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Posted on Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor businesses and local event planner to host annual bridal event this month

By Lizzy Alfs

wedding_party.jpg

The Wedding Party team, photographed last year, by Abby Rose Photo.

Courtesy of Abby Rose Photo

Hoping to connect with engaged couples, a local event planner and a group of small Ann Arbor businesses are teaming up this month for an annual bridal event downtown.

The Wedding Party will be held at The Gown Shop, at 122 S. Main St. Suite 320, from 3 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 20.

“This isn’t a stuffy bridal show,” said Viva La Diva Events owner Alison Laesser-Keck, organizer of The Wedding Party. “It’s an opportunity for people to come check out their local resources in a really fun, relaxed setting.”

Laesser-Keck, who founded Viva La Diva in 2008, wanted to bring a wedding expo to Ann Arbor that offered more than a bunch of booths with wedding information. She likes to get to know the bride-to-be and show them what their wedding party could look like.

After hosting the event at the Ann Arbor Art Center last year, Laesser-Keck is slightly changing gears. This time around, The Wedding Party will be smaller and more intimate.

“Last year was probably around 200 (attendees),” she said. “It was packed. While that was really amazing, I just felt like it was a little impersonal.”

“We never actually got to hear about people’s weddings and what they were hoping to get out of it,” she continued. “This year, we plan on keeping it pretty casual in just an open house format.”

The event features local vendors in wedding-related categories, such as food, dessert, music, flowers, photography and gowns. People can stop by, listen to music, have champagne and cupcakes, and learn about local wedding resources.

“The best part about Ann Arbor, I think, is that it’s a lot of small businesses,” Laesser-Keck said. “A lot of our clients really prefer to work with people in the wedding industry who own small businesses…a lot of our clients have a love for Michigan and it’s important to them to support the community.”

Among the vendors: Viva La Diva Events, Sweet Heather Anne, Pot & Box, Abby Rose Photo, Elevated Press, Snapfuze, Molly Jacques Illustration, eat and The Gown Shop.

Although the event is free, RSVPs are encouraged. (See more info here)

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at lizzyalfs@annarbor.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lizzyalfs.