At Saturday’s edition of the 2016 Winter Bridal Spectacular in Fort Wayne, Nathan Dennison had a modest proposal for some brides-to-be.
Will you have your wedding reception at Memorial Coliseum?
In line with Dennison, the Coliseum’s vice president of sales and top promoter of its newly opened Conference and Event Center addition, some committed.
“We’ve already booked three (weddings) today, and we’re hoping for more as we have a lot of interest expressed,” he said, standing in front of a tasting station set up by Aramark, the Coliseum’s food service provider.
The stand, headed by a white-toqued chef, enticed show attendees with duck and sausage meatballs in marinara sauce and tiny pecan tarts.
The bridal show – the new venue’s inaugural event – was “highly successful,” Dennison said. He said more than 2,000 visitors were expected by the time it ends at 4 p.m.
The show, in its 25th year, was expecting more than 600 brides, said Tracy Sweeney, promoter of with show sponsor Black Tie Productions of Fort Wayne.
“We’re very happy,” she said of her experience with the new venue.
“It’s just state-of-the-art. It’s the acoustics, it’s the carpeting, and it’s the lighting. It’s luxury,” she said, adding that Coliseum staff were “outstanding.”
Among the show’s attractions are about 120 vendors of wedding goods and services, from gowns and tuxes to honeymoon locations, flowers, DJs and event planners.
However the centerpiece was a fashion show, with the trendy and the classic walking down the runway – from several gowns with low-cut or illusion backs to one with sparkly spaghetti straps that apparently were supposed to be worn draped down on the upper arms.
“There’s the ultimate princess dress,” said bride-to-be Kristen Foster of Greentown, as she watched a model in a puffy, full-skirted gown with a sweetheart neckline and all-over sparkles walk by, accompanied by a flower girl in a similarly styled dress.
“I don’t really want the princessy kind. I think I want it fitted at the top and a little flared around the bottom, not really a mermaid, more of a flare, like an A-line,” said the 24-year-old, who’s getting married Sept. 17 to Jacob Pegg. “I think I want more lace, and vintagy. I think I could go for a little sparkle, but not over the top.”
Newly engaged Sarah Plasterer, 39, of Fort Wayne attended the event with her soon-to-be stepdaughter Elizabeth Weber. Plasterer said she hadn’t even thought about gowns yet, as she became engaged just before Christmas.
And she nibbled on a meatball while assessing the Coliseum’s new space.
“I think any kind of reception could be here. They can divide it into sections,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”