Photo courtesy: Columbus Bride and Groom

Grab your fiancÚ (or a trusted girlfriend) and get ready for a date night with a wedding-planning theme. On Friday, Feb. 24, Columbus Bride and Groom hosts The Wedding Experience-its twist on the typical bridal show, designed to be less wedding convention and more intimate conversation. "It's not just handing out a business card," said Lauren Lawson with Columbus Bride and Groom. "You can taste the cake, get an up-do or braid, a quick makeover. Guests really experience what each vendor has to offer." The evening will rotate between two Downtown venues-the Westin and Ohio Statehouse-and offer more than 100 vendors at each locale, but only up to two vendors per category. That way, couples won't be overwhelmed with, say, the myriad florists, but can instead sit down with each one for a mini-consultation, Lawson explained. Couples will also be escorted by limo to each venue. The mini-receptions hosted at the fourth installation of this event (held at a different spot each year), will also offer mini dance lessons, hair and makeup tips, chair massages, dÚcor and lighting examples, table settings and centerpieces, music from local DJs and bands, and of course lots of sweets, hors d'oeuvres and cocktails to sample. A few lucky attendees will get to participate in a mock bouquet toss and cake cutting, too. The idea, Lawson said, is to show what a wedding reception at these venues would really feel like. Even luckier guests will win fabulous prizes provided by the vendors at a wide range of price points. The evening runs 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The cost is $30/couple, $15/single and $25/per person at the door the day of. To register or for more information, visit

–Beth Stallings