Newly engaged football fans trade games for Fresno bridal show

The Fresno BeeJanuary 5, 2014 

Key playoff games were on television Sunday, but plenty of devoted football fans who proposed to their girlfriends over the holidays skipped the games to accompany their girlfriends to Fresno's annual January bridal show instead.

More than 550 people -- those recently engaged and those who have procrastinated on plans to wed -- attended Premier Bride's first bridal show this year at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center, where they could start plans for a knock-out wedding.

"I know it meant a lot to her" to come, said Rene Ramirez of Fresno, a San Francisco 49er fan who proposed on Christmas Eve. "I have (the game) recorded. That was the compromise."

Grooms, holding goodie bags, tagged along with their brides, their mothers, sisters, friends and other relatives to taste cakes, desserts and appetizers.

They looked at wedding dresses, tuxedos and found venues, photographers and rental companies for the big day.

"I didn't know you have to book so early," Ramirez said after talking to vendors who fill up at least six months in advance.

Ramirez and his fiancée, Kristal Delacerda, also of Fresno, got an early start. They are planning a November wedding with lots of luster and pink, Delacerda said.

There was plenty of bling in the convention center where party rental companies showed off crystal chandeliers, centerpieces and other decorations. It's one of those popular wedding trends that never goes away, said event organizer and Premier Bride owner Tracy Barnes.

This year, wineries are getting into the fun by promoting their locations as a wedding venue, Barnes said. And of course photo booths continue to be popular, she said.

Cristine Kutumian of Fresno and Christopher Pettibone of Fresno got engaged three weeks ago and are planning an elegant vintage and rustic Mendota wedding in June.

The couple found a photographer, a wedding invitation designer and venue that had a special $500 off booking deal.

Spending the entire day at the show wasn't so bad for Pettibone who missed his favorite team, the San Diego Chargers, play Sunday morning. At 3 p.m., Pettibone sat at a small cocktail table waiting for Kutumian who was dancing at a nearby vendor's booth.

"I made a sacrifice," Pettibone said. "But it's been helpful."

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

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