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New ideas emerge at Bridal Fair 2006

WORTHINGTON -- What can a bridal couple do to make their wedding day unique?

How about a yellow polka dot cake, a chocolate fountain, harp music or riding away from the church in a horse-drawn carriage?

Those were just a few of the ideas presented at Bridal Fair 2006 Sunday at the Worthington Country Club. The Daily Globe-sponsored event featured booths by more than 20 area merchants and two sittings for a bridal show highlighting the hottest bridal fashions from Elegant Affair and The Stag Clothiers.

Brides and grooms, often accompanied by entourages of family and friends, were able to glean ideas from a wide variety of resources at the event. As venue hosts, Worthington Country Club's food and beverage director Marc Bergjord and decorating coordinator Don Mack had assembled an elaborate and elegant display touting a relatively new concept in receptions -- a wine reception.

"It's a big thing right now," especially when a wedding must take place earlier in the day, leaving time to kill before dinner, Bergjord explained. "Everybody gets filled up before dinner, plus it classes up your reception a little bit. You serve an assortment of wines, cheese, breads, sweets, chocolates. It lasts about an hour, hour and a half, then people can move upstairs for dinner."

Another innovative idea for a wedding reception -- or a rehearsal dinner, prom or other special occasion -- came courtesy of The Chocolateers from Lake Park Iowa. Owners Bobbie Kennedy Smith and Angela Watje provided a chocolate fountain in which guests can dip an assortment of goodies.

"It's perfect for the bride who doesn't want to be so traditional, skips the cake," said Smith.

"Or it can be a great time filler right after the wedding, when you're waiting for the bride and groom to come back," added Watje.

Bridal couples can personalize the fountain by choosing their own favorite dippables.

"A lot of people like the potato chips," said Watje, "and the little mini cheesecakes, too."

If a couple wants to give the traditional wedding cake a non-traditional twist, decorators at the Hy-Vee Food Store booth displayed a bright yellow cake decorated with polka dots and daisies.

"It's retro," declared Hy-Vee kitchen manager Kim Rogers.

"Color in cakes is becoming more popular; stacked cakes are also more popular," said Linda Ahrends, a part-time cake decorator for Hy-Vee. "We just thought we'd do something different. Some brides are looking for something unusual."

When bridal couples come to Hy-Vee to consult about their wedding cake, they often have an idea of what they want, sometimes bringing along pictures that the decorators try to duplicate. Some of the more unique trends that Ahrends has witnessed include serving individual cupcakes in lieu of a traditional cake or putting individual cakes at each table.

"They're usually just one layer, probably an eight-inch round that cuts into eight or 10 pieces," explained Ahrends.

Couples also come bearing photos when ordering flowers, according to Nichole Lowe and Lori Mouw of Worthington's Flower Lane.

"We'll have them bring in any pictures they've found in bridal magazines, and they usually want six different styles, want something out of each one of them," said Lowe.

The current trend is toward hand-tied bouquets, leaving the stems visible or tied up with silk ribbons. One of the most popular flowers is the Gerbera daisy, which comes in vivid hues.

"We try not to match anything exactly," said Lowe. "Getting a flower to match your purple dress exactly isn't going to happen. It's better to go with complementary colors or different shades of purple that are going put pull in that color."

"And when the colors don't match, and you have brighter colors, they show up better in photographs," added Mouw. "If the color matches, it's just going to fade into the dress."

While sometimes wedding planning is dominated by the females in the wedding party, grooms and groomsmen are also taking an interest in adding personality to their apparel, according to Robyn Moser and Dale Ryen of The Stag Clothiers.

"We're seeing lots of color in the vest and tie combinations," said Moser, showcasing an array of pastel and bright color selections.

The Stag associates have lately outfitted grooms for destination weddings, which generally take place in a warm-weather locale not appropriate for a full tuxedo.

"One of our tux companies has a new linen suit that's just for destination weddings, because they're generally not real dressy," said Moser. "There are just so many options out there that aren't always traditional."

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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