Touchdown the Aisle

Have you ever wondered why so many people seem to get engaged this time of year? The answer is simple: Men are cheap bastards. At least that's what Linda Miller, the producer of the Bridal Extravaganza Show, seems to think. (And she's probably right.)

"Why do we have the show in January?" she asks. "Because everybody gets engaged on Christmas or New Year's Eve. The guys are too cheap to buy a present. They can just buy the ring and get it over with."

Miller created the Bridal Extravaganza Show 20 years ago to offer potential brides "one-stop shopping" for the big day. Back then, only department stores hosted small bridal shows, and the brides were lucky if they could get in with their mothers. "I wanted to create an event that would be in a humongous forum," she says. Only the George R. Brown Convention Center was big enough for her vision.

"You can bring your entire bridal party," she says to potential brides and customers. "You can bring the flower girl, you can bring the mother of the groom, you can bring your mother, you can bring the groom -- everybody can come."

We normally might take offense at Miller's putting the groom at the end of the list of people to bring, but let's face it: Most men consider planning the details of their wedding to be as exciting as picking out which color of velvet they want lining their coffin (not, of course, to draw any connection between the two). The invitations, the place settings, the flowers, the dresses...What more could a guy want?

Actually, a lot. This year Miller got together with the Houston Community College fashion design department to create an entire line of football-themed wedding dresses for the show. "If you want to bring the groom, he's going to enjoy this display," she promises.

Roll the highlight clip...

The gridiron designs include team motifs, beaded football helmets, a John Madden-inspired ensemble complete with X's and O's (boom!) and a slinky number decked out with an Astroturf train, pigskin-inspired lace-up bodice and split football bra.

"Wouldn't a groom be surprised if he's standing at the altar and in comes a girl with a football on her chest?" Miller asks. Well, if she's being literal, then we'd have to say he would be surprised. Then again, if she's being figurative, we'd have to say, "Hell, yes! He'd be pleasantly surprised."

There are also options for the special teams, including a referee dress for the mother-in-law and cheerleader garb for the bridesmaids, although that last option is guaranteed to break a cardinal rule of wedding planning: Make sure your bridesmaids don't look better than you do.

"Now, I'm not saying we're going to sell any of these dresses," Miller admits. "But if somebody really wants a football-themed wedding, if somebody wants to do a wedding during the Super Bowl weekend, we've got the dresses to do it with."

And once the lucky ladies have lured their future hubbies in the door, they can nudge their armchair quarterbacks toward the many jewelers on hand. "Even if they've got the ring already, what girl wouldn't want an exciting wedding present?" Miller asks. Guys, it's going to be a long season.

10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, January 10, and 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, January 11. 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For info, call 281-340-7777 or visit $8.

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Keith Plocek
Contact: Keith Plocek