Wichita bridal show inspires ideas for couples’ weddings

01/11/2014 5:11 PM

01/11/2014 5:12 PM

If the crowd at the Bridal & Event Expo on Saturday afternoon at Century II is any indication, there’s bound to be a lot of weddings in the Wichita area between now and spring 2015.

The semi-annual event, which also runs from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, at times was a stop-and-go journey with the thick crowds who had access to nearly 250 vendors.

“It seems to be the popular thing to do this weekend,” said Nicole Boles of Wichita, who was at the show Saturday to do some wedding planning.

The show’s organizer, Cindy Uloho of Alpha Promotions, estimated “several thousand” people had attended the show by midafternoon.

“Fantastic,” Uloho said of her attendance expectations. “It’s the biggest ever.”

She said the show wasn’t aimed solely at future brides and grooms but also people planning for their proms, quinceaneras and other events. That’s why she added “& Event” to the show’s formal title.

“It’s not just a bridal show,” said Uloho, a registered nurse who organized the first Bridal Expo in January 19 years ago. “It’s an all-event show.”

But it’s a safe bet that a big chunk of those thousands of expo-goers on Saturday were there to plan their weddings, even if they haven’t formally announced their engagements.

That’s the case for Boles, who was attending the show with her boyfriend, Ryan Wolf, also of Wichita.

“We’re not engaged – yet,” Wolf said.

Boles said she learned that there is “some great cake” options available for weddings. And the show made her and Wolf think of things to add to their wedding-planning list that they hadn’t thought of before.

“There’s so much more than what you think about,” she said. “It’s kind of a one-stop shop.”

Wolf spent part of his time at the expo in its “man cave,” an area just off the expo’s main floor with lounge chairs, couches, a cash bar and a projection TV broadcasting the Kansas State University-University of Kansas men’s basketball game.

“It was an attractive option (for Wolf) to come to the man cave,” Boles said, laughing. Wolf clarified that he had spent only a third of his time there.

Uloho said she added that option to the expo about four years ago to give grooms and others a place “to hang out.” But there were about as many women as men in the man cave on Saturday afternoon.

The man cave is where Jennifer Thomas and Brad Tutak stopped briefly before checking out the rest of the expo.

Thomas and Tutak, both of Wichita, said they are planning an April 2015 wedding and were at the expo to get ideas for venues for their rehearsal dinner and reception.

Thomas said they had learned “some pretty good ideas” for planning their wedding, including colors, flowers, decorations and vendors.

And “we realized there are so many more places” than they had thought to have their rehearsal dinner and reception, Tutak added.

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