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Tinley Park Bridal Showcase promising start for couples considering nuptials

They met online, exchanging words at the touch of a keyboard.

The stories they shared, emotions they expressed and truths they told later moved the couple to take their relationship offline.

For Tinley Park’s Christine Knapkiewicz and her fiancé, Sean Hannan, this was just the beginning.

“We met at a bar downtown,” Knapkiewicz said.

Hannan chimed in and said they have dated for more than a year.

The couple, now engaged, were just one of many on hand Oct. 17 during the annual Tinley Park Bridal Showcase.

Area vendors in the wedding business set up booths, and representatives met with couples to make people aware of their various services and offerings.

The showcase was designed to create a one-stop shop for area couples preparing to tie the knot.

“For most of it, [the showcase] was [introduced] because we have all these businesses on Oak Park Avenue that were all wedding-related,” said Rick Butkus, the owner of Photos by Rick & Associates and the showcase’s organizer. “We figured we might as well show that people can go and shop locally, and be able to find things for their wedding.”

The Tinley Park Bridal Showcase aims to carve a niche, separating itself from similar events.

“It’s a little bit different than other shows, because it only has one of each vendor, so you’re not getting barraged by nine DJs or nine photographers,” Butkus said. “This way, you can sit and talk to the people, instead [of] sitting there only getting a brochure and [the vendor] saying, ‘call me later.’”

“Too many of these big shows, [what] they’re interested in is getting people through [the lines,] handing them a brochure, and that’s it,” Butkus said. “This way, you can actually get information.”

Hannan said he and his fiancé thought the showcase could be a starting point.

“We’ve only been engaged for maybe a little over a month,” he said.

Knapkiewicz said she likes seeing the different aspects of wedding planning in one location and went on to say that she envisions their special day coming together in a way that represents her and her fiancé.

Knapkiewicz and Hannan have a wedding date in mind, but it has not been set in stone. They do not yet have a venue selected.

“I think instead of relieving stress, [the showcase] more just kind of opens my mind to discovering more things,” Knapkiewicz said.

The couple had browsed through many of the booths and spoke with representatives to learn more about what they offer and what they do.

“There’s such a good, broad range of people doing different things,” Hannan said.

Couples who are planning to get married often do not give enough thought to how their wedding dance will appear in video or photos. That’s where Heart & Sole Dance aims to step in.

“This is just a fun aspect of [wedding planning,]” said Colleen Dooley, studio manager for Heart & Sole Dance. “We have really great choreographers that can sit down and go over all that stuff with them to make it easy.”

“I think what we’re trying to do is basically reach out to wedding couples in the sense [that for] a lot of people, there’s a lot of things to worry about at your wedding, and there’s a lot of things going on,” Dooley said. “What we can do is [serve as] that one part of your wedding, something you have to practice or plan on doing something fun. Maybe once a week you and your husband get out, or you and your wife get out, and you can just go to the dance studio and just dance and enjoy your time together.”

For those getting married, people tend to enjoy the tango, salsa, rhumba and fox trot.

Dooley said these dances are easy for couples to learn and went on to say that planning a wedding does not have to be stressful.

“There’s so much to do with a wedding that’s so stressful that we want this to be not stressful,” she said.

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