published Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Formal Affair wedding expo at trade center today to highlight trends

Lillian Silva, right, and Lila Fisher model wedding gowns inside the Mayor's Mansion Inn.
Lillian Silva, right, and Lila Fisher model wedding gowns inside the Mayor's Mansion Inn.
Photo by Tim Barber.


What: Formal Affair.

When: 1-5:30 p.m. today.

Where: Chattanooga Convention Center.

Tickets: $10 at the door only.

For more information:

The adage "Everything old is new again" is especially true of wedding trends this summer.

"I think we're going to see a lot of bold, saturated colors as much as we will the traditional whites and creams," said celebrity wedding planner David Tutera. Tutera, the popular host of We TV's "My Fair Wedding," will be the featured guest at today's Formal Affair wedding and event expo in the Chattanooga Convention Center. He will answer questions from expo guests and present a program on wedding planning at 3:30 p.m.

More than 160 bridal-industry vendors will be waiting to meet brides-to-be at the expo. This one-stop shopping can save time and money by eliminating trips around town to sample cakes, hear music and consult with photographers.

One couple will walk away with a honeymoon trip to Cancun.

Here's a look at five trends to which retailers predict brides will say "I do" this summer.

Vintage jewelry bouquets

Miranda Lambert introduced this look at her ceremony to Blake Shelton. Instead of a cluster of flowers, a circular orb of fabric is entirely covered with glittering brooches so the bouquet blooms with color.

However, such a bouquet can be pricey, whether using gemstone or fashion jewelry, and not many brides-to-be have the budget of a country music star. Gil Cartwright, of Flowers by Gil & Curt on Tremont Street, said he is seeing a more subdued version of this vintage look in local bouquets.

"Some brides add their grandmother's brooch to the bouquet, or if they have a particular piece that means a lot to them, we'll put that in the bouquet," Cartwright said.

Peonies are the flower of the season. Cartwright said hydrangeas and "roses that look antique," such as David Austin roses, also are hot choices.

Cartwright cautions brides-to-be to reconsider the choice of a red rose bouquet with their all-white gown.

"It looks like a target in front of the dress."

Return of the ball gown

Emily Goodin, owner of Boutique Couture on Market Street, said the full-skirted ball gown is staging a comeback.

However, the fit-and-flare gown remains popular, Goodin said, with ruffles or feather embellishments for textured interest at the bottom of the gown.

An emerging trend for brides and bridesmaids: illusion necklines (sheer fabric overlaying a strapless or low-cut bodice.) Fans of "Gossip Girl" just saw this style on Blake Lively's character, Serena, during Blair Waldorf's wedding episodes.


While the bridal cake remains the focal point of a reception, cupcakes continue to gain popularity with brides-to-be.

Mike Irwin, owner of Gigi's Cupcakes locations on Gunbarrel Road and Highway 153, said cupcake towers are giving way to the trend of "themed designs."

"We had a customer recently use old-fashioned wash buckets in a country theme wedding. We turned them upside down, set them in tiers and used them as stands for cupcakes," he said.

More brides also are replacing groom's cakes with platters of cupcakes.

"We've done camouflage to Tennessee/Alabama-themed cupcakes," he said.

Irwin said cupcakes are easily customized. Icing can be tinted to match the color of bridesmaids' gowns or reception decor.

Location, location

Local industry vendors say more ceremonies are moving out of churches to destinations ranging from local inns to Florida beaches. Cartwright said he recently decorated a yacht with 500 gardenias for a ceremony.

One reason for this, they believe, is that a destination wedding provides a neutral site for couples of different faiths to marry.

Tropical honeymoons

"We do a lot of honeymoon cruises and all-inclusive vacations in the Caribbean," said Chris McSpadden, owner of Travel by Air, Land and Sea on Lee Parkway Drive, of hot honeymoon destinations.

"The economy has kept travel a bit slow, but cruises have remained pretty steady. We're even seeing some growth in cruising because pricing has come down," she said.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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