Bridal display puts it all together

By Virginia Ross

More than 40 area vendors showed their specialties at the MetroPlex event.

GIRARD — Bride-to-be Traci Pondillo had no problem choosing her wedding dress.

The Boardman woman modeled several gowns but quickly went back to the first one she tried on, knowing all along it was the one for her.

“I knew it was right, and that was it,” she said. “That was pretty easy.”

But picking the right centerpieces, invitations and caterer hasn’t been as swift, 36-year-old Pondillo explained. Like dozens of other area women preparing for their weddings, Pondillo opted Sunday to do some one-stop planning at the Bridal Show at the MetroPlex in Liberty Township.

She is set to marry Steve Pecchia, 34, also of Boardman, on Oct. 10.

“There’s a lot of planning and a lot of details I still have to work out,” said Pondillo, whose sister is also preparing to wed this year. “It’s nice to come to a show like this because you can see everything up close and get some ideas, and everything is right here.”

The show, in its third year, featured more than 40 area vendors specializing in wedding services. Prospective brides and their guests had opportunities to browse the latest in floral arrangements, centerpieces, wedding cakes, dinner settings, tuxedos and, of course, wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses.

Grooms, including Charles Foster, 23, of East Palestine, walked alongside their brides-to-be as vendors served them entrees and wedding cake samples and other treats. Foster said his fiancee, 20-year-old Samantha Wolfe, also of East Palestine, already made most of the decisions about their upcoming nuptials, scheduled for Aug. 1.

“I’m mostly here to support her,” he said. “It’s important to know what’s going on and everything. I just wanted to be here for her.”

Foster and Wolfe, who became engaged Dec. 24, 2007, agreed they appreciated having so many options at arm’s length Sunday afternoon.

“Everything is here,” Wolfe said. “You have caterers and there’s a wedding planner and just so many things to look at and consider like wedding cakes and cookies and everything. It’s so nice to have everything right here; instead of online or on the phone, you can see it all up close. It makes it all real and more personal.”

Vendors such as Mary Ann Vignone of Cakes by Mary Ann in New Castle, Pa., or Teri and Paul Moser, resident managers at Julia’s Bed & Breakfast in Hubbard, said the bridal show gives them a chance to meet and mingle with several prospective clients at once, share some experience and offer a little advice.

“Bridal shows have become more and more popular,” said Doug Cornwell, floral designer at Town ’n Country Nursery and Florist in New Springfield, which provides floral arrangements for weddings and other occasions.

“I’ve been doing this [floral arranging] for 30 years and I can see the positive response at the shows. Everything the couples need to think about and consider is right here. A lot has changed, but there’s still a lot of tradition.

“It’s not a question of in style or out of style anymore. It’s more about what each bride specifically likes. I tell the brides that it’s their day, to go with what they like, make their own choices, and we’ll work around that,” he added.

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