Warren merchants start Rhody Wed wedding expo

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Three friends from Warren have started a new wedding showcase that may not fit the traditional mold, but jibes with Warren perfectly.

Rhody Wed was founded by Warren merchants Katie Dickson of the Wooden Midshipman, Elizabeth Kiepert of MUSE and Bridget Tierney of The Greenery. The showcase holds its first expo later this month, and the goal is to focus on local artisans, designers and creative and open-minded vendors. Rhody Wed, the three write in their literature, is geared toward "Indie" weddings; that is, the focus is a little less formal, cooler and more creative — just like Warren.

The three have been in the wedding business, in one form or another, for years. Rhody Wed grew out of their own frustrations in dealing with weddings (their own and others') and the lack of affordable, unique choices for would-be brides. The industry is geared toward folks spending thousands and thousands of dollars on the special day, Ms. Dickson said, but it doesn't need to be that way.

"Expos tend to be tacky and really expensive," Ms, Kiepert added. "So it's really frustrating for people who don't have a lot of money. And there was nothing (like this) in Rhode Island yet."

Rhody Wed's first showcase promises to break from tradition. The public portion will be held from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, at the home of Simply Devine Catering at 125 Water St. (the former Nathaniel Porter Inn restaurant). Admission is $10, and Rhody's new owners say it will be much more than a standard expo.

"It's going to be a party," Ms. Dickson said.

So far, at least 13 vendors have signed up, including Little Bitte artisanal cocktails, Sin Bakery wedding cakes and cupcakes, Stella Marie Soap Co. (which makes wedding favors), Spoon & Sailor letterpress invitations, and more. Gourmet food trucks from Plouf Plouf Gastronomie, Fancheezical and Mi jos Tacos will be on hand. The Free Downloads, a wedding cover band, will play, as will La Bella Musica, a string ensemble, and Wade Devers and The Deathbed Confessions, a rock 'n roll band.

Also, an industry-only brunch party runs from 10 a.m. to noon. Party planners, hotel managers, artists and entrepreneurs are invited, and admission is $25.

In the end, the owners' hope for Rhody Wed is that would-be brides will find reaonably priced, cool and creative wedding professionals to help them on their big day, Ms. Dickson said.

"It's based on the conception that there's a lot of awesome local people who do awesome stuff out there."

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joan.levesquearguin

Hello my name is Ralph Arguin. I am the owner and Facilities Manager @Country Gardens Outdoor Special Events Facility. I absolutely LOVE WHAT THESE WOMEN ARE THINKING AND DOING. It is right on track with our philosophy here at Country Gardens. How can I get involved? Could someone please contact me with more information about participating in your event?

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Ralph

Cntrygrden@aol.com

508-431-1255

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