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updated: 12/8/2012 12:02 PM

Naper Settlement showcase helps brides get ready for big day

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Naper Settlement's 11th annual free Bridal Showcase coming up in January aims to offer a little guidance to those navigating their way from "Yes!" to "I do."

The show runs 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, at Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville. More than 40 vendors will have booths in the Pre-Emption House Visitor Center and Century Memorial Chapel.

The nondenominational chapel is the highlight of the Showcase. Built in 1864, the historic chapel is the setting for more than 70 weddings each year and features brilliant stained glass windows, classic architectural details and seating for 175.

"The Bridal Showcase is a great place for couples to start the planning process because they can meet and talk with over 40 unique vendors one-on-one in a relaxed setting. It's one-stop shopping for all your wedding needs," said Becca Atkins, guest services associate and bridal showcase coordinator at Naper Settlement.

Atkins, a newlywed herself, married her husband, Brandon, in August 2012. She found her photographer, Scott Pfeiffer, at the Bridal Showcase. Pfeiffer of Naperville-based Pfeiffer Photography, said today's brides know exactly what they want because they are able to research various websites like Pinterest, then save their favorite photos.

"Brides can email me the pictures they like and then we make a list of the photographs they want at their wedding," he said. "Thanks to digital photography, today's brides could choose among 2,500 to 3,500 images, which give them more options."

What's the most important part of a wedding? Some might say the venue or the dress, but Denise Pape of Weddings by Denise in Naperville has a more practical answer: the budget.

"Once the couple is engaged, they should talk with their families and decide on a budget to see if they are getting money contributed or if they will pay for the entire wedding themselves," she said. "The next step is to decide on a guest list, so they can plan the reception within their budget."

Pape, a Bridal Showcase exhibitor, says the latest trends are smaller, more intimate weddings. Another popular trend is a photo booth at the reception. She said brides should trust their instincts and go with what they feel is right for them. In addition to wedding planning and florals, Pape is an officiant.

At the showcase, the Naperville Convention and Visitors Bureau will have the Naperville Pavilion, which will include the bureau along with several Naperville hotel and banquet partners. Carmia Stanovich, director of sales for the visitors bureau, said this will create a one-stop shop for wedding needs such as ceremony, reception, overnight guest accommodations, wedding showers and rehearsal dinners.

The visitors bureau offers complimentary services that include site selection and inspection, a welcome letter mailed to out-of-town guests, a welcome banner at the selected Naperville hotel as well as welcome goody bags for overnight guests.

"We have been exhibiting at the Naper Settlement Bridal Show for over eight years and by far this is the best show that we attend," Stanovich said. "The Naper Settlement Bridal Showcase creates an intimate environment for the brides and grooms to spend quality time with the vendors to learn all about the services that we provide."

For information, call (630) 420-6012 or visit www.napersettlement.museum. A list of participating exhibitors is available on the website.

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