Advice before ‘I do’

Scores of brides and their entourages poured into the Best Western Regency Inn Sunday afternoon to sample area vendors’ services in preparation of their big day.

More than 30 area vendors offered services ranging from music to photography and goods ranging from horse d’oeuvres to jewelry. The event, put on by the Times-Republican, rang in its sixth year by offering door prizes, including a grand prize $300 travel voucher.

New this year was flower girl dresses on the runway show.

“There is a lot of stuff to pick from,” said McKenzie Roseland, 26, of Marshalltown.

Although she and her fianc have yet to set a date, she said the expo is a good chance to get ideas for everything from floral arrangements to cakes. Roseland said it is important that she support local shops. Her grandmother, Charlene Roseland, is the co-owner of Rhubarb & Lace, 30 E. Main St.

Susan and Randy Beichley came out to scout ideas for their 20-year-old daughter who attends college in Minnesota. In particular, Susan said, invitations and accommodations for the wedding guests were high on her list of priorities.

“It’s very nice to have many different vendors in one place,” she said.

The Gladbrook couple has helped plan the weddings of their two other daughters but said this was their first time coming to the bridal expo for ideas.

Bride-to-be Kayla Gratopp, 20, of Des Moines, said she wants to make sure the food at her wedding is good so that everyone has a good time. The expo acted as a forum to exchange ideas.

“It’s nice to see I am not the only one who has these questions,” she said.

The day concluded with a runway show displaying wedding gowns, tuxedos, bridesmaid dresses and even dresses for the mothers of the bride and groom.