RED BANK: ONE-STOP WEDDING BIZ OPENS

The Wedding Establishment takes over a space vacated by Love Lane Tuxedos 13 years ago. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallAs the son of a singer in a wedding band, Mike Hernandez Jr. says he “grew up in the wedding business.” He was there when the band came to the house for its weekly rehearsals, and when no babysitter was available, he’d be schlepped to gigs, killing time behind the drummer.

That, and much more, he says, makes him well-qualified to create something he doesn’t believe has ever succeeded before: a one-stop market for wedding services. And in doing so, he’s ended one of downtown Red Bank’s most enduring vacancies.

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RED BANK: WEDDING WALK RETURNS SUNDAY

wedding-walk-iiA model lured customers to shops on White Street in 2010. Below, a view of the trolley available to participants. (Above photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

rb wed walk 033014 4Here comes the bride-to-be, and her entourage.

The annual Red Bank Wedding Walk returns Sunday, offering prospective brides-and-grooms, brides-and-brides and grooms-and-grooms an opportunity to trawl the town’s business district for all it has to offer in the way of wedding-related services.

Which is a lot.

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RED BANK: WEDDING WALKERS BRAVE CHILL

rb wed walk 033014 5rb wed walk 033014 2Some 215 soon-to-be-married couples and their attendants endured a wet, chilly few hours Sunday for the latest edition Red Bank Wedding Walk, which puts the services of several dozen wedding vendors on display. A trolly and a hot beverage made the going a bit easier for one participant, above.

The event, the first since a Superior Court ruled last October that New Jersey must recognize same-sex marriage, attracted a number of same-sex couples, including a set of grooms-to-be who won one of the event’s prizes, according to officials at Red Bank RiverCenter, the organizer.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: A PRE-AISLE BRIDAL STROLL

A bride-to-be and her entourage pass a begowned model at Barbizon School of Modeling at the 2012 edition of Wedding Walk, above, and the trolley that makes the walk a bit less, um, pedestrian. (Click to enlarge)

Having hit on a good thing, Red Bank turns into Bridesville once again Sunday, swapping the green of last weekend’s Saint Patrick’s Day for miles of satiny white.

The occasion is Wedding Walk, and the idea is promote the town’s dozens of wedding-related vendors – caterers, liveries, photographers and more – as a one-stop fulfillment center for every bride-to-be’s Big Day needs.

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WEDDING WALK KICKS UP FOOT TRAFFIC

Models showed off bridal gowns at Sassy Chic Boutique, above, while a passerby did a doubletake at the sight of human mannequin Stephanie Rogers at Barbizon Models during the fourth Wedding Walk in Red Bank Saturday.

Nancy Adams, executive director of event sponsor Red Bank RiverCenter, said the walk attracted about 30 percent more registrants than the March, 2011 edition, with some 600 shoppers thronging the streets in search of dresses, hair styling, DJs, photographers and more wedding-related goods and services. (Click to enlarge)

WEDDING WALKERS TO STROLL RED BANK

Matt DePonti of Powerhouse Signworks gets the word about Wedding Walk out above Broad Street last week. (Click to enlarge)

Here come the brides-to-be again, as Red Bank merchants reprise an idea that’s turned into one of the more popular recurring draws of shoppers and diners.

As with the first three editions of this shopping extravaganza, merchants of everything from formalwear to framing, from rehearsal-dinner restaurant meals to riverfront hotel suites will open their doors on Saturday to an expected swarm of soon-to-be-marrieds hoping to nail down details of their big day.

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RED BANK: SEXING UP WEDDINGS

21-e-front-glassLast tenanted by chic furniture dealer Design Front, 21 East Front Street is now home to a wedding and boudoir photo business as well as a DJ. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallVacant for more than two years, a high-profile storefront in downtown Red Bank has landed a small co-op of wedding-related businesses as tenants.

This is not, however, where your grandma went to have her engagement portrait taken. And when the curtains are drawn across the glass-fronted space, you can be sure something sexy is happening inside.

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FOR MARRIAGE NO.2, WEDDING WALK NO. 1

wed-walkPhyllis Merola and Dennis Evanchik, who plan to marry in May, took in Saturday’s Wedding Walk through Red Bank. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Though they were tucked at a table in a corner of a ballroom filled with young women teeming with excitement, Phyllis Merola and Dennis Evanchik were the standouts.

At 50 and 60 years old, respectively, they could have been the parents of just about any of the prospective brides sipping coffee and chatting at a soft roar in the Molly Pitcher Inn Saturday. And the story of how the two ended up at the Molly, to plan a May 7 wedding at the Shadowbrook in Shrewsbury, is one ripped from the pages of a Hollywood script.

They were friends for 30 years and had their own families. But within about a year of each other, the two went through divorces and, some time after, Evanchik made a proposition to Merola.

“He said, ‘if you can date a perfect stranger, why not date me?’ ” Merola said.

In November, another proposition: Will you marry me?

And so on Saturday, when 10 o’clock hit, the couple followed the procession out of the riverside hotel and headed for downtown Red Bank for the borough’s third Wedding Walk, ready to spend a full day tying up loose ends for their springtime nuptials — just like many of the 200 others who registered for the event.

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GET THE RICE READY: WEDDING WALK IS BACK

wed-wlkWedding Walk strolls back into town Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Seems like only yesterday that Red Bank was flooded in white satin, with sparkly-eyed women peering over jewelry cases and trolleys carting hordes of hungry brides-to-be to and from the wedding wonderland that the downtown has become.

Yup, it’s been just four months since the marital merry-go-round last spun in Red Bank, but don’t get used to this being a frequent bridal bacchanal.

Wedding Walk 3.0 gets into action tomorrow — the first and last of ’11 — so, ladies, if a rice cooker isn’t on your registry, this is the chance to find all the essentials for that special day in a one-stop tour through downtown Wed Bank, New Jersey.

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RETAILERS & BRIDES PRAISE WEDDING WALK

wedding-walk-iiA model lured customers to shops on White Street all day Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Jayne Hernandez stood inside Hamilton Jeweler’s Saturday with a clicker in her hand, and pulled its lever every time a customer walked through the door.

By 2p, she’d done that 230 times. Not bad for a Saturday, she said.

“It was a mob scene,” said Hernandez, a manager at the store. “A bride mob scene.”

In terms of business, a mob scene is a good thing, she Hernandez said.

And it came as a direct result of Red Bank’s second Wedding Walk, in which hundreds of brides-to-be and their families descended upon businesses downtown and elsewhere.

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THE BRIDES ARE BACK IN RED BANK

wdng-walk1A jeweler at A.H. Fisher Diamonds sizes a woman for a wedding ring at Red Bank’s first Wedding Walk in March. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Wedding season is over, but there’s no such thing as planning too early for next year’s, right?

RiverCenter thinks so. Therefore Red Bank is host, for the second time this year, to Wedding Walk, a bride-to-be-minded affair that shines the spotlight on all the business that can help make getting hitched go off without a hitch.

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