Jessica Johnson Staff Reporter
January 5, 2014
The Downtown Mount Airy Bridal Fair will enjoy an earlier date this year on Jan. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old North State Winery. Representatives from local wedding and reception venues will be on hand to help brides plan their special day, in addition to other wedding-related businesses.
Bridal fair vendors are encouraged to apply by mid-January to guarantee the best spot.
An earlier bridal fair is a better fit for brides who often have wedding plans nailed down by March, which was the month of previous year’s bridal fairs, Downtown Coordinator Lizzie Morrison said, noting that spring wedding dates continue to remain quite popular.
The event is free, and those interested in attending should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, visit mountairydowntown.org for online registration and more information, or call 786-4511. Brides who register in advance for the bridal fair will receive entry into a grand prize drawing.
Morrison said brides who attend will enjoy experiencing hair, make-up, and spa consultations on the spot at the bridal fair, in order to help them generate ideas for their big day.
“We want to pamper the brides, let it be an amazing experience for them,” said Morrison.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. Brides who attend will be able to plan their entire wedding, using local and regional vendors,” Morrison said.
Local and regional vendors are encouraged to apply for a booth space at the bridal fair as soon as possible, Morrison said.
Potential vendors include those offering wedding and reception venues, catering and food, lodging, photography, bridal fashions and honeymoon attire, hair and make up, wedding planners, rental services, limousines and other vehicles, printing and invitations, general gifts, florists, dress restoration, music and DJ services, and more.
“We would love to have the venue filled with downtown businesses as well as local businesses from outside of the downtown area,” Morrison added.
Vendors will receive a 10-by-10-foot space, a table with a table cloth, two chairs, free wireless internet, use of electrical outlets, free advertising and an email list of all brides in attendance. Morrison added that each vendor is encouraged to bring goodies and/or samples for guests attending the bridal fair.
Potential vendors should call Lizzie Morrison at 786-4511 or email email@example.com. Applications and more details are available online at mountairydowntown.org.
Mount Airy: Wedding destination?
With destination weddings becoming popular in the past decade, many brides from this area were once traveling outside of the area for their big day. Now, many are choosing to stay local, not only as a way to keep costs down, but also as a way to showcase this area for out-of-town visitors who may be unfamiliar with Mount Airy and Surry County.
“I think Mount Airy has a certain nostalgia about it that helps to create a special environment for the big day. I know when I got married here in Mount Airy — my husband is from Alabama — we had out-of-town guests who really enjoyed the experience of coming here for our wedding. In general, with people visiting Mount Airy or holding special events here, there is an experience created that you really can’t get anywhere else,” added Morrison.
“We now have a lot of great spaces for events,” Morrison said, “such as Surry Arts Council’s Andy Griffith Playhouse and the Blackmon Ampitheatre, Old North State Winery, lots of places within our downtown district, the city rents out park facilities, White Sulphur Springs, multiple hotels, and lots outside of the city as well.”
In addition, Morrison said she encourages local and out-of-town brides to register for wedding gifts at stores in downtown Mount Airy. “We have so many great places to register for wedding gifts downtown, and many offer a wedding registry. Many brides now tend to register online, but people who are shopping also like to have an experience when picking out a wedding gift. There are so many unique places in downtown Mount Airy; plus, it encourages people to shop downtown. I say, ‘Register local to support local business.’”
Jessica Icenhour Roberts, director of tourism and marketing at Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce/Mount Airy Visitors Center, said Mount Airy is becoming more of a wedding destination than in the past. “We are getting requests from the website for wineries and other local places that serve brides. There is an increase in those requests and many of the venues have weddings booked every weekend. These are not just locals, some are people from outside of the area who are traveling here to get married,” Roberts said.
Many of those who travel from out of town to get married in this area do have smaller weddings, Roberts added, but that is not always the case either. Also, the visitors center offers a unique service for brides who have out-of-town guests and for any group who travels here: Mount Airy-themed bags with visitor information and anything else the bride chooses to include.
“If we have a wedding party and they say they have guests coming into town, we can put together special bags for them, so they will have other things to do while they are here and we add information from the entire county such as events, destinations, restaurants and attractions. We offer this for brides as well as other groups. Some choose to use their own bags, but we do have plastic bags with ‘Mount Airy’ on them.”
In general, Roberts said they try to help potential brides in any way they can. “If someone calls and needs information about having a wedding here or are trying to plan a wedding, we will try to help them with their specific needs, such as recommendation of venues, reception places, rehearsal dinner spaces, and more. We cater to each person who calls and try to put together information for them.”
Reach Jessica Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1933.
Reach Jessica Johnson at email@example.com or 719-1933.