The Central Pennsylvania Bridal Expo on Sunday was designed as a one-stop shop for anyone planning weddings or with pending nuptials.
More than 70 vendors at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel offered services and products such as dresses, formal attire, food, disc jockeys and cakes. The 2014 Expo attracted thousands of people and set a record for bride pre-registration, said Diana Stapleford, general manager of Magnum Broadcasting.
The event has been a tradition for more than 30 years, she said.
“There truly is something for every type of wedding, whether you’re having a barbecue in the back yard or the most elegant (ceremony),” she said.
The four-hour expo included models in wedding dresses, dozens of booths displaying services and free food samples.
Lindsay McCullough, who recently opened a business temporarily named The Salon, said Sunday was a good chance to meet people and promote her new business. She brought spray-on makeup samples and had a hair styling demonstration while she talked with interested people.
She said The Salon is perfect for weddings because they are able to coordinate hairstyles for the women and offer men straight-razor shaves. With thousands of people walking past her booth, McCullough was able to get lots of feedback.
“This is probably one of the best things we could have done,” she said.
It’s also a good networking opportunity for show veterans such as Daniel Vaughn, of Daniel Vaughn Designs. He has attended the show for about a decade, saying it’s one of his better business creators.
He uses it as a chance to present his services and talk to as many people as possible.
Vaughn doesn’t take any appointments during the show, but he said he gets an influx of calls in the weeks after.
It’s also beneficial for the brides because they are able to meet new people all in one place.
Kenna Sharkey, who is planning to get married in September, said the expo came at the perfect time. Though she has seven months to plan the wedding, she said many services get booked quickly and she needs to work ahead.
Sharkey had never been to a wedding expo, but she had a positive experience Sunday, wanting even more time to talk to more vendors.
“It’s a lot of information,” she said, “but everyone has been very nice.”
It’s also beneficial for The Penn Stater, Penn State Hospitality Sales Manager Norm Brown said.
Having a unique event that draws lots of people is positive exposure for the conference center and could draw people back, he said.
He hopes that the show has found its new home at the venue and said there is even more room for growth in future years.