Annual bridal show Saturday

Brides and entourages will once again have the chance to one-stop shop for the big day during the 2014 Marietta Bridal Extravaganza-“Celebrate the Romance.”

The Bridal Extravaganza, which began in 1999, will take place Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center at Marietta College. With 66 local vendors and attendance predicted to be near 1,000, coordinator Marcia Stewart describes the atmosphere as “electric.”

“We moved (it) from Sunday to Saturday in the hopes that more can attend,” said Stewart, a 42-veteran wedding coordinator and owner of Ash-Hanson Flowers and Wedding Innovations. Stewart noted the increased diversity of vendors this year as more unusual and one-of-a-kind wedding services come into trend. The show allows brides to see everything that is needed to plan a wedding, from the engagement to the honeymoon.

“The vendors always outdo themselves, and it always results in the most beautiful booths,” she said. “We have girls who end up planning their entire weddings that afternoon at the show.”

The show also features several door prizes and a grand prize of $500 to use at any of the vendors. Three fashion shows take place throughout the afternoon, showcasing everything from sleek bridal gowns to ring bearer tuxes, all available from local businesses.

Debbie Johnston, owner of Grant’s Rentals in Parkersburg, has been coming to the bridal extravaganza since its founding.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to shop online but if you shop local you can see it, touch it, and you have more choices. Are you getting what you think you’re getting when shopping online?” Johnston said.

Johnston rents everything from tables and chairs to china, and she notes a rising trend in more elegant weddings that are veering from more traditional styles.

“Once (attendees) have been to the show, my reservations go up,” she said.

The Village Cakery LLC. in Vincent, bakes up about 150 wedding cakes per year, and owner Cindy Mallahan also feels the benefit of attending the extravaganza.

“We usually book 30 weddings from the show,” Mallahan said, emphasizing the need to avoid procrastination. “Book everything in advance, especially cakes. I suggest nine months.”

Mallahan will be hauling in three sample cakes and samples for 2,000 people.

Some vendors aren’t yet veterans. Lori-Friend Hanson, of Hanson Enhancements photography in Marietta, is a hobbyist photographer-turned professional participating in the show for the first time.

“I’ve shot several weddings before, but I’m hoping to use this to get my name out as a professional,” Hanson said.

Stewart stresses involving the groom as much as possible and never underestimating the need for a coordinator.

“Eventually you have to let go of the planning and be a bride,” Stewart said, and that’s what the show promotes. “The vendors all have the bride in mind. You have to love brides and love weddings, and they all do.”

Tickets cost $5 a person and children under 10 are admitted free of charge. For more information, visit www.mariettabridalshow.com