What: Brides 2 Be Networking Group.
When: 7 to 9 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month.
Where: Elaine’s Bridal Boutique, 5238 State Road 64 E., Bradenton.
Why: Brides share stories, including ideas, vendor selection and things they encounter while planning their weddings.
Cost: No charge.
“If you put all these girls together, they are a huge resource to each other,” said Elaine Cordeau, owner of Elaine’s Bridal Boutique. “Girls are dying to talk about what they are doing for their wedding.”
Cordeau, also a wedding planner, recently formed the Brides 2 Be Networking Group, which meets monthly at her shop. She said she is not there to push her bridal wear and services or the services of others on the women.
“My role is to answer questions so that the bride can make her decision as to who to hire,” Cordeau said. “I’m not recommending people. I’m not going to say, ‘Choose this vendor.'”
Brides also will be in an atmosphere where they can release frustrations.
“Sometimes when you hear what someone else is going through, you say, ‘Gosh I’m OK,'” she said.
Stephanie Maddox of Bradenton is planning a wedding for Jan. 31, 2009, and recently attended the networking group to get ideas from other brides.
“I kind of don’t even know where to start with all of this,” said Maddox, 34, a bookkeeper at Windward Design Group in Sarasota.
She wants to know how other brides got started planning their weddings and what stage of the planning process they are in.
Maddox was the only bride to show up at that meeting, but Cordeau said she suspects people were too busy preparing for the holidays to make the December session.
Cordeau’s daughter-in-law, Jennifer Cordeau, is still a newlywed and attended the first meeting in November to to answer questions from brides. She married Cordeau’s son, Jonathan, in March and still relates to problems brides frequently encounter.
Some of the stress comes from wanting to please family members, especially because they often are helping pay for the wedding, Jennifer Cordeau said.
Brides become torn because they feel obligated to make relatives happy as they make selections, including choosing a disc jockey, wedding dress and ceremony site.
“You have to believe in yourself because what you really want will make you feel better about the day,” Jennifer Cordeau said. “Your personality will shine through.”