If the huge turnout for the First Annual Kenai Wedding Show at Kenai Catering is any indication, wedding bells will be ringing like crazy this year on the Peninsula. Tosha Kelly of Alaska Bride & Groom Magazine coordinated the event along with Bobbi England of Kenai Catering. Raised on the Peninsula Kelly says she got the idea from the show that had previously been done at Lands Resort in Homer, “I thought moving the venue to a more central location and later in the year would improve attendance and we were amazed at the turnout here in Kenai,” Tosha told the Dispatch in an interview. Twenty five vendors set up booths inside Kenai Catering Sunday offering everything imaginable for the perfect wedding day. “The variety of vendors was terrific with everything from locally grown peony flowers to jewelry, photographers, the fabulous Cake Lady, gown vendors and DJ’s for entertainment,” she said.
Most of the vendors were from the Peninsula and three gown vendors were from Anchorage, “We focused on local vendors because many people not only here but from Anchorage want to come to Alaska’s Playground for their special day. We have people from the Mat Valley and as far away as Fairbanks planning to have their wedding here and take advantage of embracing the beautiful venues on the Peninsula,” According to Kelly the cost of weddings on the Peninsula can be anywhere from reasonable to over the top, “It depends on the bride. I find that a lot of Alaskan brides are more do-it-yourself type of women who want to go not so much for the super fancy fashion and glitz but for the spirit of Alaska blended in to a romantic day. Weddings can be for as little as $5,000 depending on the honeymoon travel plans. The we have the extravagant brides from the lower 48 who come here to have an Alaskan wedding week with functions everyday leading up to the main event which can run in excess of $20,000 depending on the number of guests and again travel, but bottom line weddings in Alaska can very cost effective in comparison to other locations. We love to feature the unique wedding settings like floating ceremonies in the Cook Inlet in the Alaska Bride & Groom Magazine, it’s all available right here in our back yard,” she said.
A new industry that has taken off on the Peninsula that carters to brides wanting peonies for their special day is the Alaska Peony Market Cooperative that offers overnight delivery to most places with local flowers harvested in July and August. “The long days and mild climates of the Kenai Peninsula’s unique growing season is perfect for Peony cultivation, with blooms ready to ship July through September,” said Wayne Floyd of Cool Cache Farms in Nikiski who donned a peony pink vest for the Wedding Show. For a list of all the vendors at the Wedding Show go to alaskabride.com/wedding_show where you’ll find a link to all their websites.