you obligated to write or tweet about the different shows you attend at bridal market? Of course not. Do it anyway. Market shows are in small venues and space is tight. There really are waiting lists and people who would like to attend, but couldn't because all the spots were full. If you are able to attend, say thank you by writing about the designers and dresses. You may only have a handful of readers, but the links you post do help the designers (even if they don't realize it), so spread good karma and write about them.

If you're attending Bridal Market or just want to follow along on Twitter, the primary hashtag is #bridalmarket.

Originally published October 2010

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