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WE TV has exchanged vows with The Great Bridal Expo, a 30-year-old trade show which brings soon-to-weds and wedding vendors together, a partnership that will allow the network and the expo to leverage their respective brands.

WE, which devotes 40% of its primetime schedule to wedding-related programming, will be the title sponsor of the trade show, which hits 20 cities twice each year. In turn, WE will run taggable promotion spots for the events, including schedule details.

Affiliates cite bridal programming as the most unique aspect of WE's content mix, said network senior vice president of marketing Kenetta Bailey. In addition to the TV programming, WE has made a big investment in the “WE go Bridal” area of its Web site, she added.

“We've got it on the air, online and we decided to be on the ground, too,” Bailey said of the trade-show partnership.

The bridal show attracts 170,000 consumers during its nine-month season each year — consumers who are about to make big changes in their lives, including consolidating households, Bailey said. That makes them attractive targets for WE's cable affiliates, she added.

WE will also do some market research at the shows to share with affiliates, said Bailey.

“WE TV is the cable network that created an on-air destination for bridal programming, and is truly the ideal partner for The Great Bridal Expo in terms of not only promotion that will drive foot traffic, but also creating unique experiences on the show floor that appeal to our audience,” said Bill Heaton, founder and CEO of The Great Bridal Expo Group.

WE will support the partnership with sweepstakes that will provide winners with tickets to local events in markets including Dearborn, Mich.; Dallas, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Denver, Phoenix, Philadelphia and New York.

The network will use the show to promote new bridal shows which will debut in October. These include Amazing Wedding Cakes, focusing on noted bakers in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago; My Fair Wedding, in which noted party planner David Tutera helps brides who think they have good wedding ideas but really don't; and Rich Bride, Poor Bride, aiding brides with champagne tastes to cope with their beer budget. Tutera will visit some of the shows, signing autographs and offering advice, Bailey said.

Though the tour is underway — its most recent stop was last weekend in New York — WE will have its promotional support geared up to join the Expos by mid-October, Bailey said.