We Were Featured On The Atlantic!

We were recently featured in The Atlantic‘s editorial “What Wedding Expos Reveal About American Romance” by Natalie Escobar and we couldn’t help but to share!

‘I was expecting to experience a lot of things at the Great Bridal Expo in Washington, D.C.: the sound of hundreds of people milling about the Grand Hyatt Hotel’s 8,500-square-foot ballroom, the smell of a thousand wedding-cake samples, the feel of polyester-blend bridesmaids’ gowns, the sight of dozens of vendors’ booths lined up on patterned carpet. I was not, however, expecting an open bar, or a booth raffling off a free boudoir photo shoot, or a free bottle of barbecue sauce from a catering restaurant.

The vendors I spoke with (when they weren’t inundated by bridal parties) told me that companies give away lots of free things at these kinds of events—some, like cake samples, that make sense, and others, like barbecue sauce, whose relevance for wedding planning is less clear. For their $10 entrance fee, couples get bags filled with wedding magazines and coupons at the front door, but also access to free samples, dance lessons, and even stays in hotel rooms from vendors. Geren Gatling, a marketer who was representing a vacation-rental company at the expo, said he goes to bridal expos all over the D.C. area. “They didn’t have these when I was getting married,” he said. “But I would definitely come to one of these to gather information.”’

 

 

To read the entire article here!

The 2019 Wedding Cake Trends You Need to Know

Anything can inspire the style of your wedding cake, from tall towers to pretty flowers that match your color scheme, your wedding cake is one more way to add something spectacular to your special day. That’s where these 2019 wedding cake trends come into play! These are five of our favorite cake trends of the year and they’re bound to give you the inspiration you’ve been looking for. Maybe you can have your cake and eat it too after all!

Geometric Shapes

Eccentric cakes shapes have been an emerging trend in the wedding industry – after all, millennials go after the look of something extraordinary and abstract, including their wedding cakes!  Is a geometric shaped cake the one thing missing in your planning to match the rest of your modern, romantic wedding? Think sharp angles with hints of color. Give your baker a challenge, your guests will be in awe and you’ll probably go down in history as the edgiest and most creative newlyweds!

Black Cakes

Everyone knows black goes with everything, so is it really a surprise black cakes are in? This black fondant cake trend is one of the best to go for if you’re getting married in fall or winter this year! A black wedding cake feels sophisticated and surprisingly goes with pretty much every color palette you can dream of for your wedding. Is a full black cake a little too dramatic or edgy for you? No worries, tone it down with softer details such as fresh flowers, drip icing, or pastel colors. And if you’re totally loving the look, glamour it up a bit with metallic accents!

Hand Painted

One of the most popular cake trends in 2019 are hand painted cakes – this trend opens doors for all kinds of styles and themes. From abstract brushstrokes, watercolor flowers and tile-inspired prints, express your own personality and creativity and have total control of the styles! Have your cake designer bring a touch of colorful creativity to your special day by using the cake as their personal canvas.

Foliage

There will probably never be a time when floral arrangements on cakes aren’t trendy, and as long as couples continue to focus on more greenery and foliage for their flowers and wedding decor, it’s only right to start adding those greens to their beautiful wedding cakes to pull the whole look together. Think eye-catching ferns, rosemary sprigs, large leaves, and even aromatic herbs.

Single Tier

Looking for a unique (or budget-friendly) alternative to the traditional multi-tiered wedding cake? Consider a few small, single tier cakes. Not only will you be able to choose more flavors and styles, but you’re more likely to not break the bank for you and your guests to enjoy something sweet! Go for a beautiful display using cake tiers of different heights to create striking visuals on your dessert table!

The 5 Biggest Wedding Reception Trends in 2019

Are you planning a wedding for 2019? Gather ‘round! We’ve got the lowdown on the latest and greatest trends you can expect to see all year long. The best part? There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re a classic couple or a modern millennial.

BLACK ACCENTS

In years past, the color black was primarily reserved for formal or alternative weddings. But the tide is beginning to shift. Be prepared to see couples incorporating black accents in contrasting colorways for 2019. Think blush centerpieces next to black candlesticks or black roses mixed in a rich, jewel-toned winter bouquet.

LUCITE

One of our favorite trends that will continue this year is lucite. You’ll see this retroelement in the form of flatware, chairs, name cards, table numbers, and chargers. It’s the perfect complement to contemporary décor—and it photographs well!

VELVET

Velvet is everywhere these days, from ready-to-wear runways to home décor retailers. Now the plush fabric is making its way into the wedding market. Luckily, specialty linen companies are carrying different tones of velvet, so you can capitalize on this beautiful trend throughout every season.

MINT GREEN

Celadon is gearing up for its big moment this spring. The minty shade of green is already showing a strong lead among 2019 brides, and we’re just getting started. Consider matching this soft hue with blush, lavender, or even beige to capitalize on its earthy quality.

MIX IT UP

Forget 2018! We’ve been there and done that. Couples are throwing out the old playbook. 2019 is all about variety and depth. Expect modern pieces against traditional elements; multiple high-low floral arrangements and candles that add dimension; unusual color combinations; and plenty of texture play, like pairing lucite and velvet together. In sum: New year, new rules!

 

5 Major Bridal Trends for Fall 2019, From Minis to Minimalism

Sounds the wedding bells! Another Bridal Week has come and gone, and we’ve got the Fall 2019 trend report you’ve been waiting for! Of course, we spotted our perennial favorites-florals, lace, ruffles, you get the idea – but this season, designers mixed in some refreshing left-fielders. Here are the top five hottest Fall 2019 trends you can look forward to this year!

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

Brides, Fall 2019 is all about statement sleeves! Galia Lahav served up voluminous balloon sleeves; Zuhair Murad added puffs of lace and tulle; Viktor & Rold’s ruffled tulle sleeves gave us a touch of Victoriana. The upside? With so much focus on your gown, you can downplay your veil or skip it altogether.

Minimalism to the Max

The Meghan Markle effects are in full swing! For brides looking for a pared-down gown with clean lines and minimum fuss, look to labels like Amsale, Carolina Herrera, and Cushnie for all the inspiration you need. And expect to see a slew of classic, high-neck halter gowns that nod to the Stella McCartney dress the Duchess of Sussex wore to her reception. If you already have a look in mind, this style would translate well for your bridesmaids.

Embellish Every Detail

Embellishments are a bridal staple, but this year designers pulled out all the stops, from floral appliques to feathers. Don’t be afraid to go for a head-to-toe look; just keep your accessories and your shoes simple to balance it all out. Some of our favorite statement gowns were seen at Reem Acra, Ines Di Santo, and Alexandra Grecco. Take your pick!

The Long and Short of It

Every moment is an Instagram opportunity, so designers are offering looks for every wedding occasion, from the engagement party to the bridal shower to the rehearsal dinner. The most popular version is the bridal mini dress, seen on the runways of Elie Saab, Vera Wang, Naeem Khan, and Viktor & Rolf.

Caped Crusader

If veils just aren’t your cup of tea, consider a full-length bridal cape or a shorter capelet. It adds movement and a regal element to your gown during your ceremony, and you can remove it when you hit the dance floor at your reception. Look to designers like Ines Di Santo, Berta, and Reem Acra.

 

For all the latest bridal trends you need to know now, check out the 2019 Great Bridal Expo Fashion Show and stop by a Great Bridal Expo show near you.

The Great Bridal Expo Is Coming to a City Near You – Spring 2019

 

Planning a wedding can be a dream come true, but the process can be downright overwhelming at times. That’s why the Great Bridal Expo is so special. It’s a one-stop shop where hundreds of local vendors gather, so you can practically plan your entire wedding in one day, from picking out your florist to hiring your cake baker and finding the perfect wedding gown. Plus, you’ll have access to exclusive deals, one-of-a-kind giveaways, wedding favors and decor that you won’t find anywhere else. Interested? Here’s the 411 on all the Great Bridal Expo shows coming to a city near you!

City: Baltimore, Maryland
Date: 1/6/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor
Get Tickets!

City: Boston, Massachusetts
Date: 1/13/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Westin Boston Waterfront
Get Tickets!

City: New York, New York
Date: 1/14/2019
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Location: New York Marriott Marquis
Get Tickets!

City: Atlanta, Georgia
Date: 1/20/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead
Get Tickets!

City: Washington, DC
Date: 1/27/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
Get Tickets!

City: Jersey City, New Jersey
Date: 2/10/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Jersey City
Get Tickets!

City: Miami, Florida
Date: 2/17/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Pullman Miami Hotel
Get Tickets!

City: Phoenix, Arizona
Date: 2/24/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Phoenix Convention Center
Get Tickets!

City: Dallas, Texas

Date: 3/3/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Dallas
Get Tickets!

City: Denver, Colorado
Date: 3/10/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center
Get Tickets!

City: Los Angeles, California
Date: 3/24/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Westin Bonaventure Los Angeles
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City: San Jose, California
Date: 3/24/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: San Jose Marriott
Get Tickets!

City: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Date: 3/31/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Broward County Convention Center
Get Tickets!

How to Grow Your Bridal Business in 6 Easy Steps

While wedding season is winding down for couples, there’s still so much to do on the business front. And there’s no reason why you can’t boost your bottom line during the holiday season. Here, we’ve outlined six easy steps to grow your bridal business and get a leg up on your competitors.

CREATE YOUR NICHE

One of the best ways to set yourself apart in a crowded industry is to create a niche and “own” that part of the market. For instance, if you’re a wedding photographer, do you specialize in destination weddings or backyard ceremonies? Is there a particular demographic or type of couple you like to work with? The better you are at creating a niche, the less you’ll need to worry about the competition. 

USE FACEBOOK ADS

In 2018, chances are you already have a Facebook page. It’s time to take it to the next level. Start running targeted ads on this social media platform and track your data. There are tons of valuable videos and blogs online to help you learn how to write ad copy, how to find and read Facebook data, and how to target the right people at the right time. It can make all the difference!

ADD SMART HASHTAGS ON INSTAGRAM

Hashtags can make or break you on Instagram. You can use up to about 30 per post, and we’d recommend you use as many related tags as you can. The key with hashtags is choosing the right ones. And, of course, there’s a whole science behind it. You can learn more here.

NETWORK

We can’t stress this enough – network, network, network. In the wedding world, we don’t get a lot of repeat business. Instead, we rely on referrals. So, go to a community gathering, visit local businesses, strike up conversations, and send out emails. And think about offering kickbacks to anyone who refers your business. It’s surprisingly effective.

CREATE A BLOG ON YOUR WEBSITE

Blogging should be a key part of your marketing plan. Yes, it takes time, but it’s a simple and effective way to showcase your work to new and existing clients. With frequent, SEO-based articles, you can easily drive traffic to your website, add value to your customers, generate new leads for business, and establish yourself as an authority in your field.

EXHIBIT AT A BRIDAL TRADE SHOW

Speaking of networking, one of the best places to grow your network and your client base in a short amount of time is during the Great Bridal Expo, where hundreds of vendors and couples gather throughout the year. Bring extra business cards and get ready to work the room. This is your time to shine!

What are the Most Popular Days to Get Engaged?

It’s officially engagement season! According to a recent poll by Wedding Wire, about 40% of all engagements take place between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. And about 17% occur on the same 10 days of the year. Curious? We did some investigating. Here are the most popular days to put a ring on it.

 

December 17: If you can’t wait until the holidays or you just want to carve out a separate time to propose, two Saturdays before Christmas Eve is a very popular day. It’s smack dab in the middle of Thanksgiving and Christmas and keeps the holiday momentum going!

 

December 23: Many modern couples opt for pre-Christmas proposals on December 23. It’s the perfect way to start the holiday on a happy note. You still get that holiday engagement and get to celebrate the holiday without taking all the shine. Plus you’ll make your mother’s day!

 

Christmas Eve (12/24): Often, families celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve by opening presents. We can’t think of a more beautiful gift than wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone. Can you?

 

Christmas Day (12/25): There’s no better time to pop the question than when your friends and family are already gathered for a celebration. Bring on the joy! The more, the merrier.

 

New Year’s Eve (12/31): If you want to plan an intimate engagement before the festivities get underway, consider a New Year’s Eve proposal. Afterward, you can celebrate the good news with family and friends. It’s a win-win for everyone and an awesome way to bring the year to a close!

 

New Year’s Day (1/1): Any proposal that occurs on or after midnight is considered a New Year’s engagement. A new ring for a new beginning? We like the sound of that!

 

The Saturday before Valentine’s Day: If Valentine’s Day is too obvious, catch your significant other off guard and pop the question on the Saturday before. They won’t know what’s coming!

 

Valentine’s Day (2/14): Are you surprised? Neither were we. It only makes sense that the number one day for love is also a very big day to get engaged. And that diamond ring sure beats a box of chocolate!

 

The Saturday during Memorial Day Weekend: We’re convinced this is what long weekends were really created for. Kick off the summer on a high note with a proposal that everyone will remember for years to come.

 

Fourth of July (7/4): Although it’s not technically during engagement season, it’s easy to see why Independence Day tops the list. And, let’s be honest, fireworks just make a happy ending that much better (and help that ring shine a little bit brighter!)

 

Wedding Roles: Who Does What?

Your wedding is the biggest, most spectacular party you’ll ever throw and there are quite a few moving parts—and people. Luckily, we’ve created a little cheat sheet to help you figure it all out. Keep in mind that most of these roles can be played by either gender or by multiple people, particularly for same-sex couples. At the end of the day, it’s your wedding and you get to make the rules!

 

Mother of the Bride

The mother of the bride often serves as a wedding planner and helps to oversee the guest list. Typically, she attends the bridal shower and rehearsal dinner before the wedding and steps into a hostess role at the reception.

Mother of the Groom

The groom’s mother can step into any duty that’s slotted for the mother of the bride. She also attends the bridal shower and rehearsal dinner, but her shining moment is the mother-son dance.

Father of the Bride

Traditionally, the parents of bride pay for the bulk of the wedding, but these days many families go Dutch and split the budget as they see fit. Additional father of the bride chores includesu\ airport duty, coordinating directions to the wedding venue, and of course, a toast at the reception for the happy couple.

Father of the Groom

In years past, the most important role for the father of the groom has been fronting the cost of the rehearsal dinner. Nowadays, that can be divvied up among the parents of the wedding couple. The groom’s dad is also a great help when you need to escort guests at the wedding, move tables, or offer support to the father of the bride.

Maid/Matron of Honor

The matron/maid of honor is the bride’s second in command during the planning process. She organizes the bridal shower and the bachelorette party and helps the bride get ready for the big day. She’s often the last attendant to walk down the aisle and traditionally holds the groom’s wedding ring if there isn’t a ring bearer.

 

Best Man

The best man is the groom’s right-hand man. He acts as a personal aide, advisor, and bachelor party extraordinaire. His duties include everything from getting the groom to the ceremony on time to holding the bride’s wedding ring at the altar. He’s also on the hook for a reception toast.

Bridesmaids

The bridesmaids are the bride’s most trusted entourage. These women (or men!) can be called upon to help with prewedding tasks, like creating bridal shower favors, addressing invites, or dress shopping. They usually pay for their wedding day ensembles and split the cost of the bridal shower and bachelorette party.

Groomsmen

The groomsmen will also pay for their tuxes and split the bill of the bachelor party. Their chief responsibilities include decorating the getaway car, moonlighting as ushers, and keeping the dance floor going well into the night.

 

Flower Girl

Flower girls, typically between the ages or 3 and 9, walk down the aisle before the bride, scattering flower petals. Afterward, they’ll sit with their parents during the ceremony.

Ring Bearer

Similar to flower girls, ring bearers are aged between 3 and 9 years old. They walk down the aisle just before the flower girls, carrying the bride and groom’s wedding bands. This is a great role for the wedding couple’s pets, too!

 

Need more assistance planning your nuptials? Find a Great Bridal Expo in a town near you!

 

10 Adorable Ways to Include Your Pet in Your Wedding

It comes as no surprise that more couples than ever are opting to include their pets in the wedding process. They’re just so darn cute! But, sometimes, logistics get in the way, especially if your venue won’t allow animals or you’re planning a destination wedding. Luckily, there are ways around it! Because your special day just wouldn’t be complete without your favorite family member.

 

PROPOSAL
If you’re about to pop the question and you haven’t quite ironed out your plan, consider including your furry friend. Tie the ring to its harness or hang a “will you marry my dad” balloon from its collar and you’ll have the cutest proposal story of all time.

PRE-WEDDING
Engagement photos and Save the Dates are prime for pet cameos. Talk to potential photographers about including your animals in the shots beforehand so everyone can plan ahead. You can hang a sign with a simple wedding date around its neck or brainstorm a message that fits your personality. Clever signs go a long way, from “our humans are getting married” to “he asked, she said yes!”

WEDDING CEREMONY
There are countless ways to bring your pet into the mix on your big day. If they’re well trained, think about dressing them up and making them a ring bearer. (What’s cuter than a dog in a tux?) Or have your flower girls walk them down the aisle on a leash. Another option is to carry your little one instead of a bouquet or ask your groom-to-be to do the honors. For animals that can’t attend, find places to add their likeness. For instance, keep a snapshot in a locket on your bouquet or order little bulldog cufflinks for your groom.

RECEPTION
One of our favorite ways to include animals in the reception is the photo booth or designated photo area. They make great props and they get plenty of love and affection while they do it! It’s a win-win for everyone. If you want to include your animal in the reception, but you’re not quite sure how they’ll handle all the commotion, add their silhouette to your cake topper or ask your baker to create a cat-shaped groom’s cake or dog-inspired wedding cookies.

POST-WEDDING
After the wedding, you’ll need to send out “thank you” cards for all the beautiful gifts you’ve received. What’s more adorable than a custom card with a photo of the whole family? These pictures can be negotiated as part of your wedding photo package, or you can use one of the official photographs to save on cost.

Want more ideas? Join us for one of our Great Bridal Expos where you can gain access to insider tips and tricks from bakers, photographers, wedding planners, and so much more. Click here for tickets to a show near you!

19 Clever Ways to Plan a Luxury Wedding on a Budget

According to a recent study conducted by Wedding Wire, a typical modern wedding costs approximately $36,000. On average, couples spend $5,000 on engagement rings, $27,000 on the reception and ceremony, and $4,000 on the honeymoon. Intimidating? We know. But here’s the good news. You can save thousands of dollars on your big day with a little bit of research and a whole lot of ingenuity. Luckily, we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. Here are 19 clever ways to plan the luxury wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.

TAKE YOUR TIME
A long engagement gives couples ample time to research, seek out deals, and book early. Be strategic! You may be able to pick up discounted silver or gold decorations after the Christmas holiday, or purchase lower-priced ring bearer and flower girl outfits right after Easter.

BE FLEXIBLE ON DATES
Choose your date wisely. A Saturday in June is going to cost you! Consider alternative days, like Thursday, Friday, or Sunday. This can save you 20-30%, especially if you plan on a wedding in November or between January and March. And, don’t forget, off-peak pricing extends to florists, photographers, and catering services.

CHOOSE A UNIQUE VENUE
It all starts with the venue. Choose a venue with character so you spend less on decorations. Think art museums, botanical gardens, and heritage homes.

THINK EXOTIC
Consider a destination wedding. This will trim your guest list, so you can allocate more money to activities, meals, and your venue.

SKIP THE SIT-DOWN DINNER
Sit-down dinners can add up quickly. Instead, consider an upscale cocktail reception with a small team of butlers offering hors d’oeuvres on serving trays. You’ll save on a full catering staff and total cost per person.

OPT FOR A BRUNCH MENU
If you know you want a sit-down meal, try a brunch menu. It can run hundreds of dollars cheaper than dinner fare! And sometimes you can negotiate the venue price in the early hours since the space would have been empty otherwise.

ADD GREENERY
One of the easiest ways to trim your floral budget is by adding more greenery. In lieu of large scale floral arrangements, think about sophisticated garlands and table runners. Silver dollar eucalyptus, myrtle, leatherleaf fern, and grevillea are just a few popular options.

KNOW YOUR FLOWERS
Almost every flower you’re eyeing for your nuptials has a doppelganger. For instance, if you love peonies, look into “vintage roses” or “cabbage roses.” They look similar, but they’re less expensive.

FOLLOW A COLOR SCHEME
Just about every beautiful luxury wedding has one common theme – a color palette. Select two or three shades, like white, champagne, and blush, and stick with them. It’s one of the simplest ways to bring a lot of moving parts together. Plus, it photographs well!

DIY, DIY, DIY
There are endless tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube for how to DIY just about everything on your big day, from wedding invitations to formal centerpieces. Hold little gatherings in your home and enlist your craftiest friends and family to help. After all, planning a wedding is supposed to be fun, right?

BOOK A MUSICIAN
Instead of hiring a band or a DJ for the full night, book a musician for the early hours of the reception and the first dance. Then, switch to a curated playlist that a trusted friend or family member can manage. This little trick can cut your entertainment budget in half!

KNOW THE DRESS MARKET
If you want to buy your wedding dress, bridal expos and sample sales can offer exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else. Sign up early for newsletters to receive updates on events and special deals. On the other hand, if you want to rent your dress, look into money-saving sites, like OneNightAffair.com for gowns or Adorn.com for jewelry.

NIX THE FULL BAR
A fully-stocked open bar comes with a hefty price tag. Skip the full bar and serve beer and wine instead. Or offer a signature drink that’s in line with the theme and color palette of the wedding.

USE TECHNOLOGY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
If you want to be eco-friendly and budget-conscious, email your Save The Dates. At the end of the day, it’s easier for you and your guests.

CAKE SWAP
When you want a fairytale wedding cake, but you just don’t have the funds, fake it. Ask your baker to create one real lower tier for you and your fiancé. The rest of the tiers can be made from Styrofoam and covered in fondant. After the cake cutting ceremony, have your catering team serve up sheet cake from the kitchen with similar colors and flavors. Your guests won’t notice a thing!

REPURPOSE EVERYTHING
This is where thinking outside the box really pays off. Lanterns, candles, or floral arrangements that decorate your ceremony aisle can be used as centerpieces at the reception, while ceremony arches can be repurposed for the sweetheart table. And bridesmaid bouquets can easily become tabletop flowers. The possibilities are endless.

USE CREDIT CARDS WISELY
If you’re sure you can charge a few things on your list and pay them off quickly, sign up for a credit card with cash back and 0% APR for one year.

NEGOTIATE WITH YOUR BAKER
Intricately designed fondant details on your wedding cake can be expensive and labor intensive. Ask your baker for more affordable options, like satin ribbon trims or real flowers.

BUY, SELL, TRADE
After your wedding, take stock of your inventory and see what you can sell on sites, like Tradesy or eBay, to make some of your money back. This goes for wedding dresses, table linens, reception décor, you name it. A little bit of work before and after your wedding goes a long way!