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Saturday, April 20, 2024

To-be brides visit bridal expo at UF

Not every girl dreams of receiving an empty porcelain egg on her one-year anniversary with her boyfriend, and neither did 22-year-old Shands at UF employee and Santa Fe College student Rosa Favicchio.

"He told me to put my promise ring in it," said Favicchio, "I thought he was breaking up with me."

It turned out that Favicchio's then-boyfriend, Jackie Smith, 27, used the occasion, and the egg, to propose.

Favicchio, along with her mother, Joey Favicchio, 51, and sister, Lena Bohan, 26, attended the 47th Gainesville Wedding Expo on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts to continue planning her big day. Jay's Bridal & Special Occasions hosts the expo, which is usually held in January and August.

"You can definitely plan a whole wedding in a day here," Favicchio said.

"I did plan my whole wedding in a day here!" Bohan said.

Jay's Bridal & Special Occasions owner Paul Rhodenizer said he holds the event so future brides can get a lot of ideas in one place. The expo includes a fashion show with about 80 dresses to showcase bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses and mother's dresses.

Rhodenizer said 500 to 600 people usually attend each expo, and Sunday's count was 583.

Among the 45 local vendors were caterers, bakeries, event planners, event rentals, limousine services, flower shops and photographers.

J.S. Photography has been a part of the expo since 2002.

"Wedding photography is one of the most difficult things you can do," said co-owner Jeff Williams. "I like challenges and always have."

Williams and his wife and co-owner, Sabrina, both teach at UF. Sabrina is working on her doctoral degree in advertising at UF.

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"I think it's a privilege to be a part of the day that people start their new lives," she said.

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