‘I Do!’ Casino Night goes all in with wedding prep

October 2, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Normal bridal shows are large, impersonal events where brides-to-be shuffle around a large convention center and attempt to gain valuable information for their big day, said Vicky Markussen, owner of Victoria Graceson Floral Design.

“It’s sort of like a cattle feed — they put you in the chute, you walk around all of the booths, and then they shove you through and shove you out,” she said.

So, Markussen and Gina Mary Bahhage, owner of Gina Mary Hair Design, worked to create an event where brides and grooms could come together in an intimate atmosphere to get all of their questions answered.

The result is “I Do!” Casino Night, a fun-filled evening with cocktails, food, gambling and a handful of vendors available to answer wedding questions.

“We want it to be a fun, casual, enjoyable but intimate experience for the bride, because wedding shows are so crazy,” Markussen said. “I mean you have thousands of people and you don’t get a chance to have a nice conversation with a vendor.”

The event takes place Oct. 11 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Issaquah. Markussen asked that attendees RSVP beforehand at www.idocasinonight.info, but there is no registration deadline.

When brides enter the event, they will receive bridal bucks, which they can use to play blackjack and other casino games or exchange them for raffle tickets.

Each vendor is encouraged to bring raffle prizes to hand out at the end of the event. Last year, vendors gave out several prizes, including cupcakes and wedding invitations.

Vendors from all different facets of the wedding industry will be available to discuss their services with brides. Markussen will be available to discuss floral arrangements, but there will also be vendors specializing in hair and makeup, cakes, invitations, jewelry and photography.

“At this event, vendors can really spend a few minutes, or a half-hour, really

If you go

‘I Do!’ Casino Night

chatting with brides so they can get to know each other, because this is a very personal business, working in the wedding industry, so that was kind of our goal,” Markussen said.

The event is free and open to anyone, Markussen said. Brides, grooms, bridal parties or anyone who is planning a party can get something out of this event.

“It could be to a bride who is anywhere in the planning process. It could also be someone who is planning a party,” she said. “All the vendors are pretty general. I mean, the theme was to try and get brides and grooms in there, but everyone is welcome.”

Issaquah is a city poised to break out in the wedding industry because of venues such as Tibbetts Creek Manor, a popular place to hold weddings, Markussen said.

“I see that there is a lot of potential in Issaquah because I kind of think Issaquah is sort of on the cusp of becoming bigger in terms of wedding destinations,” she said.

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