Cruiseport Gloucester outdid itself last Sunday, transforming itself with practiced precision inside a single morning into what has arguably become the hottest bridal industry event north of Boston: the Gloucester Wedding Expo.
In just four years, attendance has exploded from under a hundred to more than a thousand, and a beaming Sheree DeLorenzo says “it’s all because of my wonderful staff.”
“This is not a trade show, not a profit maker,” says DeLorenzo, Cruiseport’s president. “It’s a service event, a treat for brides and their wedding parties, and every one of them who comes through our doors we treat like a guest.”
Promptly at noon, more than thousand of those “guests” started streaming through those doors, into the grand ballroom, where a small army of black-tied servers deftly navigated through the crowds bearing trayloads of tasting samples from Vinwood Caterers of Ipswich.
These were hungry lunchtime hordes, and Vinwood — Cruiseport’s exclusive catering partner – kept an all-star lineup of finger-food favorites coming at them by the hundreds, while downstairs in the Harbor Room, Vinwood’s Tom Lang manned a packed antipasto bar, and dieting brides-to-be tossed willpower to the winds and dove in, before moving on to neighboring vendor tables to level towering tiers of wedding cakes.
Then it was back upstairs to the fashion runway, where the gowns were by Bella Sera in Peabody, and the runaway look was a racey take on lacey — a trend that took the bridal gown industry at warp and woof speed in the time it took Kate Middleton to hit the center aisle at Westminster Abbey in her dainty, demure, tapered take on traditional Lyonnaise lace.
By last fall, when the models hit the catwalks at New York’s Fashion Week, Kate’s look had been reinterpreted by the queen of American bridal designers, Vera Wang, who’d added her own spin on lacey, as in lace-up corsets, daringly integrated into the bodice itself, for all to see.