MARIETTA - It was snowy outside, but there was a tropical air inside the Marietta Comfort Inn's conference room during Bridal and Prom Expo 2014 at the hotel Sunday afternoon.
Carrie Weihl, 22, of Vincent, was planning for her upcoming wedding on Sept. 27 this year.
"I came to this show and a couple of others last year, too," she said. "I like to see the different options available for weddings. I already have my wedding dress, but wanted to look at at some others for the wedding party. I really liked one eggplant purple dress for my bridesmaids."
Photo by Sam Shawver
Model Kendra Fleak poses in a flowing wedding gown during Sunday’s Bridal and Prom Expo 2014 at the Comfort Inn in Marietta.
Amanda Yoho, 24, from Bridgeport, W.Va., has set her wedding date for early November this year.
"I've been to several bridal shows recently," she said. "And it's great to be able to come out and meet so many vendors in one place."
In addition to seeing the latest styles for bridesmaids and other members of the wedding party, Yoho said she gets plenty of other wedding ideas at bridal shows.
"Something like a photo booth would be fantastic at my wedding," she said.
Her father, Sam Yoho, is general manager and owner of local radio stations v96.9 and 93R that have co-sponsored Sunday's event with Faye's Boutique of Vienna for the last four years.
"We've had a pretty good turnout in spite of the weather, and more than 30 vendors participated," he said. "They cover everything from jewelry, photography, financial assistance, disc jockeys, gowns and tuxedos."
He noted this year's prom and bridal show took place at the Comfort Inn on Pike Street simply because organizers wanted a change of venue. In previous years the expo has been held at the Lafayette Hotel in downtown Marietta.
"We used a tropical theme this year. It's a huge show with more than 50 models of prom gowns and bridal dresses, as well as 25 guys who modeled tuxedos. And the flower girl dresses we're showing are really outstanding this year," said Janet Faye Smith, owner of Faye's Boutique.
She said one attendee at Sunday's show liked a dress so much she wanted to purchase it right off the model who was wearing the gown on the runway.
"Color is the trend this year, especially in dresses for maids of honor and bridesmaids," Smith said.
As for the prom fashions, she said the expo brings plenty of business for her store on Grand Central Avenue in Vienna.
"I've been there for 19 years now, and we get a lot of repeat customers," Smith said. "Guys and gals who got their prom dresses and tuxes from us are now coming in for their wedding clothes."
Among Sunday's vendors were Jim and Mary King with King's Blingz handmade glass jewelry in Sistersville, W.Va.
"We have the King's Corner furniture business in Sistersville, and about 12 years ago I started a handmade marbles business," Jim said. "Then a few years ago I started making pendants of marble glass. It really took off, we sell the pendants at our furniture store, but they're also sold at several other stores in the area."
Jim said the prom and bridal expo was a great chance to get some public exposure.
"This is very good for us," he said. "And these are very nice people to deal with."
Another first-time vendor at Sunday's expo was Amy K. Snodgrass of Vienna, a local wine consultant for The Traveling Vineyard.
"We provide in-home wine tastings," she said. "Our company has vineyards in California and New York, but we generally work with boutique vineyards, small family-owned vineyards across the country."
Snodgrass said people often want to serve wine at weddings and other special events, but they're not sure which wine goes with what kind of food, or they may have other questions about wine.
"I help with a lot of bridal showers and related events, like wedding rehearsal dinners," she said.
Sunday was her first-ever prom and bridal show, Snodgrass said.
"I think it's great to be able to meet other vendors and this helps get our name out there," she added.