By Rose L. Thayer

Killeen Daily Herald

Carol Villarreal attended the 2012 Bridal Extravaganza on Sunday with one specific mission - to find a wedding cake.

"It's the last thing I need to find," said the Killeen resident about her November ceremony. "Coming here has helped me out a lot."

Villarreal said she decided to plan and make the decorations for her bling-themed wedding herself to save money, but also because she enjoys it.

She said the ability to walk around and see wedding decorations and try cakes from several bakeries is what brought her to the bridal show, hosted annually by the Killeen Daily Herald and the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

While Villarreal chose the do-it-yourself route to clear any budget worries from her wedding planning, vendors said they've seen other brides trimming elsewhere in order to keep their day special.

"The big thing I've seen is people looking at smaller guest lists in order to have everything and stay within their budget," said Daria Riley, owner of Belton-based Asgard Events. "Budget isn't a bad word anymore."

With a little bit of work, she said any bride can still have the wedding of her dreams and stay within budget. Over the years, Riley said she's also seen the overall budget of a wedding shrink to about $10,000 for everything.

"I try to find the thing that makes that couple happy and special - what makes it personal to them," said Riley.

From there, she said, she focuses on that point and shows them where they can save money.

"Also, they don't want that wedding that all their friends already had," she said.

The cake is one aspect where brides seem to steer from tradition, said Vavette Blevins, owner of Works of Art Cakes in Killeen.

"Brides are wanting unique things," she said. "They want anything and everything. There's no one set of rules anymore."

To stay within budget, Blevins said she has noticed brides do a lot more shopping around than they used to, looking to find the best deal.

Marion Spiller, of Doug Spiller Photography in Salado, said shows like the Bridal Extravaganza allow customers to do just that.

"It gives the customer a relaxed atmosphere to look at people's products and not feel trapped," she said. "There's no real commitment."

Photos and videos from Sunday's event, which also included four fashion shows, will be available online at

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

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