NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE
May 12, 2008
LONG ISLAND, N.Y.
Wedding expos are already smorgasbords of one-stop shopping for couples seeking caterers, videographers, dresses, tuxedos, DJs and all manner of big-party necessities, so a table or two for the enterprising real estate broker, or lender, would not be conspicuous.
"Five years ago, the mortgage companies didn't want to know us," said Tony Drago, the vice president of North Shore Entertainment, a 15-year-old company that operates three bridal exhibitions each month.
But starting about two years ago, he said, inquiries started coming in; now he receives about a half-dozen calls each month from real estate agents or mortgage brokers interested in exhibiting at the shows.
"Every one of these brides and grooms are, at some point, going to have something to do with a house," Drago said. "Real estate and mortgage and some other peripheral companies have realized they're a great audience to reach out to."
He limits the number to one of each -- a real estate broker and a lender. Insurance and financial planning companies have also come aboard, he said.
At one expo here recently, white Rolls-Royces and stretch limousines were arranged in a group outside the Huntington Hilton. Inside, a string of vendors, including Chase bank and MetLife, had set up their tables above the first-floor stage where wedding masters of ceremonies and bands pitched their acts.
Erick Montoya, who manned the Chase table, said the bank offered couples information and brochures about mortgages, checking and savings accounts, and equity loans. At some expos, Montoya said, parents ask about home equity loans or lines of credit to pay for the wedding.