DANBURY, Conn. -- Bride-to-be Ashley Ford of Danbury already has much of her wedding ceremony planned in her mind.
"It will be on the water. Lanterns will line the walkway. There'll be a salmon-colored candle in each lantern," said Ford, 19, who is planning to marry Danbury resident Jonathan Colon, 21, at the Candlewood Inn in Brookfield in May 2018.
"I'll wear a lace dress that's open in the back with a long train and a sweetheart neckline with silver beading down the front," she said. Her three bridesmaids will wear choral, and his three groomsmen will wear gray.
Ford was one of several hundred brides-to-be, accompanied by their friends and family members, who attended Crowne Plaza Danbury's recent Fall Bridal Expo.
The event showcased local wedding professionals, including photographers, videographers and jewelry and candle companies as well as cake decorators and flower shops.
Meredith and Eric Nordin, owners of Judds Flowers of Danbury, shared wedding trends they've been observing. One trend pertains to the the most popular time of year for weddings, which Meredith Nordin said is now the fall.
"In the past, people tended to book their weddings in July or August, but we are now seeing September and October weddings," she said.
In regard to flower preference, Nordin said a fresh country theme is the going trend. Country flowers include blue or green hydrangeas and deep purple or red calla lilies, she said.
When it comes to wedding rings, ladies are choosing yellow gold over pure gold or silver. "Yellow gold is a very rich, warm medal," said Donna Snow, manager of Michaels Jewelers in Danbury.
For the future groom, Snow said alternative medals are gaining popularity. "These are steels such as tungsten, cobalt and titanium," she said.
The preference for alternative medals is that "there is an edger look to them," she said. "Also, they are more scratch-resistant than gold or silver and about 60 percent less expensive."
Like Ford, 23-year-old Peggy O'Hara of Norwalk is planning to get married near water. And also like Ford, her September 2017 wedding will be at the Candlewood Inn. "I want to incorporate anchors and sailboats into my wedding theme," she said.
O'Hara said she and her fiance, Gabe Shvartsman, 25, both love the water. He is a competitive fisherman.
To keep to her wedding's nautical theme, O'Hara will wear a mermaid-style dress which is snug at the top and fans out at the bottom.
The words "organic" and "fresh" were repeated by many wedding experts throughout the expo. Danbury resident Malakah Williams, owner of Bash!, a boutique events organic bakery, is an event designer and confectionary artist who uses only organic ingredients.
"I use farm-fresh ingredients from local farms such as Halas Farm in Danbury and Blue Jay Orchards in Bethel," she said.
While organic cakes don't have a long shelf life and can be pricier than non-organic goods, customers enjoy the health benefits, freshness and taste, she said. "There are no hormones, pesticides or synthetics in them. They're made with non-processed sugar and flour."
Alex Taylor, 30, and Kat Poblete, 25, of Kent, N.Y., are planning an October 2017 wedding. They said they enjoy farm-fresh products so much that they plan to get married on a farm -- their own 200-acre farm. They are both farmers at Anderson Acres Farm in Kent.
Their wedding colors are those characteristic of fall, Poblete said, which are rust, gold, honey and burgundy. The flowers will be peonies and dahlias, both of which they grow on their farm.
Poblete advised couples to shop as local as possible and get what is in season for their weddings. "This way, nothing has to be shipped," she said. "The quality will be very noticeable, and it's also cool to support local businesses."