Wedding Expo 2017 -- Ideas for dress, food and transportation
Mother Nature contributed a good dusting of white to complement the sparkling iced cakes and glittering gowns featured in the Bridal Expo hosted at Lehigh University’s Rauch Field House Jan. 7 and 8.
Wesley Jenks, of Jenks Productions, said it’s the company’s 15th year coordinating and running the event.
“I like the people in the Lehigh Valley,” he said. “Everyone is friendly and easy to work with.”
This year, the two-day show featured 100 vendors, most local to the Lehigh Valley, with a few regional or national companies in attendance, too.
“We have about 80 percent retention in our partnerships,” Jenks said, “and our sales team reaches out to other vendors for whom this might be their first show.”
One of the show’s new vendors is a catering/event planning team Angelo Napoli and Carrie Skinner.
Skinner’s business, Carrie On Events, based in Whitehall, offers event and wedding design, planning, and day-of coordination throughout the Lehigh Valley, Poconos and surrounding areas.
Her partner, Napoli, is the owner of Mediterranean Catering LLC. He plans and caters a variety of events for his Lehigh Valley clients.
“I grew up cooking,” he said. “My plan was to cater and own my own business. I’ve been doing this for two years, and I wanted to add event planning, but it’s hard to organize everything myself, so I reached out to Carrie [Skinner] to do the event planning element so I could focus on the food.”
Napoli studies trends and counts numerous chefs, including executive chef Marcus Morin, among some of his key mentors.
Napoli offered samples of some of his favorite dishes at the event.
“I try to open up the senses and incorporate all of [the senses] into my cooking,” he said. “It’s too hard to narrow down a favorite, but I really love Italian food and a current favorite I like to prepare is chicken marsala.”
A wedding celebration isn’t complete without a cake, and the expo featured several local area bakeries with beautiful displays and delicious samples from Amy’s Creative Cakes and Elias Village Bake Shoppe.
Joseph Elias and his wife, Naziha, are the new owners of the Village Bake Shoppe which, Elias said, has kept all the same recipes and still employs the original staff. The bakery plans to add more items including Italian pastries and other Mediterranean treats and is expanding its retail store.
“We wanted to keep [original owner] Joe’s spirit and passion while adding some new products and growing our specialties to include wedding and all-occasion cakes,” Elias said.
The Expo also featured many options for transportation – from the traditional limousine services to the more magical Cinderella Carriage available with the Bethlehem Carriage Company.
This 10-year-old company, owned by Korie Kalavoda, added the Cinderella Carriage to its fleet about two years ago, and also offers a wagon which seats a bridal party of up to 16 people and a slightly smaller carriage perfect for a romantic ride.
“We know that people really enjoy the romance of a carriage ride,” said Kalavoda, “and we really enjoy being a part of the special day.”
The company trains and uses only white draft horses to pull all its carriages and wagons.
The food’s been arranged and transportation secured – but where will the bride and groom celebrate? The Lehigh Valley offers many wonderful venues to accommodate all budgets and guests.
Vendors sharing information about their venues included Barnhouse Village Banquet Facility, Green Pond Country Club, Grille 3501, Iron Lakes Country Club, Ramada Whitehall/Allentown, Riverview Country Club, Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Silver Creek Country Club, The Architects Golf Club & Catering, The Center at Holiday In, The Eastonian, The Hamilto Kitchen and Bar, The Loft at Sweetwater Country Club, The Portuguese American Club, The View at Morgan Hill, Union Hall, and Woodloch Pines Resort/The Lodge at Woodloch.
While they’ve already chosen the venue for their May 2018 wedding, Kaitlin Bevan, of Allentown, and Joshua Ravier, of Allentown, came to the venue with Bevan’s mother, Karin, because, according to Kaitlin, “We have the venue but we need everything else. We’re getting ideas for my dress, and the cake.”
Ravier’s worked as a DJ so he wanted to check out the entertainment available, too.
Bevan said, “The setup and flowers and displays and food are all amazing. The samples are really good.”
Her fiancée joked, “I’m here because she made me come … and for the free food.”
Karin Bevan said, “It’s fun to plan, and this is my first time, since my son’s fiancée did all the planning for their wedding so there wasn’t much to plan.”
“It is challenging, though, finding people who are open or available for our wedding day,” said Kaitlin Bevan. “And we want to stay in our budget.”
Since this is the first bridal expo they’ve attended, they planned to collect samples and business cards while browsing each of the aisles, looking for inspiration.
Additional vendors who participated in the two-day event included Action Party Rentals, and Advocare. Allium Design, Michael Thomas Floral Design represented the florists. Xyngular, Tailored Micro, Rodan & Fields, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fringe Stylz Salon, ATTRACTIONS, and Advocare were among the health and beauty vendors.
Entertainment options were advertised by Big Laughs Photo Booth LLC, Dice Productionz, Freez Entertainment, Holiday Sounds, Rockin’ Ramaley, TapSnap, and The Pros Weddings.