Anything and everything you need to organize a wedding, whether large or small, formal or informal, can be found all in one place, under one roof at the Fall Bridal Spectacular
The event, held from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave., is open to the public, but all brides-to-be need to register in advance at fortwaynebrides.com to be eligible for the many prizes to be given away that day.
“Getting married is one of the biggest events of anyone’s life and the Bridal Spectacular is a great way to celebrate with family and friends as you plan that day together,” says Tracy Sweeney, owner of Black-Tie Promotions.
More than 75 vendors will come together at the coliseum to help brides and grooms maneuver through the necessary steps when planning a wedding.
“When planning a wedding, you have to be organized, know how much money you have to spend, where you want to spend it and where you don’t want to spend it,” Sweeney says. “It takes a lot of time to plan a wedding and some things need to be done earlier and some things can’t be done until closer to the date of the event.”
Businesses featured at the Spectacular include those highlighting tuxedos, designer dresses, chocolates, gift items, flowers, photography services, travel plans, bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, mother-of-the-bride dresses, invitations, musicians, venues and more.
“The nice thing about the Bridal Spectacular is that you can meet with vendors face-to-face and decide who it is you want to work with when planning your wedding,” Sweeney says.
If just the thought of organizing a wedding is overwhelming, wedding coordinators will also be available.
Bridal, bridesmaid, and mother-of-the-bride dresses will be modeled by Wendy’s Bridal, 507 E. Coliseum Blvd., at 1 p.m. on the main stage. Tesia Lapp, owner of I Do Bridal Boutique, 7763 Coldwater Road in Fort Wayne, will be hosting the fashion show. In business for three years, the boutique carries dresses for brides, bridesmaids and flower girls, plus bridal accessories such as veils, belts, headpieces, handbags, jewelry and more. About 50 gowns will be modeled at the event, in varying sizes, colors and styles for formal and casual weddings.
One of the biggest trends in bridesmaid gowns, Lapp says, is that not every person in the bridal party will be wearing the exact same dress.
“Every woman can choose the style of gown she is most comfortable in and looks best on her, and in a color that is becoming to her, within the color scheme of the wedding. The hope is she will love the dress enough to wear it again somewhere and the different hues of the same color looks great in photographs,” she says.
The bridal gown is usually the first and most expensive piece of clothing the bride-to-be thinks about purchasing.
And in many cases, tradition is out the window, Lapp says.
“We never see white anymore. A clean, crisp, natural-looking ivory is the new white and we are also seeing a lot of champagne, blush, and even touches of black in wedding attire,” she says.
Fall weddings, too, are becoming more popular than summer ones, and so there is a huge trend toward the deep fall colors like burnt orange, marigold yellow and sage green.
For years, brides were seen wearing mostly strapless dresses. Today, there is more often some kind of strap across one or both shoulders, and sleeves are making a comeback, Lapp says. Long cathedral trains are not as popular as the shorter chapel-length train, and veils typically don’t include a blusher (over the face). Comfortable shoes, even sandals, are being chosen over high heels, she says.
“When making decisions about what they are going to wear, brides are concerned about comfort and picking out a gown and shoes they can live in all day, so they can enjoy their special time,” she says.
Although social media has made it easier for women to research what look they want in a bridal gown, Lapp always recommends trying on different styles of dresses to be sure you are getting the right one.
“You can’t really tell if you like a dress unless you try it on,” she says. “I appreciate brides knowing what they want, but I also want them to be open-minded so they can find that perfect dress. The best part of working with brides is when I see them fall in love with the dress they decide to buy, and it’s not always the one they thought they wanted.”
Another business that has a lot to offer at one location is The Monogram Shoppe in Covington Plaza, 6410 West Jefferson Blvd., #5. The store specializes in personalized stationery and invitations, in addition to offering gifts for any and all occasions.
“This is our primary business,” says owner Sara Keltsch. “We sit down with each bride and work out the details, giving them the personal service they need and want. We can help them with everything from the engagement to the wedding. Brides are always so excited when they see all we can offer them.”
“What I like about helping brides is each one is different,” Keltsch continues. “We feel privileged to be part of the happiest days of their lives.”
Lucille’s Bar-B-Que, 9011 Lima Road, will help you with dining plans. They opened a new location this spring at 7225 Maple Crest Road, which features a restaurant, bar and catering services. The local business will be offering samples of meats and sides at the Bridal Spectacular, including samples of their famous pulled pork, brisket, cheesy potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and a variety of homemade barbeque sauces.
This is the fifth year Lucille’s has been at the Bridal Spectacular, helping couples see their options, says Catering Director Adrienne Wilson. When it comes to meal planning, it’s a one-stop shop.
“We do everything from start to finish, including picking out the menu, staying within a budget, creating a floor plan, offering bar service, and renting tablecloths, flowers, table settings and more to complete the dining experience. We do everything from basic plans to over-the-top elegance,” she says.
Wilson has noticed that most couples choose to bypass tradition and will do something more meaningful to them, with fewer guests and a smaller venue.
“I always tell brides no matter what choices you make, you can’t please everyone, so get what you want and can afford. After all, the wedding is a day to celebrate the bride and groom and the people who mean the most to them. Individual opinions don’t matter – it’s about making a day to remember,” she says.
The Fall Bridal Spectacular is one of three bridal shows put on at the Coliseum each year. A spring show is held in May and a winter show is every January.
Several shows are necessary to keep future brides up to date on trends in fashion, seasonal colors, venues and more, Sweeney says.
All pre-registered brides get a $200 gift card, a “Bride” bag and a “Bride” badge. The first 50 grooms will get an official “Groom” t-shirt.
Admission is $10. Kids 12 and younger are admitted free.