210107ind ExpoFile

Bridal Shows By Kelly, a Rhode Island-based business that hosts wedding exhibits in Southern Rhode Island, is holding its first-ever virtual bridal expo this weekend. In the photo above, a pair of brides look over a photographer's work at an previous expo at Camp Hoffman in South Kingstown.

The holiday season is traditionally a popular time to pop the question, and even in such a year as 2020, a quick scroll through a variety of social media feeds show that was no exception. Still, with COVID-19 present and many venues closed, engaged couples looking to plan out that special day face a variety of challenges, including finding the right photographer, planner, music and other quintessential wedding services, as many bridal and wedding expos that allow couples to meet with, get quotes and see the work of such professionals also closed.

Enter Kelly Carlini, owner of Bridal Shows by Kelly. While she usually holds in person events in the area, including her annual Rustic Bridal Expo at Camp Hoffman in West Kingston and a pair of Narragansett exhibits at Kinney Bungalow at Sunset Farm and the North Beach Clubhouse, Carlini decided to take the show virtual and will be hosting the Southern New England Facebook Live Virtual Wedding Expo Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring a variety of wedding professionals from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut connecting with couples via Facebook Live. 

“Since the wedding industry has been hit so hard due to COVID, it’s a way to help those wedding vendors get in front of engaged couples,” Carlini said. 

The virtual wedding expo follows a similar event Carlini did last month called the Rhode Island Christmas Festival, which combined some in-person activity with live video interviews of vendors.

“I actually did a series of live videos interviewing each vendor who was there,” Carlini said. “I would say it was a hybrid of in person and virtual and lots of people watched the live videos and vendors got results. This is what I am anticipating for this Virtual Wedding Expo as well.”

Going fully virtual for this event, Carlini said it will consist of a series of Facebook Live presentations and pre-recorded videos from a variety of vendors, venues, photographers, DJs and more. 

While Carlini says she’s gotten a decent response so far, it doesn’t compare to that which she would receive for a live, in-person bridal show pre-COVID. 

Though, she says, it does come with some benefits from an organizing standpoint. 

“If anything, it’s easier to coordinate this on Facebook,” Carlini said. “No heavy lifting! I don’t have to measure out each vendor’s space, or do a floor plan. I simply created a line up by spacing out each presentation about ten minutes apart and took into consideration the type of business. I didn’t want to have five photographers or DJs in a row, which is also what I do at an in-person bridal show.”

Vendors taking part in the event include Kataram Studios, Kristin Griffin Photography, John Munno Photography, Fitch House Bed & Breakfast and Stone Arches Bed & Breakfast, Robin Ganter Photography, Global Excellence Travel, Warren Lane Photography, Caccie’s Bridal Closet, Main Street Adventures with Beverly and Kelsey, Majestic Beatz Entertainment, RMG Photography, ThistleRose Bridal, Press Play Entertainment, November Sound, Mystic River Entertainment, Neora Skin Care, Extra Hands For Your Events, Star Productions, O’Brien’s Travel Agency and Julia Noelle Weddings. 

Attendance to the virtual event is free and those interested in attending are asked to go to the Southern New England Facebook Live Virtual Wedding Expo event on Facebook and click that they plan on attending. Once in on Saturday, couples will be notified as each vendor comes up to speak about their service or project.

Interested couples can also sign up for the event, as well as Carlini’s upcoming Newport Bridal Show at the Wayfinder Hotel in Newport on March 7 and the Rustic Bridal Show at the Mishnock Barn in West Greenwich on March 28, on her website, bridalshowsbykelly.com

For further information, visit her website or send an email to Kelly@BridalShowsByKelly.com

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