Hundreds of eager brides-to-be, along with a few future grooms and some anxious mothers, strolled the aisles at Saturday's 2013 Bridal Showcase in the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center, taking in all the myriad options.
It was the showcase's 30th anniversary and clearly demonstrated how wedding details have multiplied exponentially since the event's 1983 launch. Now, some say, you need to hire a professional planner just to keep track of all the elements.
No wonder. At Saturday's extravaganza, couples could choose among an array of cakes square or round, bedecked with ocean-blue flowers, or awash in silver, edible beads. They could marry under a mountain sky and take an ocean cruise. Guests can munch on Surefire pizza (which brings its own oven to cook on the spot), chow down on Cafe Rio enchiladas, or dine on La Caille chateaubriand.
And the trend in dresses?
"Lace," says Stacy Van Dusen, co-owner of Fantasy Bridal in Taylorsville, "is hot right now."
Even insurance and real estate agents pitched their products to these future couples.
"A lot of people get money for their weddings," reasons Bruce S. Coggins of Titanium Real Estate. "Why not use it for a down payment?"
It is not surprising to see so many pushy vendors at the annual showcase. Weddings, after all, are big business these days.
Salt Lake City couples spend between $18,413 and $30,689 to put on a wedding for 122 to 142 guests, according to costofwedding.com. Provo wedding averages are only slightly lower coming in between $18,022 and $30,036.
Photography alone can run anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000, says Logan Walker of Salt Lake City's Pepper Nix Photography, but the average is more like $2,500.
Ken Knight and Jamie Bayer, walking the Salt Palace hall wearing T-shirts reading "Bride" or "Groom" on the front, "July 7, 2013" on the back, have been engaged for two years. They met at the Southern Utah University's Newman Center for Catholic students.
All they have left on their to-do list is the cake, flowers and a disc jockey, but the total budget has been a bit of sticker shock, going well beyond what they planned to spend.
"I'm the most frugal person," Bayer says. "This is killing me."
Tammy Albright, a divorced mom in West Valley City, already has her dress, venue and food but is looking for a honeymoon site.
"This time around, my wedding will not be as formal," she says, "but it will have more pzazz."
She is just as giddy as any first timer.
"A bride is still a bride," Albright says, "and a lot of 'seconds' last forever."