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The Big Fake Wedding Offers Everything But the “I Dos”

This nontraditional wedding showcase gives couples real-world insight into planning their big day.

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Often held in large venues where prospective brides and grooms pass through row upon row of vendors, the traditional bridal show can feel overwhelming. It can get stressful, especially if you’re planning a huge event, to take in all the possible things you’ll need to add to your wedding checklist.

The latest twist on the wedding show lets brides and grooms attend a pretend wedding as if they were guests. They can see what the vendors can do, from hair and makeup to catering and floral arrangements. The Big Fake Wedding, which comes to Hip at the Flashlight Factory in Manchester on April 18, is designed to take some of the stress out of wedding planning by giving prospective couples the total wedding experience, just without the newlyweds. Tickets are $25.


“They’ll feel very much like a wedding guest. There will be food, drinks, designers, a dance party, all different desserts and of course cakes,” says Johna Castro of The Big Fake Wedding. The event also will have the more traditional bridal show displays on hand, so that prospective couples can quiz vendors for information and talk about the tiny details that make a wedding unique. But by and large the goal is to make the event feel as much like an actual wedding as possible.

The fake wedding company was created by Atlanta-based wedding photographer Callie Murray, who realized that the best word of mouth she got for her fledgling photography company was from bridesmaids at other weddings. The company kicked off the first Fake Wedding event in Atlanta in 2008, and have expanded the concept to other cities across the country.


“One of our brides described as feeling like she was at a friend’s party, and that it didn’t feel sales-y or any pressure to do anything; that it felt like date night,” Castro says. “They get to see the vendors in action, in their element. They get to see how the ceremony musicians actually sound and how the caterer gets the food out on time, all that stuff you wouldn’t get to see if you were scrolling through a website.”

The Pittsburgh Fake Wedding will feature a real couple; Mandy and Elijah Ed of Monroeville will renew their vows to lend a bit of authenticity to the event. The couple has been married for five years, so they know the wedding-planning drill.

After the event wraps, the vendors participating will be featured on the national wedding website 100 Layer Cake.

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