Before engaged couples say "I Do," they may want to attend Naper Settlement's 11th annual free Bridal Showcase from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, at the settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville.
More than 40 vendors will have booths in the Pre-Emption House Visitor Center and Century Memorial Chapel.
If you goWhat: Bridal Showcase
When: 5:30 to 9 p.m. Jan. 4 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 5
Where: Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville
Info: (630) 420-6012 or napersettlement.museum
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 more than 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 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 from among 2,500 to 3,500 images, which gives 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 -- it's 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, who is 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 that 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 this year's showcase, the Naperville Convention and Visitors Bureau will have the "Naperville Pavilion," which will include the visitors 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 all wedding needs such as ceremony, reception, overnight guest accommodations, wedding showers and rehearsal dinners.
The visitors bureau offers complimentary services, which include site selection and inspection, a welcome letter that is mailed to their out-of-town guests, a welcome banner at the selected Naperville hotel, as well as welcome goodie bags for their overnight guests.
"We have been exhibiting at the Naper Settlement bridal show for more than 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."
Bridal Showcase exhibitors include A Fine Letter; At Your Service Limousines, Inc.; Baird & Warner Real Estate; Best Western Naperville; Champagne! Inc. Event Design & Production; Chiro One Wellness Centers; Classic Party Rentals; Country Inn & Suites Naperville; Courtyard by Marriott Naperville; Dana DiGuilio Hair and Make Up; Greenstar Paperie; Hilton Garden Inn and Marriott Residence Inn; Hotel Arista; Hyatt Lisle, Lorenzo's Formal Wear; Luscious Layers Bakery; Moravec Orthodontic; Music by Design, Ltd.; musicians Barry Riskedal (harp), Jan Frank (flute) and Dawn Bishop (harp); My Chef Catering; My Travel Agent; Naperville Convention and Visitors Bureau; Northern Illinois University Conferencing Services; O'Cie Floral; Pfeiffer Photography; R. Anthony Video & Photography; bagpiper Michael Pry; Satin Chair Rental; Service Ministries; Sounds Abound Entertainment; Spare Wheels; Studio 10; Thia & Co.; Total Image Hair and Make Up; Transacoustic Productions; Trudy's Flowers; Vanilla Bean Cakes Studio; Viking Travel Service; Walden Floral Design Co.; Weddings by Denise; Whimsical Designs; and the Wyndham Lisle Hotel.
For details, call (630) 420-6012 or visit napersettlement.museum.