In Iman Huschmand’s experience, the best way to market his wedding services company has been through actual weddings.
So his Hampden Lane-based company rented out the ballrooms at the Bethesda Marriott on Sunday and acted out the real thing, cocktail reception, ring ceremony, after-party all included.
Exclusively Entertainment, Huschmand’s full-service event company, hosted “Lights. Camera. I DO!,” a staged wedding show featuring about 50 independent vendors offering wedding cakes, dresses, dance floors, picture frames and more.
“Brides really want to see things live when they are choosing a vendor,” Huschmand said. “That’s how they really get connected. A $10,000 full-page ad in the [Washington] Post wouldn’t do anything more than if I did a great job at a wedding of 500 people.”
Women in wedding dresses and men in suits lined the halls between ballrooms, waiting for their mock ceremonies to begin.
The festivities began with a mock, non-denominal wedding ceremony. Bridesmaids and groomsmen walked in, followed by a bride, groom and a wedding officiant who walked through how the process would go.
Huschmand said he was able to include a number of vendors from other wedding services companies in the event through his years in the industry. He started as a DJ 15 years ago and began the more wide-ranging company about five years ago.
Exclusively Entertainment provides DJs, lighting, MCs and videography.
It’s not the first example of a mock wedding bridal show, but it’s not common. Huschmand hopes to put on the event again in February or March and make it into a bi-annual show.
He was pleased with the turnout for Sunday’s show, which consisted mostly of engaged couples making plans.
Huschmand’s company started out specializing in Persian weddings, an example of which it showed off at the show on Sunday. But the Chevy Chase-native said he wants to expand the company to a broader group.
“I knew it couldn’t survive on 40 to 50 Persian weddings a year,” Huschmand said. “It had to be something for the whole community.”