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Wedding expo features 70 vendors

DeKALB – Brittney Dear felt a little overwhelmed planning her wedding, set for September 2015.

The former Northern Illinois University student and current Aurora resident, however, felt at ease Sunday attending NIU's ninth annual wedding expo, held at the Holmes Student Center's Duke Ellington Ballroom, 340 Carroll Ave., DeKalb.

The event featured more than 70 vendors, such as floral designers, cake decorators, photography businesses and a wedding fashion show to help brides prepare for their weddings.

Dear said she has all the little details planned for her wedding but still needs to pick out a venue, photographer and cake.

"This helps give you an idea and perspective, especially if you don't have ideas about anything," she said. "It gives you a sense of direction."

Lauren Oppe, intern for the wedding expo, said the event attracts between 2,000 to 2,500 people every year, including 300 brides.

The event has grown bigger since it first started. It was the first time there were so many vendors that some had to situate themselves outside in the hallway, Oppe said.

January is the perfect time to host a wedding expo because many women get engaged over the holidays and want to plan their wedding soon afterward, Oppe said.

"I hope they can cross a couple of more things off their to-do list before they leave," she said.

DeKalb resident Jeremy McCabe attended the expo with his fiancee to find chair covers and pick a dessert for their wedding, which will be June 14 at NIU's Altgeld Hall.

"I've already decided to get a Sweet Dreams [Desserts and Catering] cake for myself no matter what," McCabe said.

DeKalb resident Brooke Johnson is in the beginning stages of planning her wedding, which will be June 13, 2015, at NIU's Duke Ellington Ballroom.

Johnson was getting wedding planning advice from her friend, who also is engaged to be married.

Johnson said it was an easy decision to have her wedding local to the area.

"I don't want to go out of town and have people drink and drive back to town," she said. Many of Johnson's wedding guests live in DeKalb.

Tracie Grimes, salesperson at Ducky's Formal Wear, 112 E. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, was helping attendees save on their wedding.

Ducky's offered wedding discounts Sunday for those who spun a wheel.

Grimes said the wedding expo was great because it offered a variety of services for people to get an idea of what they want their wedding to be like.

"Our job is to make sure everything is perfect," Grimes said.

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