The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 3, 2013

Holy matrimony!

A pre-show preview of wedding advice from the experts

By Lisa Shrewsberry
Lifestyles Editor

— With Valentine’s Day eleven calendar squares away, love is in the air.  But with June, the biggest bridal season, just down the aisle, it’s in the air … and the hair, the fabric, the flowers, the food bar and the pictures.  Whew! It’s enough to keep a girl on her stiletto-ed, wait, barefooted, no — specialty flip-flopped toes.

Like it or not, each year’s wedding styles are influenced by elements from runway colors and weather patterns (according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac and lore, if it rains on the day you wed, it’s a sign of the many tears you’ll shed) to what’s worn at the Academy Awards to current movie themes.

Bridal shows across the country see record attendance because of all the decisions faced in planning the big day and their ever-fluctuating nature. The 14th Annual Bridal, Prom & Special Occasions Show at Tamarack Conference Center Feb. 23 is no exception, with 150 to 200 brides-to-be and their ceremonial sisters expected. Beginning with a ticketed brunch and vendor preview at 10 a.m., brides will convene throughout the afternoon in search of the perfect everything.

A few of the experts preparing their show displays, from fashion and jewelry to elaborate floral bouquets and out-of-the-box photography, share their best predictions here for what brides will grab in 2013, in addition to their choice groom’s hand.

Gowns, hot and not

Bloggers webwide are abuzz over yellow and gray pairings, over mismatched patterns in reception fabrics and wedding party attire, over reception lounges, over-the-top food stations — even wedding dresses with pockets.

For decades, the experts at Harvey’s Fashions and Bridal have tracked trends in formals and brought back what they believe will suit the tastes of southern West Virginia brides. What arrived back in their fashion trunks this year?

Loads of timeless lace and “modern” vintage, says Bobbi Harvey, styles enduring longer through big screen and television returns to ’20s-era themes, like The Great Gatsby and Downton Abbey. “Also ruffles, layers of tulle and embellishments — crystals, little flowers or bows.”

While white gowns are still the standard, softer diamond shades are preferred to pristine whites and Bobbi predicts hints of color for the underpinning — the tulle slip. Subtle blue is the most popular hue of colored tulle tiers, peeking out when the bride lifts her dress to walk or ties it to dance, Harvey explains.

“That’s their ‘something blue.’”

Patterns in attendant attire make an appearance, but more popular are dresses to suit each individual’s body shape, and versatile enough to be worn to later formal occasions. Bridesmaids are also the color pop to ceremonies, with dresses popular in hot pink with black, purple with pink, and singular colors coral, yellow, turquoise or teal.

“They’re not the bridesmaid dresses of yesterday,” Harvey admits, where the bride's choice was greeted by a unanimous groan. “They’re trendy enough that you’ll be sure to wear them again.”

Location, location, decoration

April Taylor, conference sales director at Tamarack has a forecast of her own — more outdoor, earth-conscious ceremonies.

“I am definitely seeing natural, earthy and elegant. One couple we have is planting a tree together instead of the unity sand ceremony.”

Another element of earth she sees incorporated into ceremonies and onto reception tables is feathers — especially feathery centerpieces.

Taylor believes the hottest wedding color this year is mint green, the lighthearted fraternal twin to 2013’s interior design color choice — emerald. Taylor also expects gray to continue its neutral kingship, paired with a pop of sunny yellow or orange.

“People are really wanting lots of draping fabric and flower petals at their receptions,” she adds.

The most creative food bars cropping up in the last year with an expected continuation are dessert stations — with mini petit fours, cake pops and different varieties of candy. On the savory side, mashed potato bars are popular.

“We serve the mashed potatoes in martini glasses, then guests can put bacon, cheese, scallions and other toppings on.”

Getting warmer is the bridal pursuit of the perfect DIY decoration, rather than relying on the florist for everything. “It may be a little because of the economy, but more brides are going to Pinterest for ideas to make themselves.”

Picture these

Joe “JK” Kerner heads a full-service professional photography, DJ and videography service, AAA Entertainment ( out of Cross Lanes. His business structure meets the current economic atmosphere by offering what many brides are looking for, steep discounts on bundled services.

“Ask us how you can get our DJ entertainment for free. Also ask us how you can get $1,000 off the regular price of our photography and videography and still get our DJ for free.”

And while Uncle Ed may have a tricked-out digital camera of his own, the discerning bride still selects a professional photographer to preserve her special day.

“Shooting a wedding is about like shooting a sporting event. There are NO do-overs. Only experienced photographers can anticipate when the first kiss is coming and who the grandmothers are. Professionalism comes on many levels, but on the day of your wedding you should get the most professional,” states Kerner.

Charles Shiflet with Shifoto Photography (, rents photo booths for receptions, a trend that has risen in popularity in the past few years. He has seen his requests for traditional wedding photography transform altogether, spending more time with his booths, booking them not just for betrothals, but for bar mitzvahs, Sweet Sixteen celebrations and corporate events.

In addition to Mountain State locales, he travels to Louisville, Ky. Philadelphia, Pa. and Baltimore, Md. — covering the eastern central United States at about 60 events per year.

“We offer the booths for the reception providing free unlimited pictures to them and their guests. We also offer to do a custom memory album for the bride and groom, where guests take one of their strips and write a personal message to them.

“People get in there and giggle, laugh and pose however they want to,” says Shiflet.  “We have props we provide, from funny glasses and boas to wigs— anything to make the pictures fun.”

Shiflet predicts the photo booth trend is not set to peak in popularity for years to come.

“We’ve had bids this year for 2015 for events and have several booked in 2014 already.” Shiflet will be showcasing one of his booths at the event.

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