Bridal Expos, Exposing All Your Options

You’ve met his mother. He’s met your mother. The proposal was charming. The ring is perfect. Now that everything is official, you’ve got a wedding to plan, and it’s an overwhelming task. Before you jump in your car and ask Siri to find you the nearest florist, bakery, limo service and ice sculptor, just ask her to guide you to a bridal expo.

A bridal expo is like a wedding-themed, pop-up mall where a bride can find everything she needs—from a sweet dress for a flower girl to a martini bar for the grown-ups. Instead of travelling around to 20 different locations, wearing out your patience and racking up the mileage, the vendors come to you, or rather, a venue in your area that’s just dying to be your wedding location. You’ll get to sample catering, enjoy a runway shows of bridal fashions and groove to a number of DJs showing off their style.

No matter what kind of reception you’re planning, a wedding expo is the easiest way to get a ton of information quickly. It can be overwhelming, but it can also be a lot of fun.

East End brides won’t have to travel farther than Riverhead for a beautiful bridal show experience. The Martha Clara Vineyard Bridal Show will take place Sunday, April 5, from 1 to 5 p.m. $10 gets you in the door. Martha Clara offers a free glass of wine to sip while you stroll through the show. Visit marthaclaravineyards.com/public_events.php

There are a few tips that a savvy bridal show attendee should know. First, bring the gang. This is a fine time to bring a friend, a mother, a future mother-in-law, and of course, a groom, if he’s willing. There are grooms who want a vote on everything from table linens to menu choices, and then are grooms who run screaming from the room when someone mentions boutonnieres. These days, most grooms seem more than willing to spend an afternoon checking out the mashed potato bar and DJ action, so don’t have any qualms about dragging your man into Bridal Land. Round up your posse and have them gather information for you. Bring a big tote bag to carry all those brochures, and a notebook so you can jot down your thoughts of any vendors you particularly liked. Bridal expo veterans also suggest you bring preprinted labels with your name and contact information so you can enter to win door prizes and contests, but spare yourself writer’s cramp.

At Martha Clara’s 2014 Wedding Expo, event manager Molly O’Connor remarked, “We will feature some of the East End’s most creative and talented vendors…all providing a taste of what they do.” Included in the lineup of attendees are rental companies, lighting designers, floral designers, make-up and hair designers, photographers, wedding planners, local hotels, local musical entertainment, the vineyard’s approved caterers and dessert specialists. “If it’s anything like our past two years’ expos, it promises to be an amazing event,” says O’Connor.

To go with the its Art Deco feel, the Suffolk Theater, restored to its original 1933 glory, will have over 25 exhibitors, including vintage cars to transport your wedding party. Director of Private Events Nicole Evers commented that there will also be complimentary passed hors d’oeuvres, an exotic chocolate martini bar, gowns, linens and a slew of other wedding necessities.

A wedding on the East End has the benefit of being close enough to the city to accommodate travelling guests, and just far away enough to feel like a destination wedding. At Martha Clara, you can plan your big day around the beauty of the vineyard, complete with a reception under a tent, or opt for the rustic charm of the Northville Barn, which can accommodate 200 people. Or unleash your inner diva and picture yourself posing in your wedding gown in the Suffolk Theater’s beautiful scarlet lobby.

Regardless of your taste, a bridal expo is a great first step on the way to a unique Long Island wedding.

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