I feel like Alice, just back from Wonderland. This afternoon, right in the heart of Toronto’s business district at the Metro Convention Centre, I met a woman preening like a peacock with exotic feathers springing out of her brains and butt.
Soon after, I stumbled upon a photo booth that clicks nudes for a living. I sipped warm apple cider wafting out the fragrance of farm-fresh apples; licked up little swirls of chocolate butter cream that goes into cakes; passed by kegs of lemonade; gorged down exotic hors d’oeuvres; walked in and out of a make-shift limousine and morphed momentarily into a muse for a couple of musicians who belted out Bollywood music as an ode to my nationality.
“Are you East Indian or West Indian” asked one.
“East Indian” replied my friend and colleague who I was with then, with so much confidence that I didn’t have the heart to correct that East Indians are arbitrarily referred to inhabitants of the archipelago stretching from New Guinea and East Malaysia to parts of Indonesia.
To be more precise we are “South Asian Indians” from “Bollywoodland” as the blissfully ignorant here say.
But the musicians were more astute than I gave them credit for. With no questions asked, they belted out a Bollywood hit. I mentally blessed them with supreme success and walked on to explore other aspects of the fairy tale world.
And what world was this? Weddings of course! Fairy-tale weddings with all the expected and unexpected frills and thrills! The renowned Canadian Bridal Show, to get to the point, held at the Metro Convention Centre. It is claimed to be the largest in the city with the highest volume of exhibitors, showcasing the latest wedding-related products, trends and services in Canada.
To those who know me personally, fret not. I’m not looking to remarry. No, it’s not my daughter’s wedding either or anyone else’s I know. This was just a Sunday well-spent for want of better things to do in sub zero temperatures.
I’m not sure how some booths such as nude photos fit in the wedding show although the signage tried hard: “Give him the sexiest gift you could ever want – you!” it wickedly read.
Oh Canada! You have a naughty side too? Woohoo!
But the more you live in Canada, the more it takes you by surprise. The country is more fun, naughty and romantic than you can ever imagine but you have to leave the sleepy suburbs to discover that.
Wedding Fun Facts
Wedding Bells disclosed that 13% of Canadian brides-to-be have dated one or more of their wedding party’s groomsmen! Can you beat that?
Huddled beneath the furry tuques and jackets are soppy hearts that celebrate togetherness in myriad ways.
Canada is one of the few countries in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. In 2003, Canada was the only country to allow same-sex marriages between non-citizens.
The average cost of a Canadian wedding is $31,110, including the honeymoon says the Golden Girl Finance. Not surprisingly, nearly half the population in the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) country prefer to organize their weddings themselves, says Wedding Bells in a survey taken in 2013.
That is quite a contrast to South Asia where wedding event planners rake up millions planning weddings of all themes, shapes and sizes, yanking countries out of their economic plight.
What remains unique here are the increasing number of glamorous gay weddings and ethnic weddings thanks to the country’s multicultural mosaic.
The local wedding experts know it all. If you are getting married or simply wish to wander about in that world aimlessly to liven up your mundane life like I did, here are some wedding shows in Toronto and the GTA you may want to check out:
Wedding Shows in the GTA
- Canada Bridal Show: Since 1984, Canada’s Bridal Show displays Instagram-worthy bridal accessories, goods and services. From lighting and fireworks to wedding gowns and videography, you will find it all.What’s missing? Surprisingly, make-up professionals, hair stylists and a wider range of catered food booths! Canada Bridal Show is held twice a year – three days in the winter and three days in the fall. Tickets are a tolerable $20.
- Wedluxe Wedding Show: If you’re loaded, don’t miss the Wedluxe Wedding Show priced at $75 ($60 for early birds). You can enjoy samples from crème de la crème brands like Chloe and Dior and mingle with exhibitors who specialize in fleecing you with their luxurious services.
- The Middle Eastern Bridal Show: Held in February, The Middle Eastern Bridal Show staged in The International Centre in Mississauga showcases a fascinating range of vendors that include traditional Middle Eastern wedding service providers for $15 at the door ($10 online).
- The Ultimate Wedding Show: For those looking for freebies, go online and register free for The Ultimate Wedding Show held in the Living Arts Centre in April where some of the best wedding professionals in the GTA round up.
- Kismet Wedding Show: Held in mid January at The International Centre in Mississauga, Kismet Wedding Show caters to the wedding obsessed South Asian Community. Tickets: $10-$25.
- Suhaag Wedding Show: Suhaag presents the hottest wedding trends, designers, colourful bridal wear, skin-care and everything else you may be looking for. Food stalls offering delicious South Asian savouries make it worth a visit for the wedding-phobic.
Which wedding show takes the cake?
Although all are fascinating, for me personally, what really touched a chord was the news of a traditional Indigenous Wedding held at the edge of a waterfall.
They honoured their ancestors and community elders, gave each other eagle-feathers, sat wrapped together in hand-woven star-quilts, shared traditional rustic food with their loved ones, blessed by the universe. Can it get any better?
On second thoughts, Alice had it good but I’d much rather be Pocahontas!