Bridal and Event Expo showcases new trends, old favorites

01/14/2012 5:00 AM

01/14/2012 7:03 PM

Hannah Hunsinger is getting married in — you guessed it — June. She has a lot of the details already ironed out, including her preference for the presence of peacock feathers. Plans are to put them in her bridesmaids’ hair and in their bouquets.

She’s not so sure she’d like a print of them in the bustle of her wedding dress, however.

But she could if she wanted to. That’s one thing brides-to-be are finding out this weekend at the Bridal and Event Expo at Century II.

“We’ve got country girl, biker girl, leopard, zebra, camouflage,” Scott Presley of Tomorrow’s Memories told bride-to-be Amanda Bryson as he pointed out wedding dresses on the mannequins in his booth. His business, with its store in Andover, decided to skip the few years that it usually takes to bring a trend to the Midwest and is offering white bridal gowns accessorized with wild prints and distinct personalities.

“Traditional is not in style anymore,” Presley said, though he was quick to add that the store also sells traditional gowns.

Bryson liked the idea that she could customize a gown from the store and yet be able to rent it instead of having to buy it.

“I kind of like the zebra,” she said, indicating a dress cinched with a black sash, a tuft of zebra print running through the skirt, the veil edged in the telltale black and white stripe. She’d tone it down if she went that route, though.

Kim Andrews of Hays traveled to Wichita for the expo, looking for ideas to go with her rustic-elegance wedding in October. It will be all glassware and burlap and wood.

“The guy I’m marrying is a country boy,” Anderson said. She’d found bouquets at the bridal show spiked with real curlicue fern fronds that fit the theme.

Couples are looking to put fun into their weddings, but “two-thirds of brides still want a wedding cake,” said Kelly Duggan, owner of Velvet Cream Bakery. What else would they have? you might ask. Well, while the trend of cake pops is already fading from some big cities, it’s just hitting its stride in Wichita, she said.

Instead of serving a wedding cake, some couples are setting up dessert tables at their reception, where the little cake pops on a stick covered in colorful icing are arrayed on stands and around foam forms to look like cakes. The pops offer guests a variety of flavors and couples the simplicity of not needing people to cut the cake, Duggan said.

The expo provided Ryan Ballard and Erica Kuhlman the exact match of teal and maroon in vests and ties for their groomsmen. Other people were looking for something perhaps more fundamental: a place to have the wedding. Venues at the expo included the Tanganyika Wildlife Park, Nativity Pines and the Prairie Rose Ranch — and three churches.

Epworth United Methodist Church was the first church to have a booth at the show three years ago, Matt Sullivan said. His wife, Dana, is the wedding coordinator at Epworth.

“We decided to do some outreach. We decided to stick our necks out,” Matt Sullivan said. And the result has been great, he said. Anyone can get married at the church — they don’t have to be a member, be Methodist, or even believe in God. But some people who get married there start attending the church, Sullivan said.

While one young couple held hands and kissed between booths, groom-to-be Jeremy Squier sat in front of a big screen watching ESPN and drinking a beer in the “man cave” provided at the expo.

“I made sure there was something for the guys,” Squier said, his cellphone at the ready. “When she needs me,” he said of his fiancee, who was exploring all things bridal with her mother, “she’ll come get me. I just told her I had a beer and she was jealous.”

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