HRM's Fall Bridal Showcase Behind the Scenes

Our editorial intern shares her first bridal show experience

Kelly Jackson assists Jeff Bristow from Colonial DJs with giving out door prizes during the fashion show.

Dave Uhrin

Fresh out of college and with little time for a serious relationship, wedding bells are not foreseeable in my near future. I was a bit nervous to attend Hampton Roads Magazine’s Fall Bridal Showcase, having little to no interest in finding a caterer, booking a venue or hiring a photographer. Wedding dresses were of absolutely no interest to me. And the difference between eggshell and cream? Don’t get me started. Needless to say, I was out of my league.

Although the show begins at 11:30 a.m., I arrive at the Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront early to help set up. This task involves the decorating of the “swag bag” area. I have to admit the swag bags are super cute—simple and white with the Hampton Roads Bride logo printed in an eye-catching pink, complete with convenient drawstrings. I’m told that these are for the brides-to-be to stash whatever goodies they might collect from vendors.

 Since the brides-to-be and their parties aren’t scheduled to arrive for another hour and a half, I decide to walk around, check out the vendors and play a little pretend. It is decided: my “wedding” is scheduled for May (my “fiancé” and I both agree a spring wedding would be best) and we are going to exchange our vows on the beach—at night. Where’s my ring you ask? It’s, uh … being resized!

With my sweet tooth as a guide, I first stop by Silver Spoon Bakery’s booth. With giant lollipops, sweet cupcakes dotted with colorful sprinkles and cute, trendy cake pops everywhere it’s hard for me to keep my hands to myself. The table is covered with favorite childhood candies—appropriate decor for today’s theme—The Sweetest Things. After sampling a piece of scrumptious vanilla cake with chocolate icing, I reluctantly walk on.

A vintage-y cute booth by Bluebirds Garage catches my eye next. Specializing in renting one-of-a-kind pieces for special events, this would serve as a great first stop when looking to add romantic touches of vintage or retro elements to make your special day even more unique. After deciding to incorporate an adorable sky-blue Eloise chair into my “reception” (location still unknown), I continue on my journey.

By this time, the brides-to-be are starting to arrive. They’re easy to spot—not only by the purple beads they’re given to wear but by the nervous-yet-still-excited smiles on their beaming faces.  Always followed closely by their girlfriends, mothers or grandmothers, I am surprised to find that many of the women are bringing their fiancés as well. Although most of the men look slightly befuddled and out of place among the frill, I highly commend these supportive men for showing up to help their lovely ladies in planning their big day.

As the day goes on, I begin noticing several of the ladies carrying gorgeous floral bouquets. Naturally, the “bride” in me—fictional or not—wanted one too. Following a trail of stunning bright flowers and excited chatter, I quickly find the source. A long line has formed in front of Floral Events by Kathy where they’re busy making fresh and unique bouquets for the brides-to-be. Impressed, I snap a quick photo of a very satisfied bride-to-be with a lovely white and blue arrangement that had been made especially for her.

After conducting more research for my fictional wedding, I watch on the sidelines as a few brave attendees perform “The Wobble” as Colonial DJs spin their tracks. Inspired by their courageous moves, I decide to go behind the scenes in the dressing room and see what the models are up to. Thanks to the styling expertise of Salon Vivace, the models are busy being primped and polished. I stand by as Selina’s gorgeous blond hair is braided, teased and twisted into an elaborate, Greek goddess inspired up-do.  I then watch the stylist expertly apply makeup onto Kayla’s stunning features—as if she even needs any!

In the room over I find several racks of wedding attire from David’s Bridal, Maya Couture, Men’s Wearhouse, Pure English and Connie’s Kids. After wistfully staring at my dream wedding dress (a lacey, off-white, form-fitting number), I flash my best smile at the sharply dressed male models and then hurry off to see if my help is needed before the fashion show begins.

With songs such as “The Candy Man” and “Sugar, Sugar,” the super sweet theme to the fashion show is perfectly set. While the show went smoothly and without a flaw, being behind the scenes is a bit stressful. There are ribbons to be tied, zippers to be zipped and hundreds of buttons to be buttoned. On stage, the male models get a good laugh out of the crowd by letting loose and dancing along to the song, “Gangnam Style.”  For the finale, all of the models do their final walk as they toss candies to the audience.

For the blushing brides-to-be and company, the Hampton Roads Magazine bridal show was a real hit. With some of Hampton Roads’ best wedding vendors, a spectacular fashion show and decadent sweets around every corner, who knew wedding planning could be so much fun? And who knows? Maybe by the next show, my future “wedding” won’t be entirely fictional.

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