db Bridal Expo Phoenix 2019 - Arizona Grand

db Bridal Expo Phoenix 2019

Arizona Grand

Over the weekend Santiago Almada Photography had the pleasure of being a vendor and showcasing our work (see slideshow below) at the 10th annual DB Bridal Expo. Held at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa, and hosted by Shy Khan with Weddings By Shy, the expo is said to be the largest South Asian Bridal Show in the West.

Arizona Grand Resort & Spa Wedding

While bridal shows are such a great opportunity for couples and their families to meet and greet, taste, sample, and see products from vendors all over the area we’ll tell you it's also great for vendors to do the same. Having the opportunity to meet and greet with vendors from all over the area is such a great way to build relationships, making a stronger community.

These types of shows remind us of how lucky we are to have such a diverse and vibrant body of supportive vendors working together to give our clients the best experience possible. During the expo we took the time to not only get to know our new clients, catch-up with past families but also to mingle with some new vendors. A few really stuck out as we felt we connected and we wanted to highlight them in a blog to share their stories. 

Kendra's Country Bakery

Kendra with Kendra’s Country Bakery was the first vendor to approach our table and say hi while we were still setting up. Kendra was so kind not only inviting us to sample her cakes from her wedding bakery but also asking if we needed anything. When we made it over to her booth we were met with a whole team of super friendly staff ready to share so much information about this family owned business based out of Payson. Kendra’s Country Bakery has been creating customized wedding cakes in the community for over 10 years and went statewide 2 years ago. When asked how this idea for a business started Kendra shared a lovely story about cooking with her grandparents at an early age and realizing how much she enjoyed baking. From the cake to the frosting everything is homemade, they even offer vegan and gluten free options. The Vegan Chai was one of the most memorable tasty flavors we’ve ever tried! In addition to their work at the bakery Kendra and a few of the other ladies are also out in the community giving back. They volunteer time teaching women and families that have been affected by domestic violence, baking skills, as well as tutoring/feeding children in need in Payson. They enjoy the work as it gives these families a break from what might be a very stressful situation to just have fun. If you’re interested in meeting this wonderful group click here to visit the website. They offer individual hour long tastings at their wedding cake shops for up to four people allowing you time to sample 4 cakes of your choice with all the frostings to mix and match for the perfect combination. 

Kendra's Country Bakery

Kendra's Country Bakery

We met Patricia with Mr. Formal, Fashions for men, after a young boy dropped his cheese its and started crying. We helped to clean them up while dad tried to console the little boy by letting him know he had more of the crackers. The little boy ran into his mom's arms and everything was ok. The whole moment was so cute. Patricia was kind enough to answer a question I'm sure she gets a lot: When it comes to wedding outfits for men, what’s the difference between a tuxedo and a suite. We learned so much about male wedding fashion, when to wear a bow-tie vs a long tie and even found out that Shy’s husband along with a few other men at the expo were sporting her jackets. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that she was also one of the vendor participants in the second fashion show. The men looked amazing in her formal wear. Patricia let us know that all her male wedding fashions are readily available at her store. Meaning when you find your perfect wedding outfit there be a long wait for shipping and alterations. To see her trending male wedding outfits and everything else Mr. Formal has to offer check out her website.

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Nazila couture was the vendor booth directly in front our ours and it was popping the entire show! The booth was set up in such an inviting way, women couldn’t help but compliment the designer Indian bridal jewellery sets and then walk in to pick up a dress off the rack, hold it up in the mirror and admire the garments. We watched Nazila chat with each lady individually, helping them to not only find the perfect piece but also to accessorize them with the latest South indian bridal jewelry. Who better to help with that then the designer herself, each woman walked out of her booth with the biggest smile on her face!? During the second fashion show we got a chance to chat with Nazila and were blown away to learn about her creations. Each collection is inspired by a true story one of note being the famous “Afgan Girl” with the beautiful eyes who graced the cover of National Geographics in 1984. This collection has fabric with beautiful eyes creatively worked into each piece. The story behind her ‘Hidden Treasures’ collection and the pieces that came out of it blew me away. A grave site was accidentally unearthed and upon extensive research it was found to be the burial spot for a king and queen.

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There is a top in this collection that Nazila creatively designed a hand embroidered skull. Upon first glance you only notice the lovely detailed handiwork. With a closer inspection you start to see the shape and it’s fascinating when you finally realize it’s a skull. We’ve never had the privilege to meet a designer and get such an awesome one on one story behind a collection. On top of that Nazila told us that she strives to have a sustainable company that repurposes and uses recycled materials whenever possible. Another eye catching piece has a component over 80 years old from Afghanistan that was repurposed into the garment as an ornate neckline. Nazila also does custom pieces with one on one consults in two ways: allowing you to pick out all the materials and then pricing it or knowing your budget and working within that to create your vision. Check out her website to see some of these collections along with her other south asian attire.  

db Bridal Expo Fashion Show 2019

While walking around before the doors opened, we were invited to check out Cirina’s booth of Arbonne products. We personally hadn’t heard of their products, however I have since read some Arbonne reviews from happy clients. Cirina was extremely informative on the extensive line of not only cosmetics but also nutritional items. She emphasized that the products are not tested on animals and contain all natural vegan ingredients. She let us know that many of her clients with food sensitivities especially celiacs disease find the Arbonne line does not cause discomfort common with other brands. As we are photographers and at a bridal show the question about scars came up. We learned that Cirina has a background in nursing, at one point working for a plastic surgeon's office. She told us that Arbonne has a healing oil used by many of her clients who have scars and even some receiving radiation therapy to help hydrate and protect the skin after treatments. Crinia really likes the Arbonne line due to what she calls it’s holistic approach to developing it’s cosmetic and nutrition lines, they focus on not just what's happening on the outside but also what's going on inside. Cirina was very personable and we were so delighted to have had the opportunity to speak with her. 

db Bridal Expo Fashion Show 2019

db Bridal Expo Fashion Show 2019

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Often times at an Expo like this, as a vendor manning a booth, we watch guests walk by with delicious looking plates of food talking about how good this or that dish is, hoping to get the opportunity to also try the food. The Indian wedding food we saw at the DB Bridal Expo was no different, however his was the first time that a food vendor actually approached us with a plate inviting us to try their food. Josh informed us he recently started working with Curry & Scoop and Tikka Bistro (both located in Tempe, Arizona) while giving us a plate of Channa Masala, Tikka Masala with Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese), white rice, and naan. The Tikka Masala at first is slightly sweet and as you eat it the spice began to build making it a really fun dish for your palate. We found the spice to be perfect, not so hot that you couldn't enjoy the dish but also not so muted that it was too sweet. Neither indian wedding dish was extremely salty which we find to be a problem with some curry dishes. The Naan was warm and perfect for soaking up the leftover sauce from the masalas. We have a feeling a lot of people would agree with our opinion as they were completely out of food by the end of the expo. We would have loved to capture a photo of them in action. We will be stopping by their Tempe Arizona location one day to try some of the other dishes, especially some of the ice cream flavors we’ve never heard of but look so good on their website menu.

Probably the most unique booth we found was two really nice women representing Fieldwork Phoenix. After a brief conversation we learned that it’s a fairly large company with multiple locations around the US. Their primary focus is on connecting businesses with real people using their products for research. People get paid for their time and companies get real input on changes and ideas they are working out. The types of research and opinions wanted seem to be a wide variety. Sessions on average are 2 hours with compensation ranging from $75 - $150, per the two women it can be anything from asking parents to use a diaper brand for two weeks and getting their thoughts, likes, dislikes, to a company trying to decide what type of packaging to use on their products. While we don’t have personal experience with a company like this, we wanted to share the information as it sounds like an interesting way to have your opinion heard, beta test a new product, try a new food, and make a little bit of extra money on the side. 

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DJ Isac

DJ Isac

The last vendor that we had the brief opportunity to chat with was Maurice and Christina, a lovely couple with an air or relaxation and tranquility which we felt immediately upon sitting under their vibrant orange and fuschia tent. It’s amazing that despite all the hustle and bustle at such a wonderfully busy bridal show, sitting under a Raj Tent, even if just for a few minutes, felt so calming. When we asked if he shipped all over the country, we quickly learned that he doesn’t just ship over the country but all over the world. We can’t even imagine the logistical work that goes into such a large venture. He has a trained crew of people dedicated just to traveling and setting up tents all over. Honestly we wish we would have had more time to get to know them as a couple. Reading how much his business has grown since its creation in 2004 to be included in dozens of magazines, movies, and TV shows was really inspiring. Even more impressive is reading that all of his tents are hand-made, I can imagine how proud anyone would be of such a beautiful piece of art but also to know how many people get to use and appreciate something so intricately designed should be so fulfilling. We look forward to working an event where the decor and indian wedding tent rentals are supplied by Raj Tents. 

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Santiago Almada photography was so happy to have been able to attend the DB Bridal show held at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa for the second year in a row. We want to thank all the people that made the show what it was and all the families and friends who attended. These events are so much fun for us and it’s because of the wonderful people we meet. Keep scrolling to see more photos from the show.

Rohit Verma

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Photoshoot at Cathedral Rock, Sedona AZ.