Bridal shows are a great way to learn about vendors, but with so many other brides in attendance, it's hard to actually get any face time with them. That's why I think the bi-annual "bridal tours" hosted by Dream a Little Dream Events, in San Francisco, are such a genius idea.
Participants start off the day with a champagne-fueled brunch, then visit vendors handpicked by planner Kathryn Kalabokes, who give intimate, detailed presentations (plus goodies and discounts). Past participants have included such fabulous vendors as Mizu Spa, Cake Coquette, Bella Bridesmaid, Hello! Lucky, and Well Rehearsed. The next tour takes place in January 2010; email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the presale list—tickets are sure to go fast! —Lauren Matthews, editor, Brides Northern California