03/14/2011 10:39 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Engaged? Plan Your Day at Chicago's 2011 Bridal Shows

The two-month stretch between Christmas and Valentine's Day marks the time people are most likely to hear "Will you marry me?" But when the proposing has passed, the wedding planning starts whirling by, coming at engaged couples as thickly as the taffeta layers of a bridal gown. To help flustered fiances, this bevy of local bridal shows will soon shower Chicago.

An Exclusive Bridal Affair: If the prospect of getting married makes you feel as if you're walking on water, make that feeling literal by attending a bridal show aboard a boat. The Anita Dee II, a yacht docked at Navy Pier, will host An Exclusive Bridal Affair on March 19. The free event includes complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. The event showcases the boat but also includes other wedding and honeymoon vendors, like caterers and hotels.
600 E. Grand Ave; 312-379-3191 or

LGBT Wedding Expo: Now that gay civil unions are legal in Illinois, there may be more ceremony and reception planning for local same-sex couples. The 3rd Annual LGBT Wedding Expo takes place on March 27 at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza and features about 30 gay-friendly wedding photographers, officiants and florists. Advance tickets are free, though a $5 donation is suggested.
30 W. Mart Center Dr; 312-836-5000

Year-Round Wedding Expos: It doesn't matter what time of year you're getting married for Bridal Expo Chicago and The Complete Wedding Expo, as both run a show nearly every month in the Chicago area. Several events also feature a couture bridal runway show, and all shows have local vendor booths that specialize in accessories, cakes, music, invitations and everything you need to pull together a wedding. The first four tickets for The Complete Wedding Expo shows are free, and tickets for Bridal Expo Chicago events range from $10-$15.

Navy Pier Bridal Fashion Show & Expo: For perhaps the most picturesque location for a bridal show, check out the Navy Pier Bridal Fashion Show & Expo at the Crystal Gardens, where wedding exhibitors set up amid foliage and fountains. If you can't wait until Oct. 16 for the Crystal Gardens event, another show takes place April 17 at Navy Pier's Lakeview Terrace. Tickets to the event are free but should be reserved online.
600 E. Grand Ave; 312-595-7437