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No time to waste! Brides mob the Bridal Faire

January 30th, 2010 Posted in Arts and Life

Story by Jess Allen

Photo by Mark Vuong

LOGAN–It’s dangerous to get between these women and their single-minded goal: The perfect, sparkly, fairy tale wedding.

During last week’s 25th annual Bridal Faire, they were spread as thick as peanut butter around dozens of booths and exhibits in the Taggart Student Center on the USU campus.

The International and Sunburst Lounges were lined with booths featuring photography, wedding cake designs, sparkling engagement rings that would put Edward Cullen to shame, tuxedo rentals, and about a dozen other things that could be checked off the list of any bride on the verge of a mental breakdown.

Cache Valley weddings are known as frantic affairs on short notice, said fashion show director Diane Falslev, using a recent two-month engagement as an example.

“The average wedding engagement here is less than three months,” said Falslev while awaiting the next fashion show in the TSC Ballroom.

Before the women in white dresses and bright roses walked down the catwalk, Falslev asked the audience of brides, brides-to-be’s and wanna-be’s questions about their  wedding planning. Who had the shortest engagement? A young blonde raised her hand and said she had about 45 days to plan her wedding.

Then in a delicate voice as soft and smooth as the satiny dresses the models wore, Falslev provided commentary as women strode along the catwalk, posing for the eager house full of women.

But it was really the male models who stole the show, as several posed like Elvis and strutted their stuff in tuxedos to the giggling sea of estrogen that filled the ballroom.

Scott Falslev, the director of the Bridal Faire, said that the event draws between 200 and 300 brides every semester, but with the Spring 2010 wedding season looming, there were probably close to 400 in the TSC for this show.

Prime wedding season in Cache Valley is from May through September when students are out of school, he said.

As soft Celtic and classical music played from a display table advertising live musical performers for wedding receptions, 20-year-old Raquel Hepworth said she’s been dating her fiancé for a year. But the dreaming started much earlier.

“She’s been planning this for 15 years,” said her father, Kevin Hepworth, shifting from foot to foot while Raquel and her mother examined the displays.

Despite Cache Valley’s tradition of short engagements, other couples also take longer to tie the knot. Instead of dragging her groom to the show, Julie Lee said the roles were reversed in her case.

Braden Kelley and Julie Lee were in reversed roles.

“It was his idea,” Lee said, laughing at her fiancé Braden Kelley. “Aren’t you so proud of him?”

After dating for a year, their wedding is set for October in the Logan LDS Temple. “I wanted to wait till I was 21,” said Lee. “I was 18 when we met and I wanted to be older when I got married.”

For those who weren’t wringing their hands over the big day or glaring dangerously through narrowed eyes at anyone who got in their way, other Faire-goers didn’t let a little detail like the lack of a groom stop them from winding their way through the crowds and tables.

Entertaining reveries of what it will be like when they do get a proposal of their own, many young women just wanted to look and gather ideas, magazines and booklets from tables to study through later.

“It’s good to just come and get ideas,” said Tricia Littlefield, toting a Men’s Wearhouse bag in the mobs of brides and reluctant grooms, studying with slightly glazed eyes tables covered in little chocolate hearts and pamphlets.

“It’s just a good girl’s day out,” her friend Bryte Anderson said with a nod. “I came last semester but no one was engaged yet, so it was just for fun.” This time, however, the duo were there on a mission to equip a friend who has recently gotten engaged.

Meanwhile, on the third floor of the TSC in the Skyroom, USU Catering offered an oasis from the crowds, and a full buffet—one wedding-day reception option.

Weddings are big business across Utah and particularly in Cache Valley, with the next local bridal show scheduled for March 27 at the Riverwoods Conference Center in south Logan.


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