Bridal, prom fashions shine at expo

MARIETTA – Models strolled the runway on Sunday, showing off the latest prom styles and bridal fashions before hundreds who attended the third annual Bridal and Prom Expo at Marietta’s Lafayette Hotel.

Anna Shank, 16, of New Martinsville, was especially interested in prom dresses and jewelry as she looks forward to the April 26 prom at Magnolia High School.

“I prefer the floor-length dresses, but with short sleeves,” she said. “And I like the champagne or turquoise colors.”

Emily Shank, 14, accompanied her sister to Sunday’s expo.

Asked if she might inherit Anna’s prom dress in a couple of years, Emily said, “I’ll want to get my own.”

Among the 29 vendors showing off their wares and services Sunday was Two Peas In a Pod Florist.

“This is our first time in the show, but by 2:30 p.m. we had already picked up three orders for weddings,” said Pat Peoples, co-owner, with husband Bill, of the Marietta florist shop.

She said prom-goers were also showing some interest.

“A lot of people were looking at our bouttoniers and corsages for their proms,” Peoples added.

Elizabeth Ault, owner of Black Tie Affair in Marietta, was also participating in her first bridal show.

“This is a good event,” she said. “It helps when people can actually see what we do, and several people have been interested in doing a setup.”

Ault’s business leases everything from linens, napkins and tablecloths to dinnerware, tables and chairs for weddings, corporate affairs and other events.

“We also have a 15-passenger van to transport guests or employees,” she said.

Parkersburg residents Stephanie Johnson and Chrie Morris, both 26, are planning weddings. Morris said her date is slated for October, while Johnson hasn’t set the big date yet.

“I already have the dresses, but this is a nice place to get some other ideas for my wedding,” Morris said.

Johnson agreed.

“I’m still looking – I haven’t said ‘yes’ to a dress so far,” she said. “And this event has been very helpful with a lot of resources and ideas.”

Prom and bridal dresses took center stage during Sunday’s expo.

“We’re showing more than 55 prom dresses and 55 bridal dresses today,” said Janet Faye Smith, owner of Faye’s Boutique in Vienna, who co-sponsored Sunday’s event with local radio stations V96.9 and 93R owners Sam Yoho and Tom Taggart.

Smith said her shop carries a large variety of prom and bridal dresses and accessories, as well as tuxedos for the men.

“We even try to match the tuxedo vests to the bride or prom dresses,” she said.

White is still a traditional favorite in wedding dresses, but Smith said color is the preference in prom outfits.

“The trend is a lot of vivid colors – purple, orange, green – even camo and zebra,” she said. “And the styles range anywhere from minis to short and floor-length dresses.”

Yoho said Sunday’s event was a success.

“This is our third year, and we’ve seen people coming through all afternoon,” he said. “And the vendors have been making a lot of sales and connections.”

Both he and Smith are looking forward to another event next year.