A mutual friend introduced Ben Wilson and Bri McKinney late last year, and they quickly started dating. Their whirlwind romance led to an April wedding proposal and to attend Sunday's Fall Bridal Spectacular 2019.
The Capitol Plaza Hotel event featured about 50 vendors, 125 brides and 300 total attendees who paid $5 each for an opportunity to have one-stop wedding shopping and plenty of food and drink samples.
"We just hit it off right off the bat," McKinney said.
She said Wilson proposed to her on her birthday while they were eating at Steve's Family Restaurant.
"As a present, he had wrapped up a wedding planner, and when I opened it, he was on one knee," she said.
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McKinney brought her father on Sunday, while Wilson brought his mother and 1-year-old daughter, Brayleigh.
Wilson and McKinney already have plenty planned, but they said the event gave them some good ideas. A floral arch was one thing in particular that caught their eye.
"Just a lot of the decorations gives us a good idea of what we can do and kind of put our own flair on everything," McKinney said.
It's not uncommon for men to skip bridal events and leave the bulk of the planning to their future wives. However, Wilson said he wanted to put his own stamp on their big day, which is planned for April 18.
"I enjoy that he's here because most of the time he sees things that I don't and he'll point out different things that we can do — just in general, not just here — so it's really nice to have a man's perspective also," McKinney said.
The event was hosted by the Central Missouri Bridal Association. Organizer Vicki Arcobasso said the vendors' displays at the event used to be simply products on tables, but have evolved into creative displays with ambiance.
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One such display was a U.S. Rents It display of hanging geometric votive candle holders.
Megan VanderFeltz and her mother, Vicki Bremmerkamp, were marveling at the candle holders while looking for ideas for VanderFeltz's wedding that's planned for Nov. 28, 2020.
The Lincoln University nursing student said she will start seriously planning after graduating. Meanwhile, she found ideas for her wedding Sunday, including one for wedding invitations.
Nicole Ball brought several friends to the event to help her plan her June 5, 2021, wedding to Ryan Brandt. She's looking at buying a dress from Anna Marie's Bridal. After samples from Canterbury Hill Winery, she seemed sold on using them to supply wine at the reception.
"I love Canterbury Hill," she said.