Ready to walk the aisle

LEWISTOWN -While blustery winds chilled the air outside, a couple hundred people found a warm and friendly atmosphere inside the Lewistown Country Club on Sunday afternoon at the Fifth Annual Juniata Valley Bridal and Prom Expo, presented by The Sentinel.

Many area brides, along with their entourages, inspected the goods displayed by 30 vendors on two levels at the country club, seeking the new and unique for their weddings.

“The cake,” caught the eye of Madison Betush, of McVeytown, who was just about to sample a slice of chocolate and vanilla cake from the Cakes by Margie display.

Betush came to the expo “to see what’s here,” for her Oct. 12 wedding to Dylan Zong, also of McVeytown. She also said she was impressed that she found a vendor for linens at the expo.

Margie Wagner, of Cakes by Margie, has been a vendor at all of the past bridal expos sponsored by The Sentinel, but this was the first year her display included a tray of cupcakes. The confections, decorated with swirls of turquoise icing, showcased a new trend that has become popular at wedding receptions, Wagner said.

Another new item was on display at the Kish Printing booth. Kay Semler showcased a large seating chart that almost resembled a giant menu, printed on a sturdy posterboard suitable for future framing.

The seating chart replaces the traditional table holding tiny place cards at the entrance of the reception, Semler said. All of the guests are listed on the chart, with their table number printed after their name. When guests arrive, they merely find their name on the chart, check their table number, then look for their seat.

While seating charts are a new trend, Semler sees the recent “Save the date” cards fading in popularity. Now, many bridal couples are personalizing their stationery items with photos or meaningful artwork that can be printed onto announcements, invitations, and even fans meant for guests to use at outdoor weddings.

While some of the brides-to-be attending the expo are just embarking on their wedding planning, other brides are headed to the altar soon, but couldn’t resist the expo.

Rebecca Filson, of Lewistown, who will marry Michael Reeder of Newport on June 8, attended the expo because “it’s a chance to see the local options.” While most of her wedding planning is done, Filson said she attended the expo to get ideas “to help with the last minute details.”

Ashley Kitting, of McVeytown, had the same idea, and it paid off for her. Her wedding to Greg Dunmire, also of McVeytown, will take place on Aug. 17, and while she said most of her planning is complete, she came to the expo “for ideas and to see if I forgot anything.” At the expo she found ideas for jewelry gifts for her bridesmaids.

In addition to visiting vendor tables, guests at the expo heard a presentation on prom gown trends, saw live models in gowns from Simply Elegant Bridal Shop, of State College, and watched a dancing demonstration by Jessie Foster and Valerie Zehring, of Jessie Foster’s Ballroom Dance School in Harrisburg.

Angela Seler, of Fabulous Formals by Laurajean in McClure, told the crowd that the popular prom gown colors this year are “soft, subtle pastels. There are still some prints out there, but black and white and gold, and pastels are popular this year.”

Kristen Ortiz, of Simply Elegant Bridal, showed four gowns that she said flatter all body shapes, especially the drop waist style and the fit and flare style. Her young daughter also modeled a flower girl dress, which was “simple and classic,” she said.

Brides thinking beyond the wedding also found ideas for honeymoons at the expo.

“The ah-ha moment, the eyes-lighting-up moment at our table is the honeymoon registry,” said Susan Blyth, who manned the L&S Travel table for her daughter, Lindsay Smith, who owns the Centre Hall-based business.

A honeymoon registry, she explained, works like a gift registry, with the gift being money put toward the couple’s honeymoon. Blyth said one of her daughter’s clients had 50 percent of the cost of their honeymoon paid through the registry. A lot of brides were interested in that aspect of the travel agency’s services, she said.