WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | The elegant strains of a harp greeted brides-to-be and their families Sunday at the Northwest Indiana Bridal Expo.
Hosted by Louie's Tux Shop, the free event was at the Porter County Expo Center for its fifth consecutive year, featuring products, services, samples and fashion shows.
Harpist Cynthia Shelhart's Canon in D and "Bridal Chorus" helped set the mood and soothe shoppers who might be overwhelmed with all the choices involved in wedding planning.
“The harp is a very relaxing instrument and has a calming influence,” said Shelhart, owner of HarperCraft Productions in Chesterton.
About 250 vendors displayed bridal fashions, salon and spa services, floral designs, wedding invitations, limousine services, photography, reception venues, catering, honeymoon travel, wedding cakes, music and lighting.
Some 500 soon-to-be-brides preregistered for the event, and hundreds more were expected to register at the door, said Anna Stover, assistant manager of Louie's Tux Shop in Merrillville.
Bride-to-be Krissy Ray, of Valparaiso, perused an album of wedding pictures featuring fresh and silk floral arrangements by the Blossom Shoppe in Highland.
Ray, who was joined by her mom, Mary, and future stepdaughter, Abigail Roberts, 12, said she got engaged in December and hopes to get married this fall.
“I'm just looking for ideas,” she said. “We really need to lock down the date before we decide on colors.”
Cindy Batka, owner of the Blossom Shoppe, said today's brides are very knowledgeable about wedding products because they can get information on the Internet.
“The demand for quality shows has grown,” Batka said. “The brides are more educated, and vendors have to rise to the challenge.”
At the Chesterton Cake Shoppe booth, brides were treated to samples of pink champagne, chocolate, yellow and strawberry cupcakes.
Bride-to-be Jamie Kucsera, of Highland, munched on a cupcake as she prepared to hit the room full of vendors. Her entourage included her mom, cousin, and future mother- and sister-in-law.
Kucsera said she had some ideas for her wedding, but she came to the show to get more.
“We're having an outdoor party theme,” she said. “We got engaged on top of a mountain in Lake Placid so we're keeping with an outdoor theme.”