Cowlitz County wedding expo

The Cowlitz County Event Center will host a 'fully immersive' wedding expo Oct. 19. The expo will feature regional vendors such as Castle Rock's Pollen Floral Works and BBJ Linen in Seattle, whose products are shown in this photo. 

Area couples and industry professionals will convene at the Cowlitz County Event Center Oct. 19 for the RSVP wedding expo.

A sort of “Wedding 101,” the event runs from 2 to 6 p.m. and features a no-host bar, fashion show, raffle prizes and at least 18 wedding-related vendors.

It’s a “can’t miss” event for anyone who is currently engaged, said Ashley Lachney, event coordinator for the Cowlitz County Event Center.

“RSVP will be a great resource for couples looking to understand what resources are available to them locally,” Lachney said. “If you’re not getting married in Cowlitz County, we’ll arm you with the knowledge you’ll need to approach other vendors with confidence and ask the right questions, so you’re getting the most ‘bang for your buck.’ ”

Although this is not the county’s first wedding expo, it is the first of its kind, Lachney said.

Unlike a typical wedding show, RSVP isn’t a “drop-by” event, Lachney said. Instead, couples will participate in a fully staged cocktail hour over the course of the afternoon.

“We saw a need in our community and industry to break away from the traditional wedding show grind and wanted to fulfill that (need),” Lachney said. “There are a couple shows somewhat like this in the Portland market, but we wanted to take the idea of moving away from wedding expos of old and put our own, unique spin on it.”

The “fully immersive” format gives couples a chance to have face-to-face conversations with vendors, Lachney said. For vendors, that means ample opportunities to meet potential clients and “increase credibility through all of the conversations that will be had that day,” she said.

Vendors include day spas, travel agencies, rental companies and venue hosts. Other “subject matter experts” — including Cowlitz County business owners — will lead presentations with question and answer sessions, Lachney said.

“The folks we’ve curated for this event are about customization, collaboration and next-level creativity,” Lachney said.

Toward the end of the day, event center staff will share information about their venue, as well as offer advice on what to ask before booking a venue. Lachney said the center typically hosts three to five weddings each year

Tickets for the wedding expo cost $5 per person and are available online at EventBrite. They can also be purchased at the door.

“This is an educational experience. It’s typically everyone’s first time getting married. It can be overwhelming. It can be stimulating,” Lachney said. “This format gives couples a chance to get real answers from real industry professionals and have fun while doing it.”

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