Bridal Fair has strong turnout (with video and photo galleries)WORTHINGTON — Kasey Schafer was easy to pick out of the crowd. As one of the few grooms-to-be at Saturday’s Daily Globe Bridal Fair & Prom Extravaganza, Schafer and his fiancée, Katie Jeppesen, were two of the numerous attendees at this year’s event.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Kasey Schafer was easy to pick out of the crowd.
As one of the few grooms-to-be at Saturday’s Daily Globe Bridal Fair & Prom Extravaganza, Schafer and his fiancée, Katie Jeppesen, were two of the numerous attendees at this year’s event.
“My fiancée came here to register for prizes and see what they had for dresses and colors for bridesmaids,” Schafer said following the bridal style show.
Jeppesen, who is from Sibley, Iowa, was glad to have him along.
“He wanted to come and he wanted to be a part of the wedding,” she said. “I’m very happy that he wants to be part of it. I think it’s a big deal.
“It’s awesome. I really appreciate it; we’re a team.”
The two met online, and are planning an October wedding after meeting for the first time a few months ago.
“He came over for dinner at my mom’s house,” she explained. “It was my mom and two of my sisters and me and we had dinner.
“My family is a big part of my life and they were excited to meet him.”
“I did OK,” Schafer added. “I was nervous; she said she wasn’t.”
While the couple have most of their wedding booked, Saturday’s event was helpful.
“There were a couple things and new ideas I hadn’t thought of,” Jeppesen said. “We were looking at the flowers here and we don’t have our flowers yet and the fake ones look just as real as the real ones to me. That’s a money saver, definitely. We were looking at honeymoon ideas at All About Travel.”
Vendors lined American Reformed Church, offering everything needed to plan the perfect wedding.
“It was useful and helpful to see everything I could get and choose from,” said Rachel Nystrom, who is planning a September wedding. “I live in the Worthington area and I went to the one in Sioux Falls and since I’m getting married in Worthington, I thought I’d come and check it out.”
For Nystrom, the formal wear for children caught her attention.
“Eventually I think I’ll get all my little flower girls together and go get dresses, maybe not today, but down the line I’ll get something,” she said.
At Main Street Kids’ booth, Tae Nordby was pleased with the turnout.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from different brides that some didn’t know we carried children’s formal wear and other people had been in the store before and wanted to ask me questions about different dresses I could get for them,” she said.
“It’s just something fun to do,” Nordby continued. “It’s different and you never know who you might see here and meet new contacts that might not have heard of our store before. We always have a good time doing this once a year.”
Next to Main Street Kids was the Mary Kay booth with Teresa Widboom and Kendra Van Beusekom.
“(The crowd) was better than last year,” Widboom said. “To compare it, it was very good. I think it’s important to have personal contact with people as they are coming by.
“We offer complimentary pre-bridal and pre-prom make-over sessions. We’ve been sharing a lot of information about trying to get together with them personally and share what we have to offer. We don’t sell product from our booth, so we’re really about building relationships with them and getting together at a time that works for both of them.”
While Van Beusekom was working the Mary Kay booth, she was also pulling double-duty as a model in the style show.
“It was fun,” she said of modeling. “It was very intense and it was exciting and it was fast-paced. I got to try on beautiful gowns. That was the first time I’ve ever tried on wedding gowns. It was awesome. We had great helpers getting you in and out of the dresses. It was great.”
Van Beusekom modeled one of the more interesting dresses — one that required the train of the dress to come off.
“They did warn me not too long before that the bottom of the dress comes off, so we’re going to take it off and show them that,” she explained. “I think it’s a fun way, when you have a long train and they bustle them up for the dance, but this way, it comes off for the dance. It was fun. It was a little shock, I had no idea how short it was really going to be. We all just went with it.”
With the large number of attendees, vendors were able to connect with many different brides-to-be.
“I’ve had a lot of inquiries and stuff looking for photographers,” said Kelcey Schroder, who owns a photography studio based in Sibley. “A lot of different people from different places, too.
“I came here two years ago. I couldn’t make it last year because of a scheduling conflict, but I decided to come back again. I’m trying to spread my area out a little bit and get up into Minnesota.”
Katie Serck from Five Star Catering even had some inquiries for weddings in 2013.
“It’s an easy way to talk to people who wouldn’t necessarily know we’re out there,” she said. “We advertise, but we don’t advertise a huge amount and a lot of ours is word of mouth advertising.”
Their booth was a popular one, offering free samples of Swiss cheese dip with crackers, fruit kabobs and crab bites.
“We always like to bring samples,” Serck said. “It’s becoming more popular as people are asking for tastings. This is a perfect way to get people to say, ‘Oh, I want that. That’s fantastic, I wasn’t even thinking about doing it in that direction.’
“Most people do a traditional meat and potato buffet. But lately, more and more they are going to appetizers. We always like to be different. We don’t like to just do the traditional.”
Even for brides-to-be like Maggie Schutte, whose June wedding is quickly approaching, Saturday was a good way to talk with people she’s already booked.
“I already have pretty much everything planned, but it’s just to compare prices and see what everyone has to offer,” she said. “Our DJ is here and our caterer is here, so it’s nice to get to talk to them a little bit more about things, too, and get stuff planned.”
Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen can be reached at 376-7323.