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January 23, 2014
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Bridal Bliss Wedding Show comes to Douglas County Fairgrounds

Bonnie Morgan sells a lot of camouflage dresses these days, though the owner of Exclusively Bridal in Drain usually calls the pattern “mossy oak.”

“We’re talking hunter-camo — nature-camo — not military camo,” she clarified.

Morgan has sold to brides in Douglas County for 20 years. In that time, she’s worked on beach- and wine-themed weddings. One couple used a Skittles theme (apparently, they met over a bag of the candy). In that time she’s seen weddings grow more personal.

“It used to be just white. White and ivory,” said Morgan, who now keeps many alabaster, light gold and champagne hues on hand. “And cakes are going the same way.”

Though the summer wedding season is months away, now is when brides are (or should be) getting down to the specifics of planning their wedding. And the wedding business is rolling along to accommodate whatever they dream up.

This weekend is the Bridal Bliss Wedding Show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. The gathering will include vendors from the vast and expanding nuptial industry: cakemakers, dress sellers, bands, DJs, photographers, flowers arrangers, caterers, limo drivers and jewelers.

Two catwalk fashion shows will be held, at noon and 3 p.m. Frocks for brides, bridesmaids and flower girls will be shown, along with tuxedos.

Many vendors will be fresh off shows in Eugene and Albany. Next month is the Luxe Bridal Event in Portland.

Douglas County’s bridal show was first held at Macy’s at the Roseburg Valley Mall. It later moved to the Douglas County Fairgrounds, then Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville. This month marks its return to the fairgrounds.

One Bridal Bliss sponsor is Barbara Hagedorn of Barb’s Flowers in Roseburg. Hagedorn has been in business for seven years.

She said she, too, has seen a rise in personalized weddings. On several occasions, she’s indulged an outdoorsy couple by incorporating antler racks into their arrangements. She’ll have one such array displayed Sunday, along with in-demand roses from breeder David Austin, a wedding favorite, she says.

Her costliest flowers are lilies of the valley (used in the bouquet of Kate Middleton in her April 2011 marriage to Prince William). Morgan says she can get almost all the plants she carries year-round.

From bridal bouquets to altarpieces, wedding day flowers from Barb’s run between $1,500 and $3,500 for the works.

In the popular imagination, weddings take months, even years, to plan. But some brides in Roseburg will wait, and wait, and end up buying a dress off the rack, said Julie Jeanmard of Forever Together Bridal in Roseburg.

“I’ve had brides come in four days before a wedding,” she said.

Two years ago, Jeanmard and her mother, Lee, bought Forever Together, which opened in Roseburg about 15 years ago. The shop has lately been selling dresses with more shoulder coverage.

“I think sleeves are coming back,” Julie Jeanmard said.

Bonnie Morgan of Exclusively Bridal said that in the early 2000s, after years of long, lacy formal dresses, strapless was suddenly in.

Though distant from any metro centers, Morgan’s Drain shop stocks a diverse inventory. Each available dress comes in as many as 67 colors, four lengths and different materials. But she says she carries labels other shops in the area don’t, like Maggie Sottero, and regularly sees women from Lane County travel south for deals. Most order a dress and wait the four to six months for delivery.

“Most find their dream dress in the wrong size and the wrong color,” she said.

When Morgan opened 20 years ago, brides-to-be had only a handful of established periodicals, like Modern Bride and Bridal Guide, to study before their big days. Now a bride can contemplate literally thousands of dresses online before walking into Morgan’s shop, heart set on a dream dress.

“It’s a whole different world now with the Internet,” she said. “They’re harder to please now. Their expectations are higher.”

In addition to the Internet, reality television has had an impact on customer expectations, she said. Shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” and “Bridezillas” have helped normalize over-the-top notions about weddings.

One group of young women brought into her store cards labeled 1 through 10, to express favor/disfavor as the bride tried on prospective dresses. She’s heard surprise expressed at the reasonable cost of a $1,500 dress from a mother expecting to pay 10 times that.

Some brides-to-be are surprised when they find the right dress, and they don’t burst into tears.

“They thought they were going to cry,” Morgan said.

“Some girls cry. Some moms cry. It’s all different.”

• You can reach reporter Garrett Andrews at 541-957-4218 or by email at gandrews@nrtoday.com.

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The News-Review Updated Jan 23, 2014 11:01PM Published Jan 25, 2014 09:24AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.