February 18, 2019 GMT

HUNTINGTON — Soon-to-be bride Brette Scala, of Huntington, said she is somewhat overwhelmed while planning for her wedding day.

She dreams of a memorable and modern ceremony in the spring of 2020 with her fiance, Marty Farrell, but doesn’t know where to begin with decorating and getting organized.

That’s why she brought her little sister, and future-maid of honor, Carly Scala, to the third annual Bridal and Special Event Expo at Marshall University’s Memorial Student Center on Sunday.

The expo featured more than 40 vendors including photographers, planners, DJs, florists and wedding dress shops.

“I’m just here getting some ideas for the big day with my sister,” Brette Scala said. “I’m very lost and in the dark with the different traditions and what you’re supposed to do. So, she’s helping me, and all these folks are helping me, too.” Carly Scala, of Parkersburg, W.Va., said she is happy to support her sister’s big day by offering suggestions and not being pushy.

“I want it to be her special day. I don’t want it to be about anybody else but her and her future husband,” Carly Scala said.

The sisters picked up an idea at the expo to engrave a bottle of wine that can be opened on the couple’s 50th anniversary.

Elizabeth Chapman and her mother, JoDee Chapman, of Portsmouth, Ohio, were also at the expo to scout out ideas.

Elizabeth Chapman said she wanted to see what vendors had to offer for flower arrangements and baked goods for her wedding to fiance Dylan Fields. She got some good leads, but still has time to finalize plans before the fall 2021 ceremony.

JoDee Chapman said she is being supportive and wants the ceremony to look just like her daughter envisions it, with a sunset color theme.

“I always joke and say I’m going to be the maid of honor,” JoDee Chapman said.

This is Marshall’s third expo devoted to future brides, the newly engaged and dreaming couples, said William “Tootie” Carter, director of business operations at the Memorial Student Center.

The expo also serves as advertising for the university’s venue space, which can be rented for weddings, parties and other events.

“A lot of folks do not realize we reserve space on campus,” Carter said. “A lot people think of Big Sandy or the hotels. We’ve been doing this for years, but it’s kind of a hidden secret.”

The expo has grown in popularity over the years, he said. The number of vendors has grown from 20 the year before to 40 vendors this year.

Among the vendors was Nicholette Inman of Be Merry Events in Charleston. Inman, an event planner, offers couples a one-stop shop in organizing a wedding from seating charts to budget tracking.

Inman said the latest trend in weddings is personalized invitations, such as a music box instead of a standard letter. Couples are also requesting more personalized receptions with a small string band or mariachi band instead of a DJ.

Krystal Lee McPherson, of Huntington, was selling Paparazzi Accessories, which are $5 jewelry pieces that contain no lead or nickel. The pieces are popular with mothers of the brides and grooms looking for affordable jewelry to wear on the special day.

Carter said Marshall University is offering a special discounted rate for anyone who books the venue space within nine days from Monday.

The Don Morris Room, which is typically $1,500 for a two-day rental, is offered at $750 for anyone who takes the offer. For more information, contact Casey Hall at 304-696-2538.

Travis Crum is a reporter with The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.