By Martin Slagter Kokomo Tribune
---- — As the calendar turns over into a new year, it’s no surprise to see a future bride-to-be get the itch to start planning for their big day.
After a holiday season that often results in proposals and engagements for couples, area business owners are beginning to notice a trend of more people diving right into planning for their wedding with a summer wedding sometimes only six months away.
That makes events like Sunday’s Greater Kokomo Bridal Gala all the more important for local couples planning their wedding for a wedding season only a few months away.
Kokomo resident Ashley Bogue got engaged in September and plans on getting married May 10, giving her eight months to nail down all of the important details.
Bogue isn’t fretting the smaller time frame, however, by keeping the wedding planning simple.
“I’m ahead of the game,” she said. “Luckily we wanted to go simple and just make it all about family. So there isn’t a lot of planning needed for that. We’re not really specific on everything we need, so we’re letting people do their own thing and contribute what they want.”
Sunday’s gala displayed 35 area businesses, which provide service of every aspect of a wedding imaginable. Cake decorators, photographers, venue managers, caterers, photo booths vendors, videographers, DJs, wedding planners, and dress and tux shop representatives were among the many on hand to offer their services and advice to future brides.
January is the ideal time to be planning a wedding for brides, but also business owners, said Sandra Tossou, owner of Dreams to Reality, which specializes in birthday and wedding cakes.
Tossou said her appointment book for wedding season begins to fill up around this time of year, with 24 weddings already scheduled for this summer. That makes the January gala an important time to fill in any open dates.
“Having a show in January is important because a lot of your brides are getting engaged during the [holiday] months leading up to the beginning of the year,” she said. “I think it gives brides a chance to see what is offered in their area.
“We fill up very quickly during the wedding season, so we have a lot of brides that plan ahead,” she added. “January and February are big months as far as bringing people in for a tasting.”
Tossou said she has seen an increased amount of future brides planning their special day with less time in advance. As far as planning goes, Tossou maintains there are simply two types of brides when it coming to wedding planning.
“You really have two types of brides,” she said. “You have the one bride that has been dreaming about their big day forever. They’ve been doing the pre-planning and all of the details in the first two months after being engaged.
“The other bride is a little more laid back,” she added. “They’re coming to you two or three months in advance.”
Katie Olsen considers herself to be the former of that description. She got engaged in May, leaving her around 14 months to plan for the Aug. 9 wedding.
Sunday’s gala gave her the opportunity to go over some of the details of the wedding and collaborate with experts in making some of her final preparations.
“I was just hoping to make connections with people that have more ideas than I do right now,” she said, adding that she was interested in learning more about flower arrangements and a photo booth for her wedding.
“With more time, it’s easier to [plan] without as much stress,” she added. “The most time I’ve spent on is the guest list, because we don’t want to leave anybody out. As long as everybody that matters to us got invited, that’s what means the most to us.”
Many of the vendors at the gala agreed that as the age of social media continues to evolve with sites like Pinterest providing future brides with endless ideas, there is more responsibility on business owners to cater to a bride’s more specialized needs.
“They’re expecting more of the candid shots,” Mar-K-Z Photography owner Julie Marchese said. “More like photo journalism where you follow the whole story from the time they’re out of bed in the morning until night.”