Expo-Palooza: Hitting Up the Local Wedding Expo

To expo or not to expo, that is the question. Our answer? You bet we went. Because, you know, free cake. Free beauty products. Free paper samples. And free cake—did I mention that?

In the spirit of full disclosure, Mr. Puffer and I had an ulterior motive for checking out the local wedding expo: to get both sets of parents in the same room, at the same time, for the first time since our engagement. We’d managed an initial meeting pre-engagement by finding a somewhat central location between my Pennsylvania-based parents and his folks in Maryland. It went about as well as we expected, which is to say it was incredibly awkward.

I didn’t get any pics at the expo, so a GIF it is. Bad blogger. / GIF via WiffleGif

We had higher expectations for the second meeting. Both parents were basking in the glory (relief?) of learning their youngest kids were finally getting married. Yes, Mr. Puffer and I are the babies of our families. He’s 44, and at 38, I’m a sneeze away from 40, so our folks are very, very, very happy we’ve finally found one another. (Oh, and neither of my two older brothers are married, so to say my mom is excited about the wedding is an understatement.)

Everyone met at the expo, and after exchanging a brief greeting, we ventured out onto the chaotic show floor. The expo staff had stuck a bracelet on my wrist to identify me as the bride in the group. They might have well pinned a target on my head. All I had to do was stand in the middle of the aisle, and vendors popped out from nowhere, wooing me with their wares.

Our goal for the expo, beyond a little parent-bonding, was to find a bakery, a florist, and hair/makeup pros. I was especially excited to try samples from Charm City Cakes, the bakery featured on the Ace of Cakes TV show. The expo was chaotic, but we managed to do a complete tour of all the vendors in just over an hour, then headed out for some lunch and much needed quiet.

So what was the verdict on attending the expo? Mixed, I’d say. Here’s a breakdown.

Pros

We found our bakery! And no, it’s not Charm City; they’re out of our price range. But while I was on a bathroom break, Mr. Puffer and our mothers had found and fallen in love with Yia Yia’s Bakery in Baltimore. Their cake displays were unbelievably gorgeous, and the samples were the best tasting of all the bakeries there that day. (Mr. Puffer and I tried the samples that evening, after dinner. We got caked out two booths in at the expo.) Best yet, we received a coupon for 30 cents off every slice when we ordered our cake. Score!

puffer

One of Yia Yia’s many gorgeous cake designs / Image via Yia Yia’s Bakery

And…that was about it. We got some décor ideas from the display booths, and we found vendors that would have added uniqueness to our wedding had our budget and venue not restricted us from hiring them. Otherwise, it was pretty much just an excuse to eat cake and get our parents talking to one another.

Cons

Spam, spam, spam. The vendor emails started flooding in that very afternoon. “You won a great prize!” “You’ve been selected!” “You’re a winner!” Scam spam at its best. We didn’t win a darn thing. Luckily, I had the foresight to set up an alternative email account before I ever contacted my first vendor, and I use it whenever I do anything wedding related. As soon as the wedding is over, that account is being closed.

Ideally I wouldn’t have paid a cent to attend the expo. I had managed to wrangle up free tickets for Mr. Puffer and me, but I forked over $8 for each of our parents. Our experience wasn’t worth $32, in my opinion.

All-in-all, I’m glad we went, because we found a fabulous bakery to work with. My FILs were tickled that I invited them, as they hadn’t been involved in planning their other son’s wedding at all. My mom got her first hands-on wedding-planning experience. And my dad…well, he would have preferred to stay at home and watch TV, but he got free cake out of it.

BLOGGER

Mrs. Puffer

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comments

  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Katie, Guest @ 11:41 am

    That’s awesome that you found someone out of your expo. I went to one this weekend too, in CA, and by the end I was ready to just call off the wedding and elope to Tahoe this coming weekend. Fiance talked me down from that one. At least I have two vendors I’m interested in, not booked yet though. Do you know which flavor cake you will be ordering yet?

  2. Member
    MrsWhitneyC2015 2626 posts, Sugar bee @ 1:05 pm

    I wasn’t too enamored with my experience at a bridal expo either.

    The highlight was one of the ‘main’ vendors featured was actually the decorator that is used by our venue for their all inclusive package. If you set up a consultation you got to spin a wheel and ‘win’ something. I had to set up a consultation anyway, so it seemed like the perfect time. We won guest book and cake table decorations. They’re already included in our package, so they are giving us a gold charger, 3 vases with water pearls and a waterproof LED for our centerpieces. Just add flowers. 😀 No Dollarama-scouring for this girl!

  3. milkcow Bee
    Mrs. Milk Cow 216 posts, Helper bee @ 6:36 am

    I’m not sure how I feel about expos – there is one at Turf Valley in Ellicott City that I looooved, but it’s pricey. We went to a free expo at our venue and it was nice to see the ceremony space set up, but I didn’t get much out of it. Most importantly – Yia Yia’s Bakery is SO GOOD. I am beyond excited for you and your guests! (Also, their Tres Leches cake is one of the best I have ever had. And I love cake.)

  4. Member
    ItalianTraveler 57 posts, Worker bee @ 10:49 am

    LOL you definitely are doing better than I did in the parents-meet-parents department! I don’t think my dad met my (now) in-laws until the rehersal the day before the wedding! And at least that’s one thing you can check off the wedding list!! Going to our local expo didn’t result in anything (and there weren’t very many cake samples to justify the time we wasted!)

  5. mink Bee
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:38 am

    I used a throw-away email address for those bridal shows back in the day (and someone actually scolded me for advocating that other Bees do it in a post I wrote back in 2012!). I HATED the spam!

    That cake looks awesome!

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