www.baltimoresun.com/features/weddings/bride-blog/bal-a-trip-to-the-gay-lesbian-wedding-expo-20130604,0,5170824.story

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A trip to the Gay & Lesbian Wedding Expo

By Douglas Nivens, II

For The Baltimore Sun

3:07 PM EDT, June 4, 2013

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What do you get when you have free food in a room full of curious, engaged couples? How about adding a DJ, tables with information booklets galore and a moving human sculpture?

In D.C., it was the 4th Annual Gay & Lesbian Wedding Expo, coordinated by the Rainbow Wedding Network at the Renaissance Washington DC Dupont Circle Hotel.

This was my second wedding expo of the year and my first with Enrique. Even though we have most of the essentials figured out, we are still open to new ideas for our wedding.

When we walked into one of two ballrooms full of vendors, we were immediately greeted with a bag of treats - numerous flyers, a CD and a couple bookmarks for the next wedding expo. Then, there were the vendors themselves, all vying for our attention. They were armed with their weapons of choice – for the entertainment groups, it was a live performer; the photographers had their portfolios; and a photo booth had a batman mask (which I proudly wore in my snapshots).

The best means of catching our attention, though, was the food – Free, sweet, savory food. Like fish swimming towards bait, we were hooked by cupcakes and lemon bars. A caterer from Northern Virginia gave us a taste of shrimp and grits. Another was giving away giant cookies. The best were the cake pops. These bite size, frosting-coated, round pieces of cake on a stick made me want more than one.

In exchange for these delightful treats, we had to stand and listen to their pitches. Everyone congratulated our engagement, gave us unsolicited advice and then told us how they could make our wedding day just a little more special. It was like speed dating for the hungry couple.

If you want to see plenty of vendors in a short time, a wedding expo is the best place to go. For the same-sex couple in particular, these wedding expos provide a room full of supporters in a comfortable setting. And each time I’ve gone, I learned something new that would work at our wedding. When I went to the Baltimore wedding expo in January, I was convinced to have a photo booth. This time, it was the cake pops.

The next wedding expo in this area is on Sept. 22 in Silver Spring. For more information about the Gay & Lesbian Wedding Expos, you may go to their website