Here Comes the Bride – to the Bridal Spectacular!

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One of the most fun things about attending the Bridal Spectacular is getting to try out some of the fun vendors along the way!

Planning a wedding can be a magical, wonderful and stressful experience. Trust me, I know! Just shy of being married to my wonderful hubby for one full year, the experience of planning our wedding is still fresh in my mind. One of my favorite things to do when we were engaged, and especially when we first started planning our big day, was going to the different bridal shows in town! If you are a lucky bride to be, you’re in luck! The Bridal Spectacular at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum is just around the corner!

The annual Bridal Spectacular was definitely my favorite of the many bridal shows I dragged my family and friends to over the course of my nearly two year engagement. The Coliseum Expo Center is transformed into a room of true wedding planning goodness! There are tons of local vendors scattered around wanting to show off what they have to offer for your special day. You’ll find everything from bridal gown boutiques, to local salons, to invitations, all the way to the honeymoon! While exploring everything the Bridal Spectacular has to offer, it can definitely be a lot to take in! In my days of happily wedding planning bliss, I found a few tips and tricks really helped me to make these great bridal shows fun and enjoyable!

  • Make a plan. It’s always good to have some kind of game plan when attending a bridal show. Whether you’re just bringing along a friend, or have a whole crew in tow, if you’re not all on the same page there can be a lot of confusion! Scope out the layout of the vendors and decide where you an to start and go from there. I always felt a little better picking a starting point and making the rounds from there until I was back at the beginning. If you’re game plan is to divide and conquer, make sure everyone knows what vendors they’re in charge of seeing and where you’re meeting up. I attended one bridal show with a bigger group that all decided to wander rather than stay together. By the end I had multiple copies of information and goodies that half our group was missing when the other half was ready to go!
  • Don’t feel like you have to stop everywhere. Everyone in wedding world is amazingly nice. They all love weddings and really do just want to help you! But, that doesn’t keep them from being a little pushy and making you feel like you must stop at every booth and take every handout that’s thrown your way. The very first bridal show I went to I stopped and talked to EVERYONE and took all of the little giveaways and fliers I could get my hands on! I ended up A. being crazy overwhelmed when I sat down to look at it all and B. ended up throwing over half of it away. Pick the vendors you’re truly interested in. Yes, it is great to get a variety of information, but you really don’t need every informational handout about weight-loss wraps and hot tubs!

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    My lovely “mother of the bride” and I at one of the many bridal shows we attended throughout my engagement!

  • Take people whose opinions you trust and WANT. If you are planning your wedding, I’m sure you already know that every relative, friend, coworker and random person on the street has an opinion about YOUR wedding. Bridal shows are really a place where a lot of information is thrown at you, so having people with you who will keep you calm and whose opinions you really value is important. Take a family member or friend that has experience with vendors. Bring along a couple of your bridesmaids to see if anything catches their eye. Invite someone that really “gets” you and can give some input into what you’re seeing at the show. I always took my mom with me, and also had a couple of my bridesmaids and family friends along as well. While I heard a lot of different opinions just walking through the vendors from my companions, they were opinions that I needed and wanted to hear!
  • Pay attention to the fashion. Bridal shows are a great place to see wedding dresses! The Bridal Spectacular always has great fashion shows showing off local bridal stores’ bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses in action. Whether you’ve already started hunting for the perfect dress, or are just starting to think about it, it’s really great to be able to see some wedding dresses on real women. There were dresses from local shops I had seen on the rack, or online, that I loved (or hated) that looked totally different when a real person was wearing it and walking in it. Not only is it a great way to see some pretty gowns, it’s also a great chance to be introduced to some of the great local bridal boutiques we have in the area. I discovered the bridal store I found my wedding dress at at the Bridal Spectacular!
  • ENJOY. You’re planning your wedding! This should be a fun and happy time in your life! The Bridal Spectacular, and other bridal shows, are a great chance to make it a girl’s day out and soak in the fun that is wedding planning. Some of the best memories from planning my own nuptials were made at bridal shows. It’s so fun to really start the planning process with some of your favorite people in tow, surrounded by other ladies who are soon to be happily wed just like you!

The Bridal Spectacular will take place on Saturday, January 3rd and Sunday, January 4th 2015 from 12pm-4pm each day at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Admission is $10 per person, and $5 for parking. Make it a a full-blown Girlfriend Getaway to make it even more fun! For more information, check out Visit Fort Wayne, the Bridal Spectacular website, or the Memorial Coliseum website.



Katie Robinson simply loves Fort Wayne! Born and raised in the Summit City, she returned following graduating from Ball State University with a degree in Public Relations in May of 2013. A former Visit Fort Wayner, Katie currently works for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority as the Marketing and Customer Service Specialist. In her spare time you can find her baking cupcakes, Zumba-ing her heart out and relaxing with her husband, Joe, and their adorable Shih Tzu, Gidget.

Come See a Fairy Tale Classic

One of the joys of watching the Fort Wayne Youtheatre is seeing how the kids work together to present a complete story. Actions and costumes are part of it, but the magic really happens when the stage becomes a window into a new world.

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Artist-in-Residence Harvey Cocks is one of the reasons this stage wizardry happens, and when he is in charge of making a box of children’s plaything come to life, you can bet it will be a quality production.

“The Steadfast Tin Soldier” is a play that will be presented this coming holiday season in the Black Box Theatre, inside the Auer Center for Arts and Culture, 300 E. Main St. This touching fairy tale was originally written by Hans Christian Andersen, the man famous for making other tales, like the Little Mermaid and the Ugly Duckling well-known.

In the tale of “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” a small toy military member tries to convince a pretty ballerina of his affection. In the original story, a host of trials follows the soldier as he at first attempts to convince, and then, tries to protect the dancer from harm.

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Kids in costume are rehearsing for the Steadfast Tin Soldier play

The Fort Wayne Youtheatre will focus on lending this story a Christmas flavor. There will be holiday carols as well as dancing and plenty of toys to see. With all the music and fun on stage, it will turn the ‘box’ theatre into a living display of playthings. A special dance choreographed by the Fort Wayne Ballet will be a part of the presentation, as will an army of tin soldiers – portrayed by a number of young actors in uniform. On the Sunday performance (2 p.m.), the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir Chamber Singers will also make an appearance.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier was originally presented as the very first play by the Fort Wayne Youtheatre in 1934. Harvey Cocks has revived the play for the Youtheatre’s 80th anniversary and will also be serving as the director. Fear not – the dialogue used for this play will be thoroughly modern, and viewers will have no trouble understanding the plot.

Guests are invited to attend any of the four performances that will take place on December 19 (7 p.m), 20 (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.), and 21 (2 p.m.). Those attending the performance on the 19th are also invited to attend the pre-play party (6 p.m. at Artlink). To learn more about ticket pricing, show times, or to learn more about the play, visit the Fort Wayne Youtheatre webpage and scroll down to “The Steadfast Tin Soldier.”



Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)

5 Great Must-Sees While On College Break

Just because the temperatures are getting colder the fun doesn’t have to end. The holidays are full of special events and fun activities for college students in between keeping up with social media as well as their important studies. Students can also access their textbooks online to catch up on a few chapters in between all of the fun activities. Fort Wayne, Indiana is the cultural hub of the northern part of the state and there is a long list of things to do during the holiday break.

Fun on the Ice

Ice skating is a great way to socialize with old high school friends and get in some physical activity. The Headwaters Park Ice Skating Rink opens on November 22, just in time for the holidays.

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If you don’t have ice skates—don’t worry. You can rent some for $2. You can skate seven days a week for $5. There are also extended holiday hours. The rink is located at Headwaters Park East at 311 South Clinton Street.

Participate in a Fort Wayne Tradition

Downtown HolidayFest  continues to the New Year. Check out the 2014 HolidayFest Activities page for a list of the performances, festivals and art events.

High Style Holidays

Looking for unique Christmas gifts and activities on a student budget? High Style Holidays at Fort Wayne’s Botanical Conservatory features a Christmas display emphasizing the era between the first and second world wars.

A throwback to the Roaring ‘20s, you can stroll through the plaza listening to jazz and enjoying the twinkling lights. You can get your picture made at the six foot tall Art Deco reindeer surrounded by colorful poinsettias. During the Night of Lights, the conservatory will have live reindeer.

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While you are at the Botanical Conservatory, you can also shop for gifts for the plant lover in your life. The conservatory has extended hours through the holidays and is located at 1100 South Calhoun Street.

Take in Some Culture

Fort Wayne is home to 15 different museums and art galleries and if you get tired of holiday events, Artlink at 300 East Main Street is featuring a unique exhibit. Corrugated is an exhibit of cardboard artwork created by students from the University of Saint Francis and 10 other area artists. The exhibit runs through December 3.

Also at Artlink you can view art created by using markers. Mark It Up features 25 artists in the Freistoffer Family Gallery. In the Betty Fishman Gallery, Charlotte Wehr’s paper dolls made with broken glass and wire will be on display.

Artlink gives patrons a chance to purchase the art they like and classes are offered throughout the holiday season.

See Championship Athletes

For 62 years hockey has been king in Fort Wayne with the Komets winning multiple championships and many players getting their start here before moving on to the NHL. This year the Komets, part of the East Coast Hockey League, are leading their division and play four home games in December in their quest to stay on top of the standings.Kevin St. Pierre 5 Great Must Sees While On College Break

These games are a must-see for sports fans as many of the players and coaches will go on to the National Hockey League. The Komets are affiliated this year with the Colorado Avalanche. You can see the schedule at

Go Out and Enjoy Yourself

Even the most dedicated college students deserve a break from time to time. With so much to do and see in Fort Wayne, why not go out and soak in some local culture? You may even discover some new inspiration for your next term paper.

Kaila Strong


Kaila is a technology blogger and active online as a writer for over ten years. Her passions include technology, business, travel and much more. She has fond memories of Fort Wayne, spending summers with her grandmother as a child and is also a continued supporter of local businesses in the area.

Special Services for Christmas

There’s something about the candles, the decorations, and message that makes a Christmas church service extra special. In Fort Wayne, the City of Churches, there are many Christmas events to attend around the Yuletide season.

At Trinity English Lutheran Church, a candlelight service with a Santa Lucia processional will be held on Sunday, December 7. The candlelight prelude begins at 4:00 and the service itself starts at 4:30. This will be a “Lessons and Carols” service, and it will include music from the Children’s, Junior, Youth, and Chancel choirs; Trinity Ringers; Steel Drum ensembles, and the Trinity Recorder Consort. An interesting tradition from Sweden is added to this service, in the form of the Santa Lucia processional.

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The St. Lucia processional at Trinity English Lutheran is beautifully illuminated by candlelight.

Named after a martyr from the 4th century A.D., Santa Lucia is remembered in Sweden on her birthday, December 13. Families who celebrate the holiday at home welcome a young girl, dressed in white with a wreath on her head, as she brings coffee and pastries to each member of the family before they get up in the morning. The tradition is preserved in this church service by a number of young ladies who dress in the traditional Swedish Santa Lucia costume and file through the aisles of the church. A reception with a Wassail bowl and refreshments will be held in Wagenhals Hall after the service, and it is open to service participants and guests.

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The gentle warmth of golden candles brings such peace to a church!

First Presbyterian Church has a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service that takes place on Christmas Eve. This service, complete with an orchestra in the balcony, is filled with wonderful, traditional music, twinkling Christmas garlands, and a special candlelit moment when all the electric lights are turned off. For just a few minutes, as the congregation sings “Silent Night,” the warm flicker of live candles illuminates the sanctuary in a beautiful, reverent glow. It’s like looking into a Christmas village and seeing its church come to life. From the very front all the way to the back of the hall, small candles shimmer in the hands of each person. It’s amazing how just a group of candles can light up the entire church. As the carol draws to a close, the pungent scent of smoking wicks swirls up and the electric lights bring congregants back – reluctantly – to the modern world.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church offers a children’s service at 7 p.m. and a candlelight service at 11 p.m. St. Paul’s is a comfortable church to explore, from its heavy wooden pillars to the sloped, three-sided balcony. On Christmas Eve, the choir for the 7 p.m. service will be composed of schoolchildren, K-8, who attend St. Paul’s elementary school. A special anthem, written in 1876 by a St. Paul’s teacher, will also be sung during the service. At 11 p.m. lessons and carols are presented with the accompaniment of the adult choir. This late service is also broadcast live on WOWO 1190 AM.

Holy Cross Lutheran Church also offers several services on Christmas Eve. Just looking inside the sanctuary is enough to get you into a festive mood. The pine boughs lining the balcony, the tall Christmas trees in front and the golden angels trumpeting over the chancel are lovely.

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One of the golden angels at Holy Cross Lutheran – doesn’t it shimmer?

Wreaths and ribbons are everywhere, and there are services that should fit with any busy schedule. At 4 p.m., Holy Cross offers a family service with contemporary, praise band worship. The 7 p.m. service has traditional music, with organ and piano accompanying the singing. At the 11 p.m. service (with communion), congregants are each given a candle to light during the service. And a traditional service is also offered at 9 a.m. on Christmas Day. For each Christmas Eve service, attendees are encouraged to bring along bells – anything that makes a joyous jingle! Everyone rings the bells during the singing of “Joy to the World.”

After Christmas day, Plymouth Congregational Church offers the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival on December 28, 29 and 30 at 5:30 and 8 p.m. all three nights. This festival, resplendent with Renaissance-style costumes and music, is truly a treat for the senses.

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A Beefeater – in full British garb at the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival at Plymouth Congregational.

The first Boar’s Head procession was held in 1340 A.D., in England at Queen’s College in Oxford. For Fort Wayne’s service, over 250 musicians and performers are included in the pageant. Be prepared for almost any type of Old English entertainment: a grand procession of the Magi, a live Crèche, and ushers who walk atop the pews to gather a freewill offering – these are just some of the outstanding memories you may take back. The music, of course, is beautiful. A special orchestra, bell choir, and many vocal selections are all performed to perfection. Spotlights bring out the jewel-hued costumes as participants in the spectacle slowly promenade up the aisles of the dimmed sanctuary. The church is always packed out for this event, so pick up your free tickets early.

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A angel performing liturgical dance – fits right in with the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival.

Fort Wayne has plenty to choose from if you’re looking for a unique Christmas celebration. Stop by any of these churches and you’ll be welcome at this special time of year!



Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)

Christmas at the Castle

Bring on the Christmas music, decorating, movies and Bing Crosby – the holiday season is upon us! December has always been my favorite month to call Fort Wayne home. In a city full of traditions there are always activities to be had with family and friends around town. Behind every old tradition, new traditions arise giving visitors an opportunity to create their own family experiences. With so many options to choose from, Christmas at the Castle offers a unique type of holiday experience.

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The University of Saint Francis is a beautiful campus here in Fort Wayne filled with unique history, the most popular building being the Bass Mansion. The 24,000 square-foot home belonged to John Henry Bass, a wealthy industrialist. It started out as a library for the university in 1983. In that year Sister Mary Ann McManus started Christmas at the Castle. She began the tradition by inviting florists and designers to decorate the rooms, unfortunately it ended a few years after. With the restoring of what is now known as Brookside in 2008-2009, Christmas at the Castle was able to come back in December of 2010.

Saint Francis preserved the history of the building while modernizing the three floors. The three floor mansion gives designers and florists ample space to choose which room they want to decorate. Visitors are able to tour all three floors with many rooms and offices to view. The beautifully decorated trees and greenery gives guests something to find around every corner. The decorator’s immense detail to the Christmas décor from the fireplace mirrors, mantels and railings brings visitors back year after year. Come get in the holiday spirit with us and explore Brookside, a unique traditional twist of Fort Wayne! Check below for dates and times.

Friday, December 5: 4 – 6 pm

Saturday, December 6: 12 – 5 pm

Sunday, December 7: 12 – 5 pm

Monday, December 8: 4 – 5 pm

Wednesday, Dec. 10: Noon -5 p.m., Senior Day at the Castle



$6 per person; $25 maximum per family of six.


Senior Day admission:

$4 for seniors 55 and older.


Free parking at North Campus; shuttles available.

University of Saint Francis, Brookside

2701 Spring Street

Haley Baker


Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Haley has plenty of Fort Wayne knowledge, thanks to her former job at Visit Fort Wayne. She loves enjoying the city and finds herself keeping up with new things to do around town. You can find Haley hitting the bike trails with her husband, and also walking her Boxer, Layla on a nice day. Last but not least, you can find her rooting on her Packers on Sundays!