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The annual expo features everything for the nuptials -- and beyond.



Published: Mon, January 10, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The annual expo features everything for the nuptials -- and beyond.

LIBERTY -- Suzanne Valentine had been in the bridal show for less than 90 minutes and already had chosen a videographer and had an idea on the gifts for her bridal party.

Valentine, 22, who will be married Sept. 17, said she was looking for some new ideas when she decided to attend Sunday's bridal show at the Holiday Inn MetroPlex in Liberty with her aunt.

And with more than 30 businesses ready to offer their services for everything from videos and a band or DJ to new furniture and a retirement account, Valentine and the expected crowd of more than 1,000 others were in fertile territory.

Valentine, of Youngstown, said the women in her bridal party may get an engraved gift, an idea hatched after she visited the Etchings Unlimited booth. "It wasn't something I was planning to do, but I think that may be a good idea."

15th year

That's the whole idea of the event, called "The Premiere Bridal Show of the Year," said Lori Dubasik, owner of Evaline's Bridal in Warren, which put on the show, now in its 15th year.

Throughout the large room, businesses were doing their best to attract brides and show off their products. There were videos on large screens at one booth, brochures laid out at every table and a band playing near the front of the room.

Even officials with US Bank, offering information on new accounts, mortgage services and financial and retirement planning, thought of a way to attract customers.

That's where the two large dishes filled with cheese cubes, slices of salami and olives came into play. "We're enticing them with the appetizers," Nancy Tabor said, smiling.

Over at the Treasured Moments Video & amp; Photography display, owner John Bagnola stood in front of a video display of his company's work, wearing a tuxedo and a smile.

"We have about 30 seconds to make sure we make a good impression," he said. "If you don't make them laugh, if you don't make a good impression, you've lost your chance."

While businesses and soon-to-be brides were bountiful, a quick scan of the room showed men to be present in much smaller numbers.

A few good men

Men like Paul Neff, 34, of Austintown, who was walking from booth to booth with his fianc & eacute;e, Talli Onesti of Youngstown. They will be married July 29 next year.

Onesti laughed when asked whether Neff had been eager to come to the bridal show. She did say he had a couple of questions just before they walked into the hotel.

"He wanted to know if there would a lot of guys here, and I told him probably not," she said, and then paused to look around the room. "I guess I was right."

Prospective brides walked through the room alone, others with their mom or another family member, and some with larger groups of family and friends.

But not everyone who paid $7 to get into the show had a connection to a future bride.

One Warren woman carrying a handful of business cards and brochures said her 25-year-old daughter has no wedding plans with her longtime boyfriend.

But maybe after secretly dropping off the brochures and other bridal information to her daughter, that will change.

"This is definitely wishful thinking," she said of her decision to go to the bridal show. "Let's just say I am praying."




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