THE Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre was abuzz yesterday with engaged couples and their future bridal parties preparing for their big days with the help of the 2014 Gladstone Region Bridal Expo.
The event, put together by Gladstone Festivals and Events, catered for everything from venue options, photography, bridal couture, hair fashions and engagement party ideas.
Annie La Hogue recruited the help of her friend and "wedding consultant" Emma Oberhardt to get some inspiration for her wedding.
Ms La Hogue has the date set for some time in 2015 after getting engaged last month.
She said this year's wedding expo had more relevant stalls and was an improvement from previous years.
"It's a bit of fun just to come check out what is available and get some ideas," she said.
"Wedding planning and day dreaming about the wedding is what a lot of girls love to do, I think."
Newly engaged, Rachael Small attended the expo to get some ideas for her engagement party.
She and her partner Brad Laird are planning to get married in 2016, with Brad's daughter Dallas Ferguson, 8, as the flowergirl.
Help was also on hand for couple Kelly Davies and David Neal, who have been engaged for six years.
The pair, who have been together for 13 years, have tried planning a wedding a few times before, but have had to start again after moving around a lot for work.
Kelly and David, who are planning to tie the knot next year, came to the expo to scope out potential venues.
The expo culminated in a fashion parade and the announcement of The Observer's Bride of the Year Competition.
Jodi Norris took out the competition with 400 votes, winning a holiday for two at Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Mrs Norris was surprised and very excited to win the competition and had some wise words for brides-to-be.
"Don't let the little things get to you, just take it as it comes because at the end of the day, you're still marrying the person you love," she said.
The fashion parade and Bride of the Year competition was one of the many highlights for event co-ordinator Abi Galbraith.
"It was great day, we had a fabulous turn-out, we had a good few hundred come through the door and we're really happy with that result, it was excellent," she said.
Ms Galbraith said stall holders also benefited from the exposure. Among those showcasing their wedding services was Laura Dunnett with her business, Short and Sweet Petites.
Miss Dunnett chose the wedding expo to launch a range of flower girl and bridal couture, which will add to her range of photo props and girls clothing.
"I hand make everything for mini bridal, so your flower girls, and bridal couture," she said.
"If someone has an idea or inspiration I can design from there."
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