BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Bride-to-be’s across Central Illinois had the opportunity to plan their dream wedding with the help of roughly 40 event and wedding vendors.

The bi-annual Elegant Bridal Expo Sunday afternoon was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bloomington.

One local event coordinator and owner of Bird Nest Events, Hannah Francis, said the wedding industry is booming as wedding season approaches.

“So the wedding industry is definitely [seeing] tons and tons of bookings,” Francis said. “I think everybody was kind of holding off because of the pandemic.”

She said small, intimate weddings are becoming more of a trend.

“A lot of venues have seen decrease in number of guests that people are inviting,” Francis said.

Other vendors included florists, caterers, and ordained ministers.

Janet Brotherton, owner of Lindsay Lane Bridal, said her business is now on steady ground after the financial hit of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

“[2020] was tough but ’21 was the best year that we’ve ever had and I’ve been in business since 2005,” she said, “so we did see a remarkable recovery.”

Brotherton said the wedding industry still faces many problems due to global supply chain issues. There are often delays in shipping.

She also said the natural gas shortage affects not just the cost of transportation, but also what you wear down the aisle.

“We are seeing an increase in prices because, as people don’t realize, the gasoline prices even affect not just the shipping but even the manufacturing. Because when you have a dress that has pearls or sequoince or beads, those are petroleum byproducts. So of course, it’s going to drive prices on that.”

More information about the vendors at the Elegant Bridal Expo can be found here.