The Bridal Expo

As I have blogged about before, one of the biggest challenges to expanding the work we are doing here in Chicago is finding interfaith couples who may want Judaism in their lives but who have not yet connected with synagogues and/or clergy. We decided to get creative in our pursuit: we booked a booth at a bridal expo to see if we could meet brides who are in interfaith relationships!

I wrote this blog post last night, from the Oak Brook, IL bridal expo. I was able to sit and write during the fashion show, as I waited for the brides to make their last walk through the booths.

The InterfaithFamily chuppah booth at the bridal expo last night.

The InterfaithFamily chuppah booth at the bridal expo last night.

I have to say, this was a new experience! The booths around me included a department store registry, a seafood restaurant offering catering, a beauty bar that has spa treatments (including wheat-grass give-away drinks that are a lovely shade of greenish tan) and a photography studio.

These were the comments I have heard thus far:

“We are an interfaith relationship because I am Catholic and he is Protestant” or “I am Muslim and converting to Greek Orthodox.”

“Oh, my friend just married someone Jewish and his dad who is a Judge officiated for them.”

“My family has Jewish roots but my son is converting to Christianity.”

“My friend is getting married in a couple of months and still can’t find a rabbi.”

But I did not meet any interfaith couples themselves. I may not have met each of the 350 brides at this expo, but I definitely met lots of them! I got plenty of smiles, nods of approval and comments like, “It’s great that you’re here” and “We should be more open with religion.”

I wonder if anybody who takes a card for a friend will give them the card and if the friend will want to contact us. I hope so!

I think that having a presence at future bridal expos has potential to help us meet interfaith couples, but maybe this was not the right location in terms of the demographics of this area. What do you think? If you’re married, did you go to an expo while you were in the planning stages?

It wasn’t a total loss — I did see some beautiful floral arrangements and sample some lovely champagne! Mazel tov to all of these brides!

Don’t forget to tell your friends about our wedding guide and about our Love and Religion — online workshop for Chicagoland couples, starting October 2012.

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One thought on “The Bridal Expo

  1. Thanks for share a good information it is a great for wedding .Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to introduce you to Chicago’s largest bridal shows, The Windy City Wedding Show. Having been an exhibitor at bridal show for years, I wanted to create a true one stop shopping experience for Chicago Wedding is good future brides to be. We have done exactly that. You can spend one Sunday afternoon meeting some of the best wedding vendors in the business and servicer fo you . I was tired of the boring dry fashion show so we invite you to experience our fun entertaining professionally produced fashion show featuring the latest fashions from David’s Bridal and Men’s Wearhouse. Being a wedding vendor myself, I was tired of spending every Sunday in hotel ballrooms talking to dozens of brides as opposed to hundreds of brides. I was tired of spending thousands of dollars to see dozens of brides. The hosting property or local bridal show promoter would apologize for the lack of attendance but by then it was too late and my time and money was already gone. Our shows consistently out produce every other bridal show hosted in Chicago.

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