When planning a wedding, you need to select a venue. Then you need music, flowers, photography, makeup, hairstyling, jewelry, clothing, and the list just keeps going. Deciding who to go with in such a huge pot of choices can feel impossible. That's where WEPRC comes into play.
"We decided to band together and create a network of vendors," said Frank Bulfamante, owner of Michael's Photography in New Hempstead. "I organized the group, Wedding and Event Professionals of Rockland County, five years ago. We have monthly dinners and meetings where we discuss upcoming events and shows."
"These bridal shows are what keep me going. When I first started my invitation company in 1994, it was before the internet started stealing all the business, and before everyone and their mother was doing this, " said Sandy Weiner of Expressions Unlimited in Sparkill. "At these shows, we meet people who are looking for our services. Referrals also help from past customers, or people who notice my booth." Expressions Unlimited is based out of Weiner's house, where she offers personalized service involving invitations, favors, accessories, and envelope addressing services.
Polina Alexiou of Molino Jewelers in Pomona agreed, "It definitely helps to bring in new customers. We're based off referrals. Our location in Pomona isn't the most noticeable, so any way to promote ourselves is important." Molino Jewelers doesn't just carry your standard jewelry, they offer custom made designs tailored to their specific customers.
A well-recognized vendor in the bridal shower world, Pampered Chef, also had a booth at the show. "We are a great asset for brides. They can create a registry on our website, and receive hostess benefits. We have cooking classes with great recipes," said Pampered Chef consultant Anne Sullivan.
at the Comfort Inn was the venue of this event. According to sales director, Tsilla Flint, "this show attracts the business of wedding and social events to our ballroom. Many people just think of the Comfort Inn as a place to sleep when they are out of town. They don't realize we have this whole space here to host all sorts of events, from weddings to Bar Mitzvah's to Sweet 16's and more. This gives us a chance to bring people in to view the location and taste the food from our amazing chef."
The spread of food was definitely noteworthy. From penne vodka, to bruchetta, to cannolis, the chef kept many palettes satisfied. Many guests sipped on champagne while enjoying chocolate covered strawberries as they chatted with the different vendors.
Action Entertainment provided the music for the event, and seemed to be a favorite of many.
"We booked Action Entertainment and noticed this show on their website," said Bride-to-be Patty Shepherd of Chestnut Ridge. "We are getting married on Nov. 27 and are looking for vendors. We really need to find a reasonable photographer."
"I'm just here for the food," laughed her fiance, Robert Fonti. "Just kidding!" He added (to avoid the elbow of course). Shepherd ended up winning a door prize from the hotel.
Monifer Martelo of Sloatsburg and her groom-to-be Michael Spinella sat back and took in their surroundings.
"This is our first bridal show. We are getting married in April of 2012. We received a postcard about this and it seems to be very helpful. There are many different vendors with a lot of information," Martelo explained. Along with the couple, Spinella's three sisters, Angela, Kathie, and Ashley were also in attendance.
These bridal shows aren't just for the girls. The grooms-to-be, fathers, and groomsmen are also welcome. It's important to get everyone's opinion when it comes to making such big decisions.
"I didn't think I was supposed to come, but it's great," said Alex Santulli of West Nyack. Santulli and his fiancee, Kerri Dravers of Pomona, are getting married in July of 2012. "We've only booked our reception hall so far. There's a lot left to figure out," added Dravers.
Mary Ellen Zimmerman of Tappan sat waiting for the fashion show with her best friend. "I was sent here by my daughter. She and her fiance weren't able to make it. They need a photographer, so I am in search. I don't mind. I'm looking forward to seeing all the dresses."
Before the fashion show started, a game of Deal or No Deal was played. A random bride was picked from the audience. The models held up small suitcases with numbers from 1 through 8. This was the most intense part of the whole show. The room was silent as different cases were open, while door prizes were given out in between. The grand prize was a vacation in Florida, but unfortunately the final case contained a free throw-away bouquet.
"WEPRC actually bought a timeshare in Orlando, so we can give away a real vacation. It's not one of those scam prizes. This is the place I go on my own vacations," Bulfamante said after the game was over. "The last few shows, the vacation was won. It's very exciting to be able to give such a great prize."
The final part of the show was a fashion show by Letitia's modeling wedding gowns, mother of the bride/groom gowns and bridesmaid gowns. Paired up with some of the models was a representative from Ekizian's Tuxedos.
Check out the next WEPRC show on Sunday March 13th at the Palisades Mall. Click here to register!