Bridal show one-stop shopping for couples
By Lu Ann Franklin – Times Correspondent | Posted: Monday, March 22, 2010 12:05 am
MERRILLVILLE | From the flavor of the wedding cake to the honeymoon destination, engaged couples face myriad decisions in planning their nuptials.
More than 70 vendors offered guidance and a multitude of options to couples Sunday at The Times/Shore Bride 2010 Bridal Show at the Radisson Hotel. The fourth annual event coincided with the publication of the spring issue of Shore Bride magazine.
“It’s a great opportunity for the brides and the vendors,” said Christina Page, an event planner with Devoted Weddings and Events of Merrillville, who helped coordinate the event’s fashion show. “Brides get ideas about everything — photos, DJs, florists, invitations. It’s one-stop shopping. And there are different price brackets, depending on the couple’s budget.”
The concept of everything under one roof drew hundreds of attendees. With work and school schedules, some brides-to-be said the bridal fair was an ideal way to make comparisons.
“You see a lot more options,” said Irene Panousis, 25, of Crown Point, who is getting married in the summer of 2011. “I’m just getting starting (with planning). I wanted to see what was available in venues, flowers and photography.”
Panousis’ mother, Kathy, said so much has changed since she was a bride 28 years ago.
“This is very informative,” she said. “I was more excited (about attending the Bridal Show) than my daughter was at first.”
Leah Johnson, of Merrillville, also came to the Bridal Show with her mother, Lynne Johnson, of Gary, and friend Crisjon Sanders, of Merrillville. With her wedding slated for the fall of 2011, the 25-year-old bride-to-be said she was looking for flowers and a larger place to hold her reception because the guest list already contains 300 names.
“This saves from driving all over, and it saves gas,” Lynne Johnson said.
“We’re keeping Leah on track,” Sanders said. “Weddings are more like productions today.”
With their marriage less than three months away, Maribeth Neely, of Romeoville, Ill., and Keith Krikau, of Schererville, shopped for limousines, a DJ and a spa/hair salon.
“We’ve already gotten our florist, photographer and hall at another event,” Neely said. “This is the largest bridal fair we’ve been to.”
Although a lot of wedding planning is now done through the Internet, Krikau said, bridal shows give couples a chance to talk with vendors.
“You get an idea of what vendors are out there, and you can see the products in person,” he said. “It’s better than picking someone out of the phone book.”
Samples of wedding cake and other food drew crowds to booths such as Strongbow Inn’s.
“We brought three sheet cakes, 150 hors d’oeuvres and 150 pastries today,” said Samantha Engel, retail bakery associate at the Valparaiso restaurant, as attendees lined up to take a taste.
Other vendors offered free services to customers.
“We’re providing free hair and makeup for the bride and 20 percent off the total purchase,” said Mary Shaw, owner of Hair Sculptors Salon & Spa in Valparaiso. “We’re a 10-station salon, so we can handle large wedding parties.”
Raffle prizes provided by vendors also were awarded during the fashion show.
Emceed by radio DJ Seth “tower” Hurd, of 89.7 Shine.FM, the show featured gowns and tuxedos by Cupid Wedding & Portrait Studios, of Valparaiso; Elegance Wedding & Evening Wear, of Highland; Louie’s Tux Shop in Merrillville, Portage and Michigan City; and Robert Taylor Wedding Shoppe & Tuxedos, of Crown Point.
SHORE BRIDE LAUNCHES NEW WEB SITE
A Web site about all things bridal debuted Sunday in conjunction with The Times/Shore Bride 2010 Bridal Show.
Sponsored by Shore Bride Magazine, a publication of The Times Media Group, http://www.shorebrideonline.com features all local content including photography and a list of all the bridal businesses in the area, said Julia Perla, managing editor of Shore Magazine.
“No other Web site has that kind of listing. We’ll also have blogs, videos and local wedding experts as columnists,” Perla said. “Brides can also sign up for a newsletter with the latest on what’s happening on the wedding scene.”