Sunday, January 9, 2011

Our Fabulous First Adventures in Hetero-Bridal-Land

On Saturday, January 8th, we attended the Kiss the Bride bridal expo at Pala Casino (about 35 minutes north of where we live).  I've heard some horror stories about LGBT couples attending hetero bridal events so I braced myself for the worst. I prepared myself by outlining what areas we really wanted to focus on such as photography, dresses, caterers, and photobooths. If we really liked a vendor, then I would engaged in the "we're a same-sex couple, got a problem with that?" schpeal. I prepped Cheryll by promising that I would not drag her to hundreds of these events, just one or two, to get the "experience" and see what deals we could get.

This was, from what I learned, one of the smallest bridal events in the area. Good place to start!  There were about 80 various vendors booked but when we arrived (around 11am, it was slated to start at 10) there were still many empty tables. 

We all registered as brides (Michelle my BFF included lol) and when asked about our wedding dates and grooms I always chimed in "we have no grooms, this is MY bride" and pointed to Cheryll. This was kinda one gasped. We got a few ok's. Is it terrible that I sometimes love to put people on the spot? hahaha

While we're not stuck on gay owned/operated vendors one vendor in which I feel compelled to book gay only is our officiant. We met an officiant, a pastor, who when I asked how he felt about officiating a same-sex wedding replied with "hey, I have my beliefs, and you have yours, I don't have a problem with it." Ok buddy...not gonna cut it for me...sorry. Is it too much to ask to have someone marry us who TRULY believes in our union?  I want our officiants beliefs to align with ours...that we are equal and deserve the same rights. I have someone in mind actually and she too is a lesbian so we'll see.

There were no caterers! We stopped at the only two bakers represented and I have to tell you...unimpressive! While one had samples with what looked like pretty innovative selections; I rather enjoyed the mango cake, they failed to deliver on aesthetics.  Their portfolio had cakes I could bake and decorate. The other had images in a portfolio book that looked great, but what they displayed in way of cupcake arrangements on their table was less than perfect. The decorated boxes in between each layer of cupcakes was tattered and sloppy, their cupcakes - dry.

Only one florist was represented. They were part of an all encompassing outfit of event planner, venue, florist, etc. Not my thing but I did like one of their bouquets.

Of the three photobooth vendors, one in particular stood out. All Star Photobooth of Anaheim, owned and operated by Josh & Monica Johnson. They call themselves "the Fun Makers". Very personable and easy to talk to. We visited the other booths and there was just no competition. I was very happy with the quality of the photos and all the options Josh walked us through. He & his wife come to your event, one mans the booth and props while the other helps with the scrapbooking table. You can choose color or b/w photos and the options of 3, 5, or 8 picture montages. Their prices were not bad and they provide you a scrapbook for one of the two copies of pics each session spits out. This way, your guests can paste a copy of the pic they took and write a little something to to you. Loved the idea of having this be our guest book! They can also personalize the border of the pictures for your event and showed us samples where they used the same graphics/font from wedding invitations.

All Star Photobooth #1

All Star Photobooth #2

The non-competition photo.
We look confused because you couldn't see your image on the screen!

Only one photographer displayed engagement photos and wedding photos of same-sex couples. Glenn Currie Photography of Escondido. Again, very personable and knowledgeable. He reminded Cheryll of crocodile dundee hahaha He took time to speak with us and went out of his way to make us feel comfortable. None of the other photographers came across this way. His pictures were stunning! Also, he has some amazing deals going on if you book him by January 21st! I'm talking 8 hrs of coverage, 2 attendants, engagement shoot, engagement cards, 11x14 signature mat, leather formal album...for UNDER 2k!!!  I'm kinda feeling it! lol  He showed us an album of a same-sex wedding he just photographed in Palm Springs and the shots were creative and looked so special.

Me looking at hairstyle photos

The only dress shop there was Isis Bridal from San Diego. I did a little research on them before the show but was excited to see some design books from Maggie Sottero at their table. Maggie Sottero is one of my favorite wedding dress designers. The ladies at the table were WAY too engaged in their own conversation and no one said a word to me! This was a complete turnoff! There were at least 5-7 women behind the table; one would think someone would've said hello!  I'm not writing them off completely, because they do have some very eclectic designers featured in their shop and I'm looking for something different. 

Before the fashion show presented by Isis, the MC asked for 4 couple volunteers to participate in a kissing contest. I was like...Heck! Let's give 'em a run for their money! hahaha but it's just not Cheryll's thing to be THAT public. Here is a pic from the contest....typical!!

Me and Michelle waiting for the show

There were a few dresses I really liked. But OMG...the models sucked! Well, all but one really! Looked like something they threw together at the last minute and no one was paid for their time hahaha This one girl couldn't even smile...she looked miserable...she was even chewing gum! How crass! Also, they ALL held the dress as they walked which really annoyed me and looked so unprofessional. You could tell that many of them were too short for the dress they were wearing and/or their shoes were too big causing them to stumble! Here are the dresses I liked...please excuse the quality...a) the girls walked WAY too quickly, b) our camera is crappy :-/

I did NOT like this dress but HAD to show you this chick.
This is the fabisina punim! lol
(sour face for those of you who don't know any yiddish)

This was the only girl who walked and presented as a model

THIS is a dress I am definitely checking out!
Carmella by Maggie Sottero

This is what the dress is supposed to look like

Cheryll liked this dress!

I really liked something along the lines of the next few dresses
for our summer 2011 nuptials 

This bitch! lol I did not like this dress but
had to put this pic up here because of her expression.
Girl must've known I was talkin' shit hahaha

All in all it wasn't a complete bust. I found a photobooth vendor and photographer we both agree on. Next will be the BIG bridal event at the Del Mar fairgrounds later in the year...something like 300+ vendors! WHOA!  We want to bring Jordan with us so that she feel like part of the planning.

We ended the day by hitting up the buffet and losing some money in the slots lol It was an exhausting day!

Michelle didn't want anyone to see her food lol

This is why I love her hahaha


  1. It's so great to hear about your experiences leading up to the big event! Loved seeing all your pictures as well. It's nice to know that LGBT couples can go to these types of events and not feel completely unwelcome. Thanks for sharing and best of luck with everything! Can't wait to see more posts! :)

    <3 rye

  2. You actually posted the "Carniverous Cleopatra" shot? ha ha I definitely enjoyed going to this show with you, looking forward to the one in Del Mar so hopefully we can see the All Star Photo folks again!