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‘Afternoon of Decadence’ draws strong crowd at event center

WORTHINGTON -- This year's Bridal Event not only featured nearly 50 vendors, it came with a new name -- "An Afternoon of Decadence." Sunday's bridal showcase, located at the Worthington Event Center, featured caterers, DJs, photographers, event p...

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Valerie Meinerts of Valocity Studios shows off her photos. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - This year’s Bridal Event not only featured nearly 50 vendors, it came with a new name - “An Afternoon of Decadence.”

  Sunday’s bridal showcase, located at the Worthington Event Center, featured caterers, DJs, photographers, event planners, event rentals, dresses, jewelry, various desserts, drinks, limos - pretty much everything one would need for a wedding. The annual event was under new management this year, as Comfort Suites and Worthington Event Center Director of Sales Maddy Westra and Worthington Event Center Event Operations Manager Kyia Gibson took over and brought the new name in with them.

  The biggest draw of the afternoon was the fashion show, featuring 45 different looks of dresses, including gowns for brides and bridesmaids.

  Two young men modeling tuxedos were also present, along with 13 females.

  “Most of the girls here don’t really care about the guys to be honest - tuxes are easy, just pick out the color of the vest and the suit and you go with it,” Westra said. “Whereas with the girls, it's more of a fashion statement. The fit, the body style of the dress ... you only get married once. I’m hoping next year we can expand it and do modeling of mother-of-bride and flower girls dresses.”

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  The pressure was on Westra and Gibson to get enough vendors to pack the event center for their first go-round with the bridal show.

  “I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get some vendors, but some of them called us right was just starting to plan it and they said they wanted a booth,” Westra said. “Other people, I had to really dig for, like jewelers - I called nine before I got one to come. So, some were harder than others.”

  The floor was filled with vendors were eager to show off their services.

  Valerie Meinerts, owner of Valocity Studios, a photography studio and salon in Hills, started her business in 2008. She usually takes all of the photos herself for a wedding and makes sure she gets the perfect shot.

  “I usually shoot 1,200 pictures and show the couple 600 of the best ones,” Meinerts said. “People expect at least that, because of all the stuff they want you to do now.”

  She said customers sometimes ask for a complete package of photos, including wedding day coverage. In 2012, her business expanded to a 3,000-square-foot building downtown, where three hair stylists and a massage therapist now work.

  Many of the female models on the runway exhibited dresses from JSK Bridal, a bridal shop in Mountain Lake.

  Owner Jennifer Shouse Klassen said the shop is meant to be a “one stop shop” for anything bridal related. The business does dresses and in-house fittings for brides, bridesmaids and students attending prom - which is the biggest business avenue for the store. She said her dresses were generally much cheaper than ones in cities such as Sioux Falls, S.D.

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  “We want to bring in beautiful things that are affordable because we live in a pretty frugal area,” Shouse Klassen said. “We want to make sure they have something that they can feel good about for a relatively low price.”

  The event wound down, fittingly, like a wedding, as the runway models threw bouquets into the crowd of spectators.

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