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
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City: Jersey City, New Jersey
Date: 2/10/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Jersey City
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City: Miami, Florida
Date: 2/17/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Pullman Miami Hotel
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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
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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
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City: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Date: 3/31/2019
Time: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Broward County Convention Center
Get Tickets!

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!

 

6 Bridal Show Tips Every Exhibitor Should Know 👍

Think of a bridal expo as a series of first impressions. When a bride walks into your booth, you have exactly one opportunity to lay the foundation for a positive (and hopefully profitable) relationship. No pressure, right? To maximize your gain and build your business, you need to make every second count. To help you succeed at the show, here are the best tips and tricks of the business. Are you taking notes?

 

PLAN FAR IN ADVANCE

Our top exhibitors have one thing in common: planning. The more you plan, the better off you’ll be. Have you secured flights and hotels early? They sell out fast! Have you ordered giveaways and booth décor? It’s more important than you think. Have you trained your sales team? You get the idea. Create your checklist and get started as soon as possible.

MAKE YOUR BOOTH STAND OUT

Did you know that our first impression of someone forms in only one-tenth of a second? It’s that fast! In order to stand out from the crowd, and get the attention of brides, you’ll want to make your booth unique. We’ll leave the creativity up to you!

GET (INTER)ACTIVE

 If just one service or product in your booth is interactive, people are more likely to venture inside. You may want to install a selfie station or try touch screens to display your products. Remember, this is your chance to not just show off your product, but to create a memorable experience.

MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS

If you can, set up early and take some time to explore the grounds before the show begins. This is a great time to pass out business cards, network and find out how other exhibitors are marketing their services and products. Building key relationships can lead to referrals!

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

As soon as you know the dates you’ll be attending the show, begin your marketing plan and let your existing clients know when you’ll be there. Post photos of the show before, during, and after the event across social media platforms, and through a newsletter if you have one. Invite attendees to stop by and make sure to include both your booth number and event hashtag so attendees can easily find you.

BRING FREEBIES…

Promotional giveaways go a long way in extending your brand’s reach and breaking the ice with potential clients. Cute stickers, bookmarks, samples, water bottles, pens, or magnets are a few easy options. Just make sure that whatever you decide to give away has your business and contact information.

10 Secrets to Planning a Stylish Backyard Wedding

Backyard weddings take the cake on convenience and cost, but when it comes to planning and logistics, there’s way more than meets the eye. Did you know you need a generator? How about a party permit? Pull up a chair and gather ‘round. We’ve got the ultimate guide to backyard bashes that’s bride tested and groom approved. Let’s take it from the top, shall we?

PLAN B
First things first: Solidify a backup plan well in advance – just in case the weather decided to shift direction. You’ll want to know how you’re going to make changes, who you’re going to enlist to help, and by what time. If a tent is your plan B, lock down the rental earlier in the day so it’ll be ready when you need to pick it up in the afternoon. And don’t be afraid to practice take down and set up beforehand. It can make all the difference!

INSURANCE
There’s nothing sexy about home owner’s insurance, but this is one area of your wedding budget you won’t want to skimp on. Double check what your insurance covers inside and outside the home and compare notes with your vendors, who should also have insurance. You may need to add on supplemental insurance, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

PERMITS
Before you book vendors and send out invitations, check with your city officials about permits for large parties. Every town has fire codes, noise ordnances, and health department regulations that you won’t want to violate. In some cases, your vendors will need to file additional paperwork. This is when a wedding planner would really come in handy!

LANDSCAPING
If you can, meet with a gardener or landscaper one year in advance of your backyard wedding. This gives them plenty of time to design, plant, and maintain the look and feel you want on your big day. And, most importantly, you’ll need a professional to check if your yard is level enough for tables, chairs, and the dance floor. Your gardener can do this, or you can ask the professionals who are setting up your tent. If the ground is not level, they’ll need to lay down a foundation first, which will be factored into your overall cost.

PARKING
When you check on permits, look into street parking regulations as well. Some neighborhoods need residential parking permits, others prohibit overnight parking. If street parking is not an option for you, consider hiring a valet service to park cars at a nearby lot. Or offer a shuttle service to take guests to and from the parking lot.

NEIGHBORS
Speaking of noise ordinances, you’ll want to notify your neighbors at least two to three months in advance so they can plan ahead and schedule a night out. An itinerary of the wedding and a small, thoughtful gift goes a long way here. Or better yet, invite them to your nuptials!

POWER
Nothing shuts down a party like a power outage. Between the extra lighting, the sound system, and the catering equipment, your home is going to need a little extra boost. Avoid blowing a fuse by renting a generator that can handle the heat.

VENDORS
Most vendors will want to survey your home before your wedding to get a lay of the land and to figure out what extra equipment they need to bring. Be sure to schedule walk-throughs before signing on the dotted line. It can save you hundreds of dollars!

RESTROOMS
If your guest list is over 20 people, we’d advise looking into an upscale portable toilet trailer, so you don’t overwhelm your plumbing. You can even add homey touches like custom toiletry bags and his-and-her hand soap.

WEATHER ESSENTIALS
Guests often forget to pack essentials or prepare for inclement weather. If you’re getting married on a chilly night, rent propane heaters or offer chic throws and pashminas that can double as wedding favors. If sun is a factor, keep a stock pile of sunscreen, parasols, sunglasses, and water on hand. Trust us, your guests will thank 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!