By Rachel Bosworth
It’s serious business being a bride today. The event of little girls’ dreams takes months, in some cases years, of arranging and organizing. So much so, wedding planning has even become a career. Many wedding venues now offer showcases to highlight their different services, along with bringing in an array of vendors to help make that special day complete. On the East End, Atlantis Banquet and Events, part of the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in downtown Riverhead, will host their annual Bridal Showcase this month for men and women preparing to say “I do.”
Aquarium spokeswoman Darlene Puntillo says the event will feature tours of the entire facility, in addition to the Hyatt Place hotel next door and the Waterfront Suite overlooking the marina, with the wedding team onsite. “Guests will be greeted with a champagne toast upon arrival at the gorgeous Sea Star Ballroom lobby,” says Ms. Puntillo. “Both the Aquarium and Sea Star Ballroom will be decorated and filled with vendors and guests.”
With Atlantis Banquets and Events all catered in-house, guests at the Bridal Showcase will have the opportunity to sample some of their offerings. In addition to passed hors d’ouevres, stations highlighting the chef’s specialties will be set up throughout. Examples include a carving station with Angus sirloin, country ham, and lamb; specialty stations with Asian cuisine and various sides; and a Tuscan table featuring a selection of imported meats and cheeses. Samples of sweet treats will also be available.
Vendors will demonstrate the latest in entertainment, fashion, flowers, photography and more throughout the evening for brides and grooms to be. Among those showcasing their work include The Godfather Truck, Little Cigar Factory, Mark of Elegance Limos, Patken Photography, Riverhead Florist, and more.
“Brides today really want to individualize their weddings,” says Peggy Kneski of Riverhead Florist. “They bring in their personal pictures and effects, which makes their wedding event unique.”
As Riverhead Florist has participated in the Atlantis Baquets and Events Bridal Showcase, Ms. Kneski has noticed the trend of brides being more hands on with the wedding planning process than they were years ago. A design trend in floral arrangements that has been growing is the garden and wildflower style within the past two years. “Our shop sort of specializes in that design style so it has been wonderful for us as we feel comfortable helping our brides make their dream wedding a reality,” notes Ms. Kneski.
For those special moments captured and placed in a picture frame above the mantel, wedding photos are an important part of the planning process. Patken Photography has been in the business for 32 years, and a vendor with Atlantis Banquets and Events early on. “Their service is impeccable, their ambiance is thrilling and the food is delicious,” says Patken Photography owner Doug Gorden. “It’s a perfect match for any couple and even better to make your event a sophisticated one.”
Mr. Gordon says a notable bridal trend within the last few of years is the interaction of brides with Pinterest. “Brides are more sophisticated than they have ever been before,” he says. “They have a plan and know what they want. We generally will receive 50 to100 images from our brides that show what they [are looking for].”
Bride Rachel Tomasky attended one of the Atlantis Banquets and Events Bridal Showcases prior to her own wedding in 2015. “My husband and I came to a bridal showcase and absolutely loved it,” she says. “We got to see the place in full action, meet their preferred vendors, and taste so many menu items.”
The Tomaskys attended the showcase and ended up booking the aquarium as part of their wedding, something they initially didn’t plan. “Much to our surprise the Aquarium was setup just like it was for a wedding and it was breath taking,” says the couple. “We truly had no idea they could make it look the way it did.”
The Bridal Showcase will take place on Wednesday, February 22 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tours of the Sea Star Ballroom, Long Island Aquarium, the Hyatt Place hotel, and the Waterfront Suite will begin at 6 p.m. In addition to meeting with vendors, sampling menu items, and a cash bar, music performances will take place in some of the different areas. Admission is $15 per person in advance, and $20 at the door.