Local entrepreneurs host Haiti as a wedding destination expo

Nadege Fleurimond.

I DO Haiti: Bridal & Wedding Expo, the first of its kind, will make its debut in the New York Marriott Hotel at Brooklyn Bridge on Aug. 31. Hundreds of brides-to-be will attend the one-day extravaganza designed to showcase Haiti’s growing wedding industry to couples hoping to tie the knot with class and culture.

The exposition is the brainchild of Guerline T. Emmanuel and Nadege Fleurimond to promote tourism and businesses in Haiti, in anticipation of the 2020 wedding season, which also coincides with the 216th anniversary of the nation’s independence. The one-stop-shop will feature more than 25 vendors including event planners, caterers, photographers, florists, and musicians. Event sponsor Historic Haiti will also be on-site as an exhibitor to showcase the beauty of the northern region, which is home to the world-renowned Palais Sans Souci, an ideal backdrop for any fairy-tale wedding.

“Contrary to public perception, Haiti is rich in history and beauty. Its legacy of resilience and triumph over oppression can never be diminished by negative press. As the daughter of Haitian immigrants, I have made it my mission to introduce or reintroduce ’the pearl of the Antilles’ through its people and vibrant culture. I DO Haiti is the catalyst that will inspire others to think of Haiti not just as a third-world country, but as a romantic destination for weddings and honeymoons,” said Emmanuel, owner of Belle Vue Tours.

“Throughout my culinary career, I have had the opportunity to travel and expand my palate with international cuisines. As a chef, I have catered events and shared traditional Haitian dishes with a modern twist. From soup joumou to black rice, food is how we celebrate our cultural identity and history. Our bold and aromatic flavors are second to none. A destination wedding is the perfect passport to truly experience Haiti in all its glory. I DO Haiti is my gift to couples who have always wanted to exchange their vows abroad but did not know how — until now,“ said Fleurimond, owner of Nadege Fleurimond Catering and author of the award-winning cookbook, “Haiti Uncovered.”

This new venture is not the first for the dynamic duo who also launched the Haiti Uncovered Culinary Tour, which in the past three years has brought more than 100 people on a two-week excursion to Haiti packed with breathtaking views and mouthwatering dishes.

Weddings, although a joyous occasion, can often be a stressful experience for the bride and groom. A destination wedding is even more challenging when one has to fly thousands of miles to see the venue or meet with the vendors in person.

“I DO Haiti: Bridal & Wedding Expo is transformative because it is a new platform that will enable small business owners to reach a wider audience in an untapped market that will help spur entrepreneurship and job creation. This exposure is more than I could ever ask for and I am excited to be a part of the movement to tell our narrative,” said Jaelle Josecite of Ayiti Deco Mariage.

“From its beautiful beaches to the historic treasures like Palais Sans Souci atop the mountainous terrain, Haïti Cherie is my dream wedding destination. The I DO Haiti: Bridal & Wedding Expo will give me the head start that I need to plan my perfect day. I cannot wait for my fiancé and me to say, ‘I do’ and begin our new lives as Mr. and Mrs. Charles,” said Darlene Toussaint.

On the eve of the exposition, a networking cocktail reception and press conference will be held on Aug. 30 from 6 pm to 9 pm at Bklyn Commons, 495 Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, NY. During the reception, a panel of three experts will share their perspective on the potential of Haiti’s wedding industry as well as how to position, then market the island globally.

Chike Nwobu is president and co-founder of Munaluchi, a multicultural global technology company serving the wedding and event industry. He is also the chairman and co-founder of The Coterie Retreat, an international wedding registry conference. Other speakers include Kareen Etienne, the assistant director of promotion for OGDNH / Historic Haiti, who will share her expertise on popular destinations and hidden gems throughout northern Haiti as potential wedding venues. Explore Haiti through the lens of Mike Mathieu, the digital content creator of Mathieu Media who will demonstrate how to advertise the picturesque island.

The exposition will be held on Saturday, Aug. 31 from 11 am to 5 pm at 333 Adams St. in Brooklyn, NY. For more information and tickets, visit idohaiti.com.

The I DO Haiti: Bridal & Wedding Expo is the premier destination for brides – and grooms-to-be to explore all that Haiti has to offer as a tourist and wedding destination. The visionaries behind the exposition, Guerline T. Emmanuel and Nadege Fleurimond, partnered with industry professionals in Haiti to create opportunities for the global Diaspora to reconnect with their roots, support the local economy, and promote tourism.

Guerline Emmanuel.

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