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Merchants at Wedding Fair Hope Brides Will Say 'I Do'

February 21, 1988|DIANNE KLEIN | Times Staff Writer

You want romance?

We can give you romance.

You want class?

We can give you class.

How about harp music discreetly tinkling in the background as your wedding guests stream into the church? Very nice. Subtle.

Or why not stage a fabulous exit by slipping into a gold Rolls-Royce, with maybe just one glance back toward the video camera, before being whisked toward an enchanted honeymoon? Definitely a moment to die for.

At the Saturday opening of Bridal Expo's 2-day bridal fair in Anaheim, it was no problem.

From the engagement through the honeymoon--including the answers to such marital issues as unwanted cellulite and satisfying the female libido--it was all there.

And why not? Even the most romantic bride will concede that it takes more than champagne to pull off her "moment of a lifetime."

Body Contouring

"For those special occasions, some people prefer this to dieting," said Dianne Farnam, general manager of Orange Coast Cosmetic Surgery Medical Group in Westminster.

Farnam was talking "body contouring," otherwise known as liposuction, otherwise known as sucking out unsightly fat with something like the surgical equivalent of a vacuum cleaner.

This was the second time Farnam had set up a booth at a Bridal Expo fair. The last time, she said, she got four surgeries out of it.

"We had this husband-and-wife team," she said. "It was great. He had his little love handles done. She had the tummy, thighs, everything."

Of course, body perfection does not come cheap. Farnam said liposuction starts at $1,800, none of it covered by insurance.

But money did not seem to be a problem for the thousands of people packed into the Disneyland Hotel's ballroom--brides-to-be, with their friends, mothers and, occasionally, even fiances.

Planning a Year Ahead

These were people who were planning their receptions more than a year in advance, people who were considering such options as "preserving" their wedding gowns in an airtight box, people who were definitely not the "Hey, babe, let's-grab-a-six-pack-and-head-to-Vegas" type.

Christopher Evans, owner of Bridal Expo Inc., said the average cost of a "nice" wedding these days can run about $15,000, including "an economy package" Hawaiian honeymoon.

Of course, a sit-down meal for your guests, that would be extra. Maybe a lot extra.

Susan Aldana, 28, of Balboa Island said she figured that her time in the limelight, including a 2-week honeymoon in Brazil, could easily come to $25,000.

"For that you get a lifetime commitment, a big party and some pictures," she said.

Oh, and before that, she and her friends were going to Palm Springs for a let-it-all-hang-out good time.

"It's going to be a big deal, a big party," said friend and party organizer Debra Berkis, 26. "We're going to embarrass Sue, get her drunk and find her a man."

Bride-to-be Kathy Sison, 24, of Westminster, said she and her dream man origianlly were going to get married this July, "but because of all the money this is costing, we're going to wait until next July."

Sison, who said hers would be the first big wedding in her family ("One sister got married by a judge and another one got married in a park!") has got her reception location narrowed down to three.

"But I definitely know that we are going to have a video wedding," she said.

Video companies were very big at the bridal fair, as were sellers of more traditional wedding trappings, such as bridal gowns, tuxedos, flowers, catering and invitations.

There were hourlong fashion shows featuring the latest in wedding attire. Cute little girls and boys posed in frilly dresses and serious suits. Models looked radiant in flowing creations of satin and lace.

But the real excitement, what nearly everyone in the crowd was waiting for, came at the end of the fashion show. Three gorgeous men--dancers from the Los Angeles nightclub Chippendales--dressed in white Navy uniforms, strutted on stage to the theme from the movie "An Officer and a Gentlemen."

The women giggled. Then they hooted. Then they screamed.

The dancers didn't crack a smile. They stood at ease, naval style. Then they slipped off a single white glove. They stroked their hair.

Then they practically ripped open their shirts. And massaged their chests, slowly.

The women howled.

But then two of the dancers strode off the stage. The one left behind stared at the women. Then he unzipped his pants.

The women gasped, turning toward their friends to whisper god-knows-what.

Then the dancer zipped up his pants and walked off the stage, glancing back just once.

Stephanie Tilger, 22, of Mission Viejo, wedding or no, was definitely hooked.

"I want to see them take off more than their shirts," she said after the performance. "I got to do this before I get married."

Her friend, Ellen Person, 23, of El Toro, agreed. Either she or Stephanie, she said, have to go to Chippendales for a "bachelorette" party.

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