Engaged couples find inspiration at wedding show

Weekend event draws crowd of 700 looking for ideas for their impending nuptials

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

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Scott Cook hasn’t popped the question yet to his girlfriend, Brittany Weber, but the two were looking for something inexpensive to do on a dreary Sunday in January, and they decided a wedding expo would be fun.

The young Vancouver couple was all smiles Sunday afternoon as the two-day Clark County Wedding Show wound down. Cook, 25, already got the go-ahead for marriage from Weber’s father, and the couple said they’ll likely set a wedding date for August September.

By 1 p.m. on Sunday, they had worked their way through about half of the wedding show, taking place at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. The event featured dozens of vendors, including caterers, cake and cupcake designers, photographers, florists, gown makers and live entertainment. A white stretch Cadillac Escalade was parked prominently in the middle of the room, and earlier in the day models in wedding gowns strutted before the crowd.

As couples went booth to booth, wedding consultants got a feel for their budget and vision. Did they want a traditional wedding, or something more creative?

The wedding show drew about 700 people on Saturday and Sunday, show producer Donna Hays said. Despite organizers’ best efforts to accommodate sports enthusiasts with a man cave — complete with couches and a big-screen television — Hays said the crowd died down on Sunday afternoon, an important time for pro football fans.

Online inspiration

Meanwhile, Cook and Weber were eyeing a brochure for Thunder Island, a wedding venue in the Columbia River Gorge.

When planning a wedding, “there’s a lot of details,” Weber, 23, said. “It’s a little overwhelming.”

Besides attending the wedding show, Weber said she’s spent plenty of time looking for ideas online, particularly on Pinterest.com, a social media site that allows people to share pictures, recipes and do-it-yourself projects.

“Pinterest is seriously the hub” for wedding ideas, Weber said. That sentiment was echoed by several other brides-to-be, and vendors, at the event on Sunday.

“I love Pinterest,” said vendor Wendi Reynolds of Clark County Floral. “You get the ideas of the look they want for a wedding. We can start building their wedding on that.”

Reynolds was showcasing her hanging floral arrangements, colorful bouquets positioned inside antique-looking picture frames. The first piece of advice she gives to the newly engaged? “That they need to have a budget,” she said.

Karista Hendrickson, 25, of Kent, said she took a glance at Pinterest, too, but it was all a bit overwhelming. It was hard to get a real feel for how the ideas online would play out in person, and that’s one reason she went to the wedding show.

“I liked all the examples,” she said. “You can see it, feel it, taste it.”

She also said she’s on a tight budget, and although she probably wouldn’t hire any of the vendors featured at the wedding show, she might try to replicate some of their ideas for her big day. She noted some woodsy decorations made out of ferns, log cuttings, pinecones and other greenery.

Hendrickson said she is planning a Portland-area wedding. Helping her plan to stay on a budget, she won a 20-percent discount on Sunday to get married at the Fort Vancouver National Trust. She said she hopes to wed her groom in the fort’s Marshall House or Grant House.