Tammye Nash | Managing Editor
These days, bridal expos are a dime a dozen. But the third annual Wedding Party and Expo, taking place Sunday afternoon, July 23, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, ain’t your grandma’s show.
This is an LGBT community event, created and presented by Dallas Voice, so expect a wedding expo that’s a step above the ordinary.
“We’re gay, so of course we’re going to make this a real party,” said Voice Publisher Leo Cusimano. “It’s going to be informative and useful, of course. But it’s going to be a ton of fun, too. It says it right there in our name: ‘Wedding PARTY.’”
But there was more behind the impetus to create this event than just a chance to have a good time.
“With the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality in 2015, we saw a real need in our community, and it was important to us to find a way to fill that need,” Cusimano said, explaining what prompted Dallas Voice to create the expo.
“I mean, same-sex marriage is now legal in this country, but that doesn’t mean all the discrimination ended,” he added, pointing to a Colorado case headed to the Supreme Court involving a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.
“When the Supreme Court handed down the Obergefell ruling two years ago, 60 percent of Americans supported marriage equality. That’s a significant majority,” Cusimano said. “But that still leaves 40 percent who oppose it.
“That same ratio is reflected among wedding services providers, so we wanted to create an event that allows same-sex couples — and others who believe in equality — a chance to interact with service providers that actually want their business and will treat them fairly,” he said.
The Wedding Party and Expo is the largest LGBT wedding show in the region, Cusimano said. More than 65 exhibitors will have booths at the expo, including community organizations and businesses as well as those offering wedding-related services, he noted.
Vendors include providers specializing in audio/visual and staging, bakeries, caterers, venues, decorators, entertainment, florists, formal wear, officiants, jewelry, photography, wedding and event planners and more.
There will be live music, free cake and other food samples, a cash bar featuring mimosas, a wedding reception featuring the music of the No Limits band, and more.
“And this isn’t just for those planning weddings,” Cusimano said. “These are event planners and service providers, so if you have an anniversary or a big birthday party or some other special event coming up, come see us on Sunday. You’ll find what you need at our party.”
The Wedding Party and Expo takes place in the Coronado Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole, 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway, from 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, although those attending must register first. You can register online in advance by visiting DallasVoice.com and clicking the link in the upper right-hand corner of the home page, or register at the door on Sunday.
Parking for the event is also free.
Hilton Anatole is presenting sponsor and host for the event. A Very Special Day AV/sound/staging and wedding planning company, is the main stage sponsor.
Register at bit.do/wpexpo2017
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 21, 2017.