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Brides flock to Akwesasne Mohawk Casino for bridal show

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HOGANSBURG — Several brides-to-be walked the aisles between booths Sunday during the Spring Bridal Show at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino, 872 Route 37.

From bridal gowns to place settings, cakes, music, hair designs and ministers, the Winter Ballroom at the casino was packed with brides, wedding parties and 30 vendors in the bridal industry from across the north country and Canada.

It was the first bridal show the casino has hosted since completing an expansion project in April.

“This is the first time we’ve had a venue available to host larger shows like this,” said Benjamin J. Herne, promotions, special events and entertainment manager for the casino.

This first show proved to be a huge success, according to Vicki M. Boyer, banquet and hotel sales manager.

“We actually had 20 vendors that we had to put on a waiting list because we couldn’t accommodate them,” she said. “I really didn’t think that it was going to be this big.”

Ms. Boyer said vendors were selected carefully to cater to a variety of wedding needs and paid for a booth at the show.

She said the casino didn’t ask for bridal registration and made the show open to the public, which brought in people from Vermont, Montreal, Watertown, Champlain and across the north country.

“It is fair to say that participation for today far exceeded what we were looking for, so we’re ecstatic about it,” Mr. Herne said.

The show was largely coordinated by Joanne E. Dumers, owner of Cheers Design and Event Planning, Raymondville.

Ms. Dumers and Ms. Boyer said the event was a partnership, pairing Ms. Dumers’ event design, planning and coordinating skills with the casino as the venue.

“We started planning in early summer last year,” Ms. Dumers said. “I reached out to the local businesses and created a varied list of vendors for the show.”

Five different bridal shops participated in a fashion show featuring tuxedoes and bridal gowns.

Employees of Today’s Hair and Day Spa, Potsdam, were busy with the hair and makeup for several fashion show participants, but also were getting the word out about their business.

“We’re really passionate about what we do in this industry, so we wanted to show off our work and just rock it out,” said Shelly L. Murray, owner of Today’s Hair.

Ms. Murray said she was hoping the salon would get more exposure since it has a spa party room to host bridal parties.

“It’s just a great industry to be in,” said Erin S. Alguire, co-owner of Sposa Bella, a bridal shop in Canton. “We love coming to these events because it gives us a chance as vendors to meet who else is out there. It’s nice for the brides, too, because it’s a one-stop-shop kind of thing.”

Tammy M. Martin, Chateaugay, liked having all the different vendors together in one room, as she was browsing with her daughter, Natasha L. Bell, who’s planning her wedding for late summer or early fall.

“It’s just reminding me to hurry up and start picking things out,” Ms. Bell said. “This is my first show, so I’m just starting out.”

The Rev. Lisa B. Jock, Hogansburg, was promoting her small business as a custom ceremonial, nondenominational minister.

She said she listens to each couple’s love story and creates a ceremony accordingly.

“I think I’m the only reverend here,” she said. “This show really gives people ideas to get ready for their wedding.”

Door prizes and gift bags were available to the brides, as was a chance to win up to $5,000 off a wedding banquet if they registered with the casino before Feb. 20. Mr. Herne said that not only did the bridal show offer better exposure to smaller businesses, it also showcased the casino as a wedding venue, including a long list of incentives for brides to book with it by spring.

“It’s a partnership,” he said. “These vendors know the significance of the casino being the main hub of this north country area. Although the surrounding communities have venues as well, we’re kind of like the entertainment hub of this entire area.”

The casino also offered tours of its rooms and spa to promote the venue as an option to brides attending the show.

Ms. Boyer said the casino is planning to host two bridal shows every year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The next one, in November, she expects to be even bigger.

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