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Here comes the bridal showcase

Published 5:24am Monday, January 14, 2013

Hormel Historic Home gears up for annual event

Wedding bells will ring in minds of Austinites later this month as dreams of their big day begin to take form in front of them.

The third annual Austin Wedding Showcase runs from noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Hormel Historic Home. The event brings together wedding service vendors and brides- and grooms-to-be to make preparing for their wedding something closer to a one-stop shop.

“The goal of the showcase is just to allow brides planning a wedding to see all the different services available in Austin,” said Holly Johnson, executive director with the HHH. “Everything they would need they could probably find here.”

For a $3 entry charge, guests will be able to tour what is expected to be nearly 30 vendors of wedding-related goods and services. The Historic Home brings in florists, photographers, disc jockeys and more, typically all from the Austin area.

“We’re still getting people to sign up as our vendors,” Johnson said, adding the HHH has filled up on vendors both of the previous year of the event.

One of the main attractions of the event is a fashion show, which brings female models in to present different styles of wedding dresses. Several Austin Bruins players join in to don tuxedos and walk with them, playing the role of groom.

“There will be four of them this year that are modeling the tuxes,” Johnson said.

Apart from the fashion show, there will also be food samples from local catering services and other entertainment, like live music. Both the home and the banquet area will be open for guests to tour.

The Historic Home itself is a full-service wedding venue, Johnson said, and hosts 20-25 weddings a year.

“We do a custom quote for every bride and groom that comes in,” she said.

Wedding Coordinator Amanda Fett, who has been with the HHH for three years, knows how to walk people through planning their big day so that no detail is overlooked. She will be present at the at the event, too, where she will offer to set up planning appointments for couples and answer their questions, as well. One of the snags couples hit the most while planning is sorting out who will be invited.

“I think the hardest part of a wedding is the guest list,” she said. “Every location has a limit on what number of guests you can have.”

As a solution, many times Fett will recommend a smaller group of family and close friends for the dinner and ceremony, with a larger dance afterward that everyone else is invited to.

“It also saves money on the dinner end, because then you’re not buying as much food,” she said.

Fett said many people like the HHH for weddings because it offers guests an opportunity to tour the home during social hour and still has plenty of room separately for a banquet.

“Every year we seem to get more and more weddings,” she said.

Between 150 and 200 people show up for the Wedding Showcase, many of them engaged at the time with a wedding of their own on the horizon, or a parent or grandparent of someone engaged. But there are others who come just to see what’s available, catch the Austin Bruins there and have a look around the building.

“It’s a great way for people to see the Historic Home, as well,” Johnson said.

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