Bridegrooms get in on expo action

ROBIN RAYMOND
Last updated 14:35 13/06/2012
Bernadette Thomas
SCOTT HAMMOND

Ready to show: Dressmaker Bernadette Thomas and flower girl model Iris Nott work on some finishing touches before the Marlborough Bridal Expo.

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It may be a bridal expo, but soon-to-be bridegrooms are also expected to be part of the crowd at the annual Marlborough Bridal Expo on Sunday, part of the changing trends in Kiwi weddings.

Wedding planner Karen Solomon, of Marlborough wedding and events planning company Any Eventualities, said Kiwi bridegrooms were increasingly taking part in planning weddings, which were definitely no longer just the bride's big day.

"We still get some grooms who just want to turn up on the day, but most grooms seem to be a bit more into it. Last year the grooms made most of the inquiries and the planning side of things, where late last year and early this year it seems to be a 50-50 split."

The increasing role of men has even seen more of them turning up to wedding expos and Karen is expecting a few to be found mingling among the 47 stallholders at the Marlborough Convention Centre, in Blenheim, on Sunday, although she admits not all will be willing participants.

"Some will go because they want to, some because they're dragged."

Marlborough's popularity as a wedding destination had increased last year following the Christchurch earthquakes and the closure of many wedding venues there. There were about 1200 marriages in Marlborough last year, and though the recession was seeing people cut some of the frills from their day, the numbers of people getting married were looking similar this year, she said.

Karen worked in wedding planning for 10 years in South Africa and Britain before moving to Marlborough five years ago and said Kiwi weddings were mostly similar to those she worked on overseas. However, outdoor weddings were especially popular in Marlborough.

Renwick-based bridal designer Bernadette Thomas said she had also noticed a shift outdoors during her 30 years in the industry and about 80 per cent of the weddings she worked on last year included an outdoors element.

The trend was helped by a lack of large indoor venues here, along with a desire to make the most of the Marlborough landscapes and a shift away from church weddings, the women said.

For brides, or couples, the expo was generally a relaxed place to talk to service providers and find out about all different aspects of their wedding under one roof and was also a good place to check out other trends, Karen said.

One of the biggest changes of the past few years was with the bride's dress, with coloured dresses, especially red, becoming increasingly popular. Both women said there was also a trend towards soft or muted colours such as silver.

"Wedding dresses will have the same vintage and lacy look as last year, but also with more of the 1950s retro and colours. Red is a big colour for dresses and there's some gorgeous gowns out there," Karen said.

For brides who still want a white dress, bold-coloured shoes were in, and bright colours such as mint green were proving popular for bridesmaids, Karen said.

The Marlborough Bridal Expo will be on from 10am till 3pm on Sunday at the Marlborough Convention Centre, Blenheim.

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Entry is $5, which will be donated to the Cancer Society.

- The Marlborough Express

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