By Carson Gerber
Tribune staff writer
Ashlei Russell, 22, was looking for a place to have her wedding reception. On Sunday, she said she thought she may have found it.
And where she found it was at the 17th-annual Bridal Show held at the Kokomo Event and Conference Center Sunday.
Russell was just one of more than 100 brides-to-be who headed to the expo, where over 25 local businesses dealing in wedding gowns, tuxedos, photos and cakes showed off their wares for couples planning their special day.
“It’s really just the perfect place for brides to come to, because it makes it easy,” said Jessica Green, a radio host on Z92.5 who helped plan the event. “Wedding planning can be absolutely terrible, and this is just an attempt to make it a little bit easier.”
For 22-year-old Erica Wenger, the bridal show definitely helped her get ready for her wedding in September. Wenger said she came looking for cake ideas, and walked away with a catering service and DJ for her reception.
And Chris Stevens, program director at Z92.5 who helped plan the expo, said that’s exactly what it’s all about.
“This is a great show for brides-to-be or mothers of the bride to come and get ideas for that special day,” he said. “A few years back, I’d never really heard much about bridal shows. Now, it’s like everywhere you go there’s a bridal show. And it’s a great thing, because this gives you the spectrum and the ideas for your wedding.”
Not only does it give them ideas, Stevens said, but it also lets people know they don’t have to leave Kokomo to plan their wedding.
“These are our businesses right here in Kokomo that are offering the same things people might be going to Indianapolis or Chicago to get,” he said. “This allows people to see what Kokomo has to offer.”
That was the case for Mary Sirmons, who opened the bridal shop Mirror Mirror in May on South Washington Street. She said this is the first bridal show she’s attended, and hopes it will give her new business some exposure.
“We’re just getting our name out,” she said.
Brides also got a first-hand look at the up-and-coming trends for wedding gowns and dresses during a fashion show, where models displayed some of the gowns available at local businesses.
So what is the newest trend in wedding gowns? According to Sirmons, it’s feathers and sequin stones. Why?
“Anything that doesn’t look like their mother’s gown, that’s what brides want,” she said with a laugh.
Stevens said this year’s bridal show went smoothly, and estimated hundreds attended the expo.
“It’s been a successful event and we look forward to continuing to build it up over the upcoming years,” he said. “I think it will continue to grow.”
Russell said she ended up thinking about choosing Easy Acre Farms for her reception. It’s an option she said she probably wouldn’t have considered if she hadn’t stopped by the show Sunday.
“I’m definitely glad I came,” Russell said.
Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He may be reached by phone at 765-854-6739, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.