Love is in the air at Bridal Extravaganza

February 27, 2017 GMT

With a veil on her head and her fiance at her side, Kenya Jackson was ready for the camera during Sunday’s Bridal Extravaganza at the Grand Wayne Center, where a photo booth encouraged brides-to-be to grab a prop and strike a pose.

After a bystander filled the role of the Fort Wayne couple’s photographer, Jackson described her fiance, Terrence Caldwell, as a great hands-on groom.

“He’s taking these goofy pictures with me,” she said.

The 10th annual event, sponsored by Fort Wayne Newspapers and Fort Wayne Magazine’s Weddings, offered a one-stop-shop for brides. The more than 100 booths offered information on such topics as wedding venues, rings, flowers, formal wear, honeymoon wear, photographers and travel agencies. Attendees could also taste samples from caterers and bakeries.


“Everyone in one spot is nice,” said Kaygan Thacker, who traveled from Butler to get information for her Oct. 7 wedding.

The giveaways also enticed her, she said, noting she arrived 30 minutes early to ensure she would be registered for every prize. Thacker, who attended with her mother, said they won a free tuxedo rental.

Jessica Jenne-Porfilio, a mother of the bride, attended the show to get ideas for her daughter, who works at Disney World with her fiance, she said. They plan to wed in 2018.

“It’s tough, though, doing it without her,” Jenne-Porfilio said.

Jackson said the giddy atmosphere was fun but declared herself as the giddiest of the brides-to-be.

“I’m really excited about this wedding,” she said.

Although the couple don’t intend to marry until July 2018, attending the Bridal Extravaganza helped them get a head start on planning, Jackson said. She added they got “a lot of good advice” from the vendors.

First-time vendor Deb Hochstetler, owner of The Farmhouse Weddings in Nappanee, said the event provided good exposure for her venue, which she hadn’t previously marketed in Fort Wayne. It opened in 2011, she said.

“I felt like it’s been worthwhile,” Hochstetler said.

She said she was excited to participate in the expo with other vendors she knew, including Rosewood Carriage Rides.

This was the horse-drawn carriage business’ eighth year at the expo, owner Kolette Frazier Winstead said. She said carriage rides are a unique and elegant form of transportation that appeal to brides, calling their wedding a “Cinderella day for them.”

Frazier Winstead, who sometimes drives the carriages, said she enjoys doing so at weddings.

“It’s fun to see everyone start a new beginning in their life,” she said.