Food Network's hottest pastry chef, Duff Goldman, will be in the house Sunday when the doors to Formal Affair open at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Formal Affair is the annual bridal/event-planning expo sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. This year's show offers 127 vendors displaying their services and products in 160 booths, according to Angela Doggett, TFP events manager. Engaged couples can comparison-shop vendors in one convenient location, eliminating the need to drive all over town.
But even guests not sporting a sparkly diamond on their left hand will find plenty to entertain them at Sunday's show.
Goldman, Food Network's "Ace of Cakes," will sit down onstage with former Miss Tennessee Stefanie Wittler at 3 p.m. for a question-and-answer session.
At 4 p.m., he will judge the first Chattanooga Cake Ace competition. Chefs from 10 regional bakeries are entering groom's cakes for consideration.
Joining Goldman in scoring entries will be Masa Yamashita, UTC executive chef; Linda Davis, UTC pastry chef; and Sara Jackson, Times Free Press representative. Judges will be served slices from a 6-inch-round cake made of the same batters and icings as each contest entry.
Although the display cakes won't be cut, Formal Affair guests can give the contestants' work their own taste-test. Signage will be posted at each entry displaying that entrant's name and vendor booth in the exhibit hall, said Doggett. At that booth, vendors will serve samples of the same cake flavors used in their contest entry.
Kim Coulter will moderate a fashion show of bridal designs and honeymoon attire at 4:30 p.m. Fashions for the bridal party will be presented by A Dressy Affair and Ever After Bridal and Formal Wear, both of Cleveland, Tenn.; Boutique Couture, David's Bridal and Giorgio Men's Warehouse. Belk will present clothes for a honeymoon.
Hair and makeup for all models will be done by Epiphany Salon and Day Spa.
Following the fashion show, Goldman will return to the stage to present the grand prize: a Cancun honeymoon courtesy of Choo Choo Travel. Doggett said other sponsor giveaways will also take place then, including a one-day facility rental from Renaissance Center and a gift certificate for a man's Tungston carbide wedding band from Kennedy Jewelers.
"You must be a registered bride and be present to win," said Doggett. "Also, door prizes are nontransferable."
The show will close with Goldman naming Chattanooga's first Cake Ace.
It's not too late to get an $8 advance ticket. Doggett said the advance sales will continue on www.timesfreepress.com/formalaffair until midnight Saturday.
IF YOU GO
* What: Formal Affair.
* When: 1-5:30 p.m. Sunday.
* Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza.
* Admission: $10 at the door, $8 in advance.
* Website: www.timesfreepress.com/formalaffair.
* 3 p.m. Q&A with "Ace of Cake's" Duff Goldman
* 4-4:30 p.m. Judging of Chattanooga's Cake Ace groom's cake contest
* 4:30 p.m. Fashion show
* 5 p.m. Grand-prize drawing, sponsor giveaways
* 5:15-5:30 p.m. Announcement of Chattanooga's Cake Ace
* 212 Market
* Cafe LeMont/Lady J Cakes
* Cake Boutique
* Chattanooga Cupcakes
* Couture Cakes and Confections
* Cup a Dee Cakes
* Heirloom Catering
* Mountain Oaks Event Center/Chapel
* Piece a Cake Bakery
* Sweet Angel Cakes
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...
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