Despite Irene’s threat to party-crash, the event came off without a hitch. The LGBT community over the past half-century has overcome police brutality, social discrimination, politicalresistance, and periods of rather limited fashion options... so a little hurricane wasn’t anything to stop the LOFT Same-sex Wedding Expo!
Held at the Radisson Hotel in New Rochelle, NY, the event featured approximately forty vendor tables – offering all sorts of products and services, including catering, clothing, venues, entertainment, photographers, florists, legal services, and religious services, to name a few --, hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and about one hundred and twenty or so guests, AND, a few transgirls sporting bridal and bridesmaids gowns provided by Fontana Bridal.
The sponsors included The American Hotel in Sharon Springs, NY, Fontana Bridal in Scarsdale, NY, and the very trans and gay friendly East of Eighth Restaurant on west 23rd St. in NYC, who was a sponsor for the trans-component of the event.
Shortly after the 5:00pm start, the event filled up rather quickly. I arrived there a little early, and met up with Jessica in the V.I.P lounge, which was converted into a changing room for the bridal models (see photos above). At about the same time Fontana Bridal showed up with our fitted dresses. Fran and Kelly arrived a short time after that, and we all had a chance to hang out and chat, joke and begin getting ready for our big entrance.
Then Frankie joined us (photo left), looking tall, sleek and hot!
At about 6:00pm we gathered to make our announced entrance; with a representative of Fontana Bridal introducing us one-by-one, and describing the dress each was wearing.
Everyone – guests and vendors – seemed to really enjoy our procession through the room. Although I doubt that anyone was enjoying it more than Fran: she sashayed through the room on air, lifted by a life-long fantasy fulfilled; to be a bride, her vision of the highest presentation of ultimate femininity.
After making our way through the room, I was able to stop and talk to vendors, enjoy the never-ending trays of traveling hors d’oeuvres, mingle with friends and meet new ones. One girl, after the second time she said “I love that dress,” I introduced to the Fontana people who supplied it, and felt that I had contributed, something, at least to this great night.
The caterers with vendor tables also had an assortment of cakes, cupcakes, sandwiches and soups, so we certainly got our fill. There were two cash bars set up – in addition to the actual hotel bar upstairs – serving wines, champagne and some mixed drinks; everything was fabulous!
After the Expo everyone moved outside poolside for drinks and socializing. I asked David, the Lofts executive director, how long the party would last -- considering the pending huricane. “Until we run out of booze,” he said. And that was true!
It was a fun event, and with equality inching closer and closer, the Loft Wedding Expo was just a reminder of how far we’ve come.
So a special thank you to the Loft for their efforts to put this – first LGBT same-sex wedding expo – together, and in particular to Francis Sisco (a board member of the Loft) for her interest, ingenuity and fortitude to make sure that the trans-community was so respectfully represented.
Also, a personal thank you to Deb for the great job she and her staff did on my hair. Anyone in the Westchester area, drop in to her boudoir-ish Aspire salon for hair, nails, spa, jewelry, clothes and lots of other beauty products. VERY INVITING and accepting; so don't be shy, stop in, say hi, and see if they can help you be the beauty to aspire to be!
A list of vendors by category
Cakes and Caterers: Some of the classiest caterers for weddings and events will be on hand, and they'd be honored to cater on your special day.
Wedding Venues: For your joyous day, nothing but the best! Check out these lovely venues to have your ceremony and/or reception.
Clergy, Officiates, and Religious Venues: Despite what many have heard to the contrary, so many religions, denominations, and churches not only helped pass marriage equality in New York, but they're welcoming you to have them perform the ceremonial rites, too.
Travel: Plan your honymoon getaway early!
Limousine Services: It's your special day, so get there and back in elegance!
Wines and Liquors: It's all about you and your special someone, so celebrate, and let the libations pour!
Hair/Make-up/Beauty: You and your spouse are going to look absolutely perfect; even more so than you already do!
Clothing Designs: Tuxes and Dresses: You two are going to look absolutely smashing!
Wedding Planners: You can't do everything yourself, so let these guys help you out!
DJs and Music: Keep your wedding guests entertained with fabulous music!
Photographers/Videographers: You need someone trusted and true to take your wedding photos or video tape your wedding. Make sure you keep the memory alive with these photographers and videographers!
Jewelry: Looking for that special engagement or wedding ring, maybe something as a gift to your bridesmaids or grooms, look no further, you'll find it here!
Florists: From flower bouquets, to centerpieces, and displays, your ceremony will need a touch of color.
Gifts, Frames, and Other Services: These are other companies and service providers who can help you.