By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent January 14, 2013 2:02PM
Michelle Sparks (front) and Emily Guzek, both of Valparaiso, Ind., display wedding dresses from Here Comes the Dress during the Northwest Indiana Bridal Expo on Jan. 13, 2013, at the Porter County Expo Center. | Michael Gard~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 16, 2013 6:13AM
Nicole Valentovich of Crown Point got engaged just before Christmas.
She’s hoping to get married in May 2014, and is considering wedding venues, among other details, so the third annual Northwest Indiana Bridal Expo on Sunday at the Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso came in handy.
“Specifically, I was trying to see what venues have to offer, what packages, because it’s overwhelming,” Valentovich said, adding she also looked into hair and makeup options and florists. “The florist information was really interesting to learn about, and the pricing.”
The expo featured almost 90 vendors and allowed brides-to-be the convenience of comparing what vendors had to offer, plus a variety of the types of services they’ll need.
Organizers said more than 500 prospective brides came to the event, and most of them brought along friends and relatives.
Stretch limousines parked inside and outside the Expo Center, and a handful of stages featured women modeling wedding gowns. Harpists played in various areas, while women lined up to try wedding cake, pasta and other goodies.
“It’s nice to compare prices and it’s nice to see what they have to offer,” Valentovich said.
Samantha Wright of Wanatah is further along in her wedding details, and is getting married Oct. 26. She said she has her wedding planned, sort of.
“But I’m very indecisive,” Wright said. “Mostly I need to find a DJ, and I haven’t found a dress yet.”
She said she mostly came to the bridal show to learn.
“It allows you to see lots of different vendors, people from farther away I probably never would have head of, but who are still in my area,” Wright said.
The event also was a boon for vendors. Nikki Troumouliaris, who runs a Stella and Dot jewelry and accessory business out of her home, said she participated in the expo for the first time.
“I think it’s great; they get a lot of traffic here,” she said. “I would definitely do it again next year.”
Troumouliaris added brides who weren’t shopping for accessories yet could go to her website, www.stelladot.com/sites/nikkistylist/profile, when they’re ready. Brides also can host jewelry trunk shows of Stella and Dot products to help offset their costs.
“Weddings are so expensive; a lot of brides are opting to have these in-home parties to get their jewelry for free (or get items for their bridesmaids),” Troumouliaris said.