Indie Bridal Project: Alternative Wedding Planning

If you have attended a bridal expo, you know it can be impersonal with hundreds of aggressive vendors who too often fail to put the desires of brides (and grooms) to be ahead of all else. Well, Megan Moriarty and her partners at Fenton Street Market, Chocolate City Creative and Juanita’s Adventures seek to change that one whimsical wedding at a time.

The Indie Bridal Party (IBP) is, just that, a party. The pop-up will feature 15 local vendors ready to mingle with brides-to-be and their friends in the hip, upstairs event venue at Darlington House in DuPont Circle on April 17.

“It is a pop-up bridal expo for the nontraditional bride,” said Moriarty, who owns and operates the weekly Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring, Md., which is open Saturdays from April 26 through Oct. 25 on Veteran’s Plaza.

In the style of a true indie get-together, there will be a photobooth, a DIY project,

and a signature cocktail called The Brick House. But what really sets this event apart from other D.C. area bridal shows like the Washington Wedding Experience and the Capital Bridal Affair is the presence of local vendors who will actually be present. The point is to give brides and grooms an opportunity to meet with the people who will ultimately help them plan their weddings to match their desires and budgets.

The party will feature vendors from the entire spectrum of  the wedding business with a twist. Think vintage suits, whimsical, custom headpieces, handmade invitations and locally-sourced bouquets.

“When it’s face-to-face, it’s so much different,” said Moriarty. “You get so much more information right off the bat.”

Katie Stack, who has designed custom bridal headpieces for her online Etsy boutique Mod Fleur since 2005, agrees. “Whenever I go to any market, I hope to meet other vendors and clients. I think the important thing about going to events like that is building the relationship. They might not buy anything that day or that year, but they might need something later on and think of you,” said Stack, who was married recently and expressed general dissatisfaction with what she calls the “wedding industrial complex.”

Other vendors, like Stack, are taking notice of the whole money-grabbing concept of the “wedding industrial complex.” For example, Jennifer “Jo” Oliver of Highway to Hill Flowers, also a vendor at IBP, will be offering reasonably-priced flower-arrangement classes for brides interested in DIY-ing their own centerpieces and bouquets.

“It’s a good thing for the bride to have a personal touch on the event,” she said. The classes will take place starting in May and will continue throughout the summer at the Off the Beaten Track warehouse space in Langdon. The classes will start at about $85, which will cover the cost of supplies, a bargain when considering that a single centerpiece can cost from $100 to $1,000.

“[IBP is for] anybody’s who’s interested in doing something their own way… somebody who’s interested in doing something out of the box and brides that are interested in spending their hard-earned money with people right in their own city,” said Moriarty, who hopes that Indie Bridal Party will become a resource for brides in D.C. with events throughout the year.

The Indie Bridal Party is 6 p.m. April 17. The cost is $25.  For more information visit www.indiebridalparty.com.