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When dreaming of that perfect wedding day becomes the exciting reality of planning for it, the Bride Blu fair at the Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa in Michigan City has more vendors than ever ready to help.

“If you’re planning a wedding, this is one of the premier bridal fair events in Northwest Indiana, one you don’t want to miss, and it’s better every year,” says Cathy Horning, manager at Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa, which is cosponsoring the event with The Times Media Co. “Everything is here that you need, and you’ll want to get the best.”

The event runs from noon-3 p.m. Feb. 17, with early entry at 11 a.m. More than 60 vendors from throughout Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan will show the latest wedding fashions and trends, Horning said, with pricings and visuals from professionals.

It’s Bride Blu’s seventh year, expanding upon last year’s success with the opening of another, smaller banquet room to accommodate more vendors. Those entering at 11 a.m. will tour the upstairs ballroom full of wedding décor while enjoying complimentary champagne and hors d’oeuvres provided by Blue Chip, repeated a couple of times during the show. A cash bar will be available.

Two fashion shows will take stage in a central area of the hotel's main ballroom. No registration is necessary, but brides who register at the Paris House of Bridal booth will be eligible to win prizes from a Platinum grand prize $1,000 bridal package to numerous Gold Packages of $500 each.

“We’ve put together a high-end fashion show that will make attendees feel as if they’re at New York Fashion Week,” says Renee Fennell, owner of Paris House of Bridal in Michigan City. Professional models will show this season's trends from Paris House of Bridal’s extensive designer lines, including Spotlighted Watters, Maggie Sottero, Morilee, Kitty Chen, Allure and more.

“Attendees love that many vendors give door prizes, and Blue Chip Casino & Spa is providing a great prize, too,” says Horning. The venue gives attendees a ticket for a chance to win a trip for two to Las Vegas, airfare and stay included.

Vendors include professional photographers, videographers, DJs, makeup stylists, caterers, florists, dance studios, venues, jewelers and more. “Most of our vendors come back each year because they know lots of brides book right here at the show,” says Horning, and some offer a discount for booking at the show.

Some booths include china setups and videos of products and services. Others, including bakeries such as Designer Desserts, offer samplings. “People absolutely love coming to our prominent booth at Bride Blu,” says Adam Wiltfang, owner of the Valparaiso bakery. “We’re known for our visually stunning desserts, and our reputation within the bridal community sets us apart.”

The booth will offer bites of Designer Desserts' most popular wedding flavors, such as Pink Champagne, Tuxedo Cheesecake, Crème Brulee and Red Velvet. All are available in three sizes, from mini to full size, customizable to wedding themes and colors. “So the possibilities are really endless,” says Wiltfang, who offers consultations at the booth.

With some brides booking a year and a half out, Bride Blu is a good opportunity for them to see what’s new and how everything can look, Horning says. Blue Chip has set up a banquet room as ceremony space, so couples can have their wedding and reception there. Blue Chip also offers a wedding package, including the cake and its beautiful atmosphere, said Horning. “A company that works with us does event lighting and décor, so brides at our venue can choose options like a draped ceiling for an elegant look.”

With 800-plus people expected, including brides’ friends and relatives, the expansive Blue Chip provides for good flow.

“People have told me, ‘Oh, I love Bride Blu, I went there with my girlfriend and I’ll be there (this year) for sure.’ Brides love the upscale atmosphere that tells them here is where they’ll find everything to make their day magical,” Horning said.

The event is free for brides who register at brideblu.com; admission at the door is $5.

Amenities include free parking, including valet, complimentary coat check and complimentary tote bag.

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