Hundreds of future brides, grooms and their families crowded into Building 9 at the Frederick Fairgrounds on Sunday for the Frederick Weddings Expo, a showcase of 67 vendors offering goods and services to fill almost every conceivable nuptial-related need.
Niche vendors such as Caryn Dayhoff — a personal trainer who offers an eight-week “Fit To Be Wed” training program for brides — shared space with more traditional bakeries, resorts and catering companies all promoting their services. Even custom lighting — a detail some might overlook completely — was represented by WoW Event Lighting, a company out of Frederick.
“I think having different colors just adds something,” said Tom Burtman, an employee at the company. He gestured to the white walls of the expo building, which were softly lit with pink bulbs. “You probably know what this looks like during the fair, but the lighting makes it a completely different space.”
While companies came to the fairgrounds in hopes of nabbing new customers, the real focus was on the soon-to-be-married couples, many of whom were handily identified by “Bride” and “Groom” stickers handed out at the door.
For Emilie Cecil and Jordan Pozoulakis, a Baltimore couple who attended the expo in matching Ravens jerseys, the hardest part of wedding planning wasn’t sorting through the myriad event options, but finding room on the guest list for all their family and friends.
“I have a huge family, and we have a lot of friends, so it’s really just fitting everyone in,” Cecil said. “That, and making sure we stay within our budget.”
The couple met six and a half years ago at an Orioles game, and Pozoulakis proposed to Cecil at another Orioles game at the end of September. Though they make big decisions about the wedding together, Cecil is doing most of the planning, something she says she probably enjoys more than her fiancé.
“I’m excited to walk down the aisle,” Cecil said. “We’re not doing a first look or anything like that, so I’m looking forward to that initial entrance.”
“I’m just excited about getting married,” Pozoulakis added. “The whole process.”
Mary Krietz, a Thurmont resident, was also doing most of the planning for her wedding to fiancé Ethan Hood, with help from her sisters, Jessika and Jennifer, and her mother, Phyllis.
Krietz attended the expo with Jennifer and Phyllis, and said that the most challenging part so far has been finding a reasonably priced reception venue to accommodate her wedding. Staying local — and supporting local businesses — was also important for her.
“There are so many locations, but we’re trying to stay on budget,” Krietz said. “My grandparents and my fiancé’s family own farms, so we’re looking for a place with that kind of rustic, laid-back look.”
Krietz also teared up when she discussed what part of her wedding she was most looking forward to.
“I’m most excited about getting married on my grandparents’ farm and my dad walking me down the aisle,” she said. “My grandma passed away, and we’ve had some health issues in the family, so really it’s just spending time with my family and seeing all the support I’ve had along the way come to fruition.”
The Frederick Wedding Expo was organized by FNP Events, a subsidiary of The Frederick News-Post.
The event also included live music, beer tastings from Flying Dog Brewery and drawings for prizes. A portion of the proceeds from the expo went to Women to Women Mentoring, a nonprofit that offers free mentoring to women between the ages of 18 and 35.