CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Today's brides want gowns as diverse as they are, bridal experts said Sunday.
New York-based designer Madeline Gardner joined the staff of Chambersburg's J&B Bridals for the store's annual Bridal Expo at Wilson College.
Gardner presented 34 designs from her spring 2012 line from the Mori Lee collection. The gowns had a variety of shapes, fabrics and embellishments, reflecting what Gardner said is demand for diversity.
"It's frilly, it's sexy, it's texture," Gardner said of the latest style requests.
Modern brides are increasingly aware of what shapes look best on their body types, she said.
J&B Bridals owner Barbara Resh said women seemingly all want something to make their gown stand out. She said Sunday's event gave 500 people an opportunity to see what is available in the region.
"It's great for area brides, and it's also great for area businesses," Resh said.
Florists, photographers, venues, hair and makeup specialists, limousine companies, caterers and deejays were represented at the bridal show, which has been held in Chambersburg for more than 20 years. Giveaways included $1,000 cash and a Mori Lee gown.
Gardner, whose creations are best-sellers at J&B Bridals, returned for her fifth or sixth year.
"That's a real honor," Resh said.
Sisters Jennette and Melissa Engle are planning weddings that will be held in the first half of this year. They've been sharing ideas and photos via email.
"We both like things that are unique," said Jennette Engle, of Chambersburg.
It is surprising how much planning is involved with a wedding, she said.
The sisters attended the bridal show with their mother, Carol Engle. They said the show provided a number of ideas.
"It's a really nice mix of vendors," Jennette Engle said.
Martina Banos of Shippensburg, Pa., is in the midst of making changes to her June 16 wedding, which she expects will have fewer than 20 guests. She tried on new dresses at J&B Bridals on Saturday because the one she purchased previously cannot be altered to fit after weight loss.
Banos' dress consultant told her about the show.
"It's very organized," Banos said, adding that she appreciated the layout and ease of finding vendors.
Representatives of several venues said they could accommodate the small crowd Banos anticipates.
She said she'd recommend the bridal show to others.
"It's an awesome way to meet people — vendors and other brides. I've bounced ideas off other brides," Banos said.