Fresno event draws brides seeking ideas, booking vendors

The Fresno BeeAugust 18, 2013 

August is crunch time for Valley brides planning early 2014 weddings.

While some brides, their moms and friends leisurely explored the Premier Bride Showplace at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center on Sunday, others had checklists in hand.

Maria Garcia is midway through planning her January wedding in Fresno. Her goal on Sunday was to find a caterer and table centerpieces. She still has to find a flower-girl dress for her 6-year-old daughter, too.

"It's a little bit overwhelming but super exciting," Garcia said.

The mother and daughter joined about 500 people at Premier Bride's second bridal showcase this year to scope out florists, photographers, venues, caterers, rental companies, disc jockeys and more for their big day.

The August show is typically smaller than the January one, which attracted nearly 700 people, but brides come to this event prepared to book and ready to get things moving, said organizer Tracy Barnes of Premier Bride.

The January show tends to be a fun time for those who get engaged over the holidays, said Barnes, who has organized the show since 2005 with her business partner, Kristy Montgomery.

After a morning of browsing and sitting through a fashion show, Garcia said she had found her centerpieces and caterer. She was still undecided on a flower-girl dress, but was leaning toward a tutu-style or something with lots of bling to match her winter wedding theme.

While bling is a timeless trend, there were new vendors for brides looking for something different. Simonian Farms made its first show appearance to promote its new venue — a barn with bar and arcade games and an outdoor venue.

The farm stand on Jensen and Clovis avenues in southeast Fresno has had the venue for a little more than a year and hosted family reunions, birthday parties and more, so why not weddings, said Christy Dias of Simonian Farms.

Leslie Garretson of Coarsegold was looking for anything contemporary and garden-themed for her March wedding. She is planning an outdoor wedding, but has only bought her dress and identified the maid of honor.

"It has been very fun to snack and get ideas," Garretson said. "It's awesome to go to one place and have everyone brought to you." 

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6495, or @bonhialee on Twitter.

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