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Celebrity wedding planner to walk down Okanagan Bridal Expo aisles
Heidi Allen, star of the reality television series Rich Bride Poor Bride, has seen a lot throughout her career as a wedding planner.
She's seen what an $85,000 wedding budget can produce, she's witnessed countless relationships strengthened or broken through the planning process and she's watched her husband make a grand entrance in a helicopter on her own wedding day.
But she's never seen the Okanagan.
That will change this Sunday when Allen shares some of her secrets with a room full of anxious brides-to-be at the first annual Okanagan Bridal Expo. The event will begin at 1 p.m. at Prospera Place.
"I'm very thrilled to come out, especially since this is the first regional bridal expo that they've had. I'm so excited to be a part of that," said Allen.
Bridal expos aren't a regular gig for Allen who admitted she likes to "pick and choose" what she commits to. She prefers one on one conversations with women who are getting ready for their special day.
Perhaps that's why Allen convinced organizers to let her have some time in a booth where she can answer individuals' concerns.
"For me, the wedding industry is second nature. To a lot of these girls, if they don't have a cousin, best friend or co-worker that's been married, they have no idea where to start.
"I love that I'm able to say, 'What are your questions?' I'll point them in the right direction so they can have the most incredible day of their lives."
Allen's speech will focus around planning a wedding and, more specifically, hiring a wedding planner.
"It's becoming more common that people are hiring wedding planners . . . there are different services that wedding planners can do to help people through the process so it is not as costly."
Allen's career in the world of weddings began 17 years ago as a wedding photographer. Since then, she's shared her knowledge while gravitating through various mediums such as magazines, radio and television; however, her passion hasn't escaped her.
"I eat, breathe and sleep the wedding industry . . . wedding planning seemed to always be the one thing that kept me going."
Six years ago, Allen's career took an exciting leap when producers of Rich Bride Poor Bride contacted her, asking if she'd like to audition for the show.
When asked how much of the show is staged for entertainment value, Allen laughed and said, "I'm telling you, those couples really are that crazy."
Her best advice is to not let emotions get in the way of wedding planning and to try to enjoy the process.
"Planning a wedding should be an exciting and thrilling part of your life, not the most stressful."
And after 17 years in the industry, Allen's emotions still get the better of her when she witnesses couples say, "I do."
"I still get choked up, get goosebumps and cry because I feel like I've been given such a privilege to be part of this incredible moment.
"The moment you get immune to it, you need to get out of the industry."
Along with Allen's wisdom, the event will feature over 17,000 square feet of exhibits from the Okanagan's top wedding professionals.
Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.okanaganbridalexpo.com.