DeKALB – Alexandra Engle isn’t going to mess around.
Just two weeks after getting engaged, she is already planning her wedding.
“It used to take six months to prepare for a wedding,” said the Lombard woman, whose fiance attends Northern Illinois University. “Now, it’s like a year and a half. ...I found him, I got him and I’m going to keep him.”
Engle was one of approximately 2,500 people – mainly women – who attended the eighth annual NIU Bridal Expo at the Holmes Student Center on Sunday.
In keeping with this year’s theme of “Blue Hawaii,” many rooms were shaded in dark blue lights. The buffet table also served a variety of fish, including sushi and salmon.
According to Noelle Roth and Samantha Schneider, hospitality administration seniors who planned the event, there were 61 vendors, representing every aspect of a wedding, including dresses, tuxedos, cakes, food, flowers, photography, honeymoon planners and accessories.
“That’s the most so far,” Roth said proudly.
Thanks to social media and lighting the building outside in blue, Schneider said they expected more people than last year.
“I like that there are so many vendors of the same type and you can compare,” visitor Cyndy Singleton said. “You can also see who travels.”
The latter is especially important for her engaged daughter, Katrina, who lives out of town. She is getting married in October.
Singleton, who was attending the expo for the first time, said they were just “looking for the basics.”
“It’s very informative,” she said.
Although she’s a little young to be thinking about marriage just yet, 5-year-old Anastasia Albright of DeKalb enjoyed herself anyway.
“It’s make-a-date with grandma,” Eugenia Montgomery laughed. She said it was the second year in a row she’s taken her granddaughter to the expo.
Besides a plethora of free desserts to sample, what does Anastasia like best about the expo?
“To see the girls dress up and their pretty dresses,” she said, between bites of a cupcake with vanilla frosting.
For many, the highlight of the expo was the 30-minute live fashion show presented by ZZAZZ Productions of Chicago.
For Rachel Rempfer-Hill, owner of Sweet Endeavors, one of the best parts of the expo was when a representative from Jimmy John’s passed her booth and traded samples of turkey sandwiches for a cupcake sample.
“It’s nice when they bring the food to you,” she joked.