Wedding Wordplay: What’s hip, new, trendy, or unique?

Coney Island Photo Booth
My parents: Koutsie & Martin Ebon, 1949 in Coney Island Photo Booth

Earlier this year, I gave a presentation on behalf of a client about wedding trends. It gave me the challenging task of adding a some of my perspective into their presentation.

As I reviewed their slide deck, to add my own observations and adjustments, I noted, in this presentation draft,  ‘photo booths’ were included as a trend… and something new. I spun this angle to something considerably different.

Photo booths are over 100 years old

The history of photo booths goes back 100 years and more. Early in the 20th Century, it became common to encounter photo booths at county and state fairs, amusement parks and other events.

To make my case, I added the photo booth snapshot of my parents (pictured upper right), taken as newlyweds in Coney Island. Before going further, I framed the notion of photo booths, like this:

“I’m not sure about photo booths as a trend. In general, photos booths tend to be cyclical, rising and falling in popularity over the decades. What we are experiencing now is a wide variety of ‘photo booth options’, such as: Traditional and retro booths, open photo booths (accommodating more people), photo lounges, photo booths with immediate social media upload features.”

At the recent Bridal Spectacular Wedding Show, Todd Herod from Shutter Booth Las Vegas, demonstrated some of the social media options now available.

Wedding Couples are conflicted

It’s not unusual for wedding couples to, unwittingly, speak out of both sides (or multiple sides) of their mouth. “What’s trendy.” they ask. “Jack and I want this to reflect our personality. We want our wedding reception to be unique. We want to know and use ‘what’s new’.”

Slow down… this is not really conflicted, it approaches schizophrenic.

One Arbiter of Taste

My friend, Kevin Cordova, owner of LED Unplugged post the following item on Facebook (a partial quote)

I spoke recently with a wedding and event planner regarding our newest product, our Vintage Marquee letters. This planner has never yet used them, yet when I mentioned them to her, her response was, “yeah I’m over it. Do you have anything new?”

His incredulity is palpable. And rightly so, in my opinion. What’s passé to one person can brand new to another. Being completely dismissive seemed a bit heavy-handed.

Kevin closed his post with this thought about working with wedding planners, on behalf of their clients, the wedding couple.

“… bring an idea to us, and we’ll help bring it to life. Invite us into your design meeting, and we’ll give you another perspective. We are here to help our clients create that unique presentation that their clients desire.”

Full disclosure: at the Wedding MBA conference, two weeks ago, Kevin put my name, Andy Ebon, in lights, above my trade show booth in Vintage Marquee Letters. His company also added letters to the WIPA (Wedding Industry Professionals Association) booth.


Observations and Opinions: In the wedding and special event industry, it is easy to fall into a pattern of repetition. However, the ability to creatively apply both existing methods and develop new approaches is a wonderful sign of consistent innovation.

We are all challenge with the appeal of NEW aka The Latest Bright and Shiny Object. In the context of Kevin’s post, the notion that anything is passé to a person who has never used is either funny or tragic.

To me, I’d prefer to see an event planner collaborating with a wedding professional to meet a need, solve a problem, or develop something. Commanding something new, at the drop of a hat, leaves me scratching my head.

How about you?

Andy Ebon



Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority

Education Expert

LED Unplugged lights up Bridal Spectacular Bridal Show

LED UnpluggedA few years ago Kevin Cordova‘s primary business was DJ entertainment for weddings and special events. He let his creative juices flow and has built LED Unplugged, a company for lighting and event rentals. (Definition: an LED is a Light Emitting Diode)

His first business development came in the arena of wireless lighting design. Not simply renting dumb lighting, but intelligent LED spotlights, programmable in color and motion, to truly enhance a venue.

Over time, Kevin has built a lounge furniture division and a cottage industry in beautifully lit antique letters. He continually develops adjunct elements that create special focus within events.

Last weekend, LED Unplugged was in the center of everything at Bridal Spectacular, Las Vegas’ top bridal show. For several years running, Kevin has created a special lounge area for the show. Never the same design, twice.

This year’s lounge area featured furniture, antique letter lighting, and an overarching color theme and design elements. It used both the space and height of the allotted floor space, creating a buffer area, between the exhibitor booth area and fashion show stage and seating.

Photos by Alicia Purdum, Orange Soda Photography
Photos by Alicia Purdum, Orange Soda Photography

Click image to enlarge view

The picture (above) taken by Orange Soda Photography is presented as one image, but is actually stitched together, East and West positioning. They faced each other on the lounge floor, spelling out, WILL YOU MARRY ME? 

Not only was the lounge themed in pink and white, even Kevin was in a white suit, with pink accoutrements.

To give you a sense of scale and perspective we also feature a photo taken by Adam Frazier Photography, with the assist of a cherry picker.

Photo by Adam Frazier, Adam Frazier photography
Photo by Adam Frazier, Adam Frazier photography

Click image to enlarge view

You would think that would be plenty of involvement, but Kevin has a trade show booth, and was hired by many fellow exhibitors to provide accent lighting to enhance their booth presentations of all kinds.

Lots of wedding show exhibitors do excellent work. Kevin Cordova has found a way to be helpful, ubiquitous, and stay several steps ahead of the competition. When businesses and wedding couples work with Kevin, they are not just renting gear; they are getting the benefit of outstanding design creativity.

Oh… you won’t see behind the DJ booth any time soon 🙂

Acknowledgments: Thanks to Orange Soda PhotographyAdam Frazier Photography, and Bridal Spectacular.

Andy Ebon



Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

The Pink Bride Continually Builds Brand Awareness

Pink BrideThe Pink Bride bills itself as Tennessee’s Leading Wedding Resource. With wedding shows in six markets, magazines in five, and mobile-ready website, The Pink Bride stands out in a crowd. Its website serves wedding couples who are shopping for services and wedding businesses, looking to be found.

The creative cast at The Pink Bride is all about being provocative and refreshing the appeal of its multi-prong marketing attack on an ongoing basis. While many businesses make incremental changes, largely playing itself, this company is only comfortable being cutting edge.

Brides want new and different!

And with that, The Pink Bride website unveiled a new welcome page with clean, sharp graphics, and user-friendly search engine for wedding products and service in all its six Tennessee markets. And their pink leading lady stands out in crowd of wedding marketing clutter!

The big excitement, this week, are the major changes being unveiled out at its Nashville Wedding Show, this Sunday, August 24, 11am – 4pm at the Nashville Music City Center.

It’s fun being a trendsetter

The Pink BrideSo ask yourself… What’s more fun than turning up the heat on your competition, while serving your customers with unmitigated enthusiasm?

Keep doing it, every year, and the only place you’ll see your competition is in the rear view mirror. FYI: The Pink Bride is a member of BSPI (Bridal Show Producers International)

Andy Ebon



Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Networking at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

Irv Spivak

In the late 1980’s I joined the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce to jumpstart my networking and relationship building skills. One of my principal  activities was participating in the twice-monthly networking groupsBusiness Alliance 1.

Though I’m not a ‘morning person’, I chose the Tuesday AM group, knowing I could commit to its schedule. The group, led by Chair, Irv Spivak. Today, Ordained Secular Minster; then, the undisputed San Francisco King of the burgeoning world of Voice Mail and Pay Telephone Booths (wow, 25 years had given us major change in communications).

Co-Chair was Suzanne Tucker. Then and Today, Owner of One Stop Graphics.

There were 30 of us in the group; only one to a profession. Every meeting, we went ’round the room, each giving a 30-second commercial about our business, honing our skills in a friendly and supportive environment. At each session, two members gave a 10-minute promotional talk about their business, focused on its key areas of focus, and what would make a good lead for their business

Suzanne Tuckr
Suzanne Tuckr

We ended the session by circling the room, one more time, each of us dispensing sizzling hot leads (a phrase coined by Irv). This was not a name and phone number, but someone we had talked to about a fellow member’s business. And, had received permission to share the prospect’s name, phone number, and specific needs with our Business Alliance cohort.

In our uber-busy world, it’s easy to let skills, such as these, fall by the wayside. I can’t…. because they were embedded into my subconscious by Business Alliance 1 at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

After Shock

On October 17, 1989, people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area were shaken by the Loma Prieta Earthquake. I had just returned from a conference in Phoenix, not one hour before the quake.

On the phone with a client in Los Angeles, my third-story apartment started to shake. I lost the phone connection, dove under my desk, and heard glass breaking at the front of the apartment. After about 30 seconds, shaking stopped, and I surveyed the damage. Just a few broken glasses… no phone connection… no power; nothing dramatic. Phew!

Where was my wife, Chris? She normally worked at a bank branch in Foster City. That day, she was part of a seminar team,toward the South Bay, near Palo Alto, off of Highway 280. It was now only 5:15pm, I gathered myself, batteries, and candles. In a very long two hours, Chris magically appeared; bedraggled, but no worse for the wear.

She recounted getting her students outside, from the 2-3 story seminar building, out an open parking lot, away from breaking glass or worse, a building collapse. Fortunately, her drive home was still during daylight hours. Stretches of Highway 280 were squeezed by the quake, creating temporary skate board ramps in the middle of the road. She drove off-road, around these impassable sections, and as the days passed, the highway settled back to a level state.

Survivor Guilt

As the phones and electricity began to come back to life, I started to feel survivor guiltSan Francisco power was coming back on, slowly, section by section. We lived in Diamond Heights and could see a reflection of flames, in the sky, coming from homes and businesses burning, in the San Francisco Marina. Until almost 11pm, we could only see two buildings, with lights on, in the South side of the city… San Francisco City Hall and San Francisco General Hospital.

The Morning After

The tumultuous events of October 17th were not a dream. It was random chaos of all sorts: buildings damaged beyond repair, the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge in a state of partial collapse, the collapse of the Cypress structure (Highway 880), punctuated by a postponement of the Giants – A’s World Series.

And then came a voicemail message from Irv. We were in the dark ages of communications, or so it seems, now. With some good strategy, Irv had crafted and sent a message to everyone he knew in greater San Francisco…. clients, members of Business Alliance, friends, acquaintances. Essentially, he said just a couple of things in that voicemail message

  • If you are in distress… in need of a place to stay, move your business belongings, whatever… call him (Irv) back and let him know what your needs are and the best phone number to get in touch.
  • If you were in good shape… please let him know what you can offer: transportation, muscle, a place to sleep, some temporary office space, whatever might be helpful
  • And then… Irv would become the matchmaker, connecting needs with volunteers
Jonathan and Mojdeh Stone
Jonathan and Mojdeh Stone

Soon Irv connected Chris and me with another member San Francisco Chamber memberADBP (Another Dancing Bear Productions), owned by Jonathan and Mojdeh Stone. Their lives were disrupted in every way. The ADBP office was on the second floor of a brick building on Front Street. The building was condemned, immediately.

Somehow they managed to get 15 minutes dispensation to go into the building (using a cherry-picker) and retrieve their business records. ADBP sold corporate gifts, imprinted items, that sort of thing. They could get new manufacturer samples, easily, but managing to retrieve customer records was a huge win.

Their monthly parking space, near the office, was underneath the Embarcadero Freeway. The road was closed, pending inspection. Ultimately, it would be disassembled, making way for a boulevard. Jonathan and Mo’s Marina apartment had been red-tagged. Meaning… they couldn’t go into the apartment until the fire department had inspected the property and deemed it structurally sound.

Jonathan and Mo had a place to stay, with relatives. Within a couple of days, they had managed to make a connection for new (or at least temporary) office apace. Chris and I were able to help by using two of my vans, and the four of us transported the new furniture into their office.

A relationship sprouted out of a massive, tragic event. Everyone knew someone, affected. Just being able to help out, even a little, was a healing experience. Making lifelong friends was completely unexpected and the ultimate bonus.

Andy Ebon



PS: Next Monday evening, August 25th, I will be speaking at a Networking Event as part of the WeddingWire Education Team at The City Club of San Francisco, walking distance from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the second generation of ADBP offices.

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog