ALTONA — Rainbow Wedding and Banquet Hall’s eighth-annual Bridal Expo brought soon-to-be brides and others to scope out the latest wedding trends and fashion.
It also carried on a tradition of helping a local agency.
BRAIN INJURY VICTIMS
Proceeds went to the North Country Regional Traumatic Brain Injury Center. All eight expos have benefited the center, raising more than $35,000 over the years.
Brain Injury Center Executive Director Dr. Jeanne Ryan said this year’s expo was “bigger than ever,” with both sessions collectively bringing in between 550 and 600 guests.
Because of a family member’s traumatic brain injury, Rainbow Hall owners Jane and Leonard “Peck” Sample wanted to hold an event that could bring in funding for the center, which is located at SUNY Plattsburgh. Their son and their nephew — Brannoin Sample and Dean Nephew — organize the popular benefit.
Sunday’s expo began with a catered meal, fueling guests with energy to stroll among the vendors lining the walls of the Rainbow Hall’s Gold Room.
Vendors covered all wedding necessities, including food, flowers, photographers, music, makeup and hair — even photo booths and chocolate fountains.
Vendors and brides-to-be said many of the biggest trends and newest ideas were coming from Pinterest, a website that displays photos and webpage links in all different categories.
The site allows users to “like” a post or even “repin” it, and they can sort it in their own folders, known as “boards.”
Pinterest has a wedding category, which inspired many brides with themes or decor ideas.
Bride-to-be Jessica Miller said she found beach-theme ideas on Pinterest and decided to replicate it for her wedding. It is a big hit, she said, and she will be making her wedding unique with do-it-yourself projects.
Sarah Bushey decided to mesh her and her fiance’s personalities together. He loves the outdoors and she loves the Adirondack look, which meshed to create their wedding theme.
Bushey said she noticed that pink is the popular color for weddings recently, but she is sticking with her natural, outdoor look. To top it off, she is also doing a DIY project and making her centerpieces.
She said she’s been to quite a few bridal shows and was looking specifically for a hair stylist and bridesmaids dresses. Because each woman has such a different personality and is built differently, finding one style dress to suit them all is not easy, she said.
Wild Orchid owner Carmen Lucia said a popular floral theme is the classic look: white roses with pearl or diamond accents.
She said that while this classy look works great for the bride, a colorful pomander bouquet is better for the flower girl. The purple pomander on display at her booth was picked up and admired by many who passed by, she said.
PRESERVED IN PICTURES
Whichever theme or dresses are chosen, every wedding needs its moments captured, and that’s what the photographers are there for.
Photographer Jennifer McCluskey of McCluskey Photography has been doing weddings for five years and said she always likes to cater to the bride’s and groom’s personalities as much as possible.
Through These Eyes, Frank Koester’s photography business, works the same way.
Though he likes to incorporate the wedding couple’s characteristics in the photographs, he also laces in what he calls “fashion journalism.”
Koester, having been in the journalism world before wedding photography, said he likes to mix that knowledge with his new career, giving it a different look.
Photo booths are a new twist on photography at weddings and have been growing in popularity the last few years, said Jim Carroll, owner of Overtime Photography.
“It’s not on a necessary list like the DJ, but it’s close,” Carroll said about the photo booths.
Amanda Merrihew, who is getting married in July, said she is going with the trends this year, decorating with the Adirondack theme, accents of pink and the photo booth as an accessory.
Merrihew said it’s been “stressfully fun” as the planning time is coming to an end, but she said the expo helped with finishing up the last items on her list.
The two-hour mark hit, and people began scurrying to find the best seats. The lights dimmed and music filled the room, with colored spotlights bouncing off the ceiling and hitting the floor.
It was time for the fashion show, organized by the Fashion Exchange in Plattsburgh.
Dresses for brides, bridesmaids, mothers of the bride and wedding guests were showcased, as well as tuxedos for the men.
Juliette Lynch said she volunteered to model in the fashion show because the expo benefited a good cause.
“We get to play dress-up,” Lynch said. “We get to pretend we’re high-fashion models for the day.”