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Bridal Show Bootcamp
Local experts share tips to help you get the most out of your next show.
Amber Matheson

If you think bridal shows are the place to start thinking about your upcoming nuptials, think again. Rather, you should come armed with the right questions to get the most out of the experience. We spoke with experts who will be at Elegant Wedding’s upcoming bridal show, Ever After, to find out how. Follow up with them at the event at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven on Jan. 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Party Planner

Harlan Diamond, owner of Executive Caterers at Landerhaven, crafts the future of wedding receptions. He recently brought esteemed local restaurateur Marlin Kaplan on board to address the new expectations of today’s brides. “The weddings now, the bride is more health-conscious,” Kaplan explains. “They’re not choosing what might be deemed ‘wedding food.’ We use local vegetables, a lot more locally grown [ingredients].”

Know before you go: The Landerhaven team creates personalized weddings. “We really want to make it a personal experience for the bride,” Kaplan explains. “It’s not like you go to a book and take one from this column, one from that column.”

The advice: Think about dinner options, including a family-style reception meal. “It’s a combination of keeping the elegance, but getting people engaged,”
Kaplan says.

The Travel Agent

“I had a couple [recently] — they only had three days [for a honeymoon], and they’re looking at Hawaii,” says Phyllis Rosewell, owner of Traveling with Phyllis.

Know before you go: “I run into so many people
who say, ‘well, my friend went to X, so we want to go there,” she laments. “I really wish that [brides] had a better concept that it’s their honeymoon — it’s not their best friend’s honeymoon.”

The advice: Make a list of the things that are most important to you. Think about a logical time span and budget. “This is a personal memory they’re going to have the rest of their lives,” she explains. “It needs to be built that way.”

The Photographer

Brad Ronevich, owner of BCR Studios, suggests finding out the vendors who will be at the show and looking them up ahead of time. “Go in with a strategy and your list of questions,” he says.

Know before you go: “You get what you pay for,” he emphasizes. “You need to be sure to ask a lot of questions. Be very active in writing everything down, and make sure you know what you’re getting into before you sign a contract.” Often, especially with photographers and DJs, he says, the person you talk to at the show or
on the phone is not the
person who shows up at
your wedding.

The advice: Think about personality. “I’m going to spend more time with the bride than the groom is. We’ve got to really get along and have a connection.”

The Registry Consultant

“I’d like [brides] to think beyond their everyday pieces and their good dishes,” says Sue Cahn, co-owner of Pennello Gallery in Little Italy.

Know before you go: “Really think beyond what you assume you need — think about your living room, think about spaces where you’re going to have shelves and good lighting,” she says. “I think a lot of brides buy one brand — in two years, they’re sick of it. They don’t realize that a more eclectic feel is much more interesting.”

The advice: “If you’re a bride who already has the traditional items found on a wedding registry, consider art instead,” she says.

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