The Downtown Mount Airy Bridal Fair’s earlier date this year certainly seemed to favor the event, with organizers estimating double the participation this year.
The event was held Saturday at the Old North State Winery with representatives from local wedding and reception venues on hand to help brides plan their special day, in addition to other wedding-related businesses.
According to Downtown Coordinator Lizzie Morrison, an earlier bridal fair was a better fit for brides who often have wedding plans nailed down by March, which was the month of previous year’s bridal fairs, and noting that spring wedding dates continue to remain popular.
Brides who attended the free event had to opportunity to experience activities including hair, make-up, and spa consultations as well as sample wedding cakes.
Surry Central High School student Erica Edwards, who would later be one of the fair’s fashion show models, paused to talk as her hair was being done by Master Stylist Scotty Jarrell. The 16-year old said she had always been interested in participating in a bridal fair and jumped at the chance to be a demonstrator when invited by Melissa Johnson of Poppys Boutique.
“I’m going to get married in 2015, ” said Bride-to-be Michelle Blood who also later served as a model in the fashion show. “I wanted to do this to see what’s available locally instead of going online. It’s nice to find out what is our there locally.” She said she liked the local connection of local vendors and was impressed at the turnout.
Cheryl Farrington of We Sisters Bakery discussed the samples of cake on display at her booth with future bride Sabrina Bowman and her mother, Penny Bowman.
“It’s good to be here to see what goods and services are available,” Sabrina Bowman said. She said in spite of the way popular media is less than positive on marriage she values being in a long-term relationship. She said she has graduated from Appalachian State and plans on teaching family and consumer science at Mount Airy High School.
Bride-to-be Laura Oldham, whose name was later chosen in a drawing for a gift basket with items from downtown Mount Airy Merchants, was delighted to have traveled to Mount Airy Friday and learned about the fair by chance. She and her fiance, Zach Hayden, plan on living in Raleigh but feel strongly about getting married in Mount Airy. She said she had only visited three vendor’s tables but was impressed.
“It’s definitely good information here,” said Oldham. “I’ve found the prices much more reasonable and the quality has been good here.” She said she was looking forward to the engagement party Saturday night at Old North State and said the fair was at the perfect time for her planning.
“I feel safe judging from last year’s figures that we have doubled,” said Coordinator Lizzie Morrison. “All of the booths we have are well thought out. They ( the vendors) have really put some thought into it and created a very bride-friendly atmosphere.”
She explained many brides are seeking to personalize their weddings and make them unique which is a strength of local merchants who are themselves unique.
Morrison suggested destination weddings have become popular in the past decade with many local brides who once traveled outside of the area for their big day. She said many now 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.
“On behalf of the Downtown Business Association I’d like to recognize Old North State Winery for all they do to help our efforts,” said DBA President Phil Marsh. “This event just keeps growing and growing.”
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.