Brides from Surry County and surrounding areas were greeted by businesses and wedding industry vendors Saturday during the annual Mount Airy Bridal Fair, sponsored by the Downtown Business Association and held at Old North State Winery and Brewery.
Jennie Lowry Caudill, a representative for the Downtown Business Association who helped to plan the event, said she believes the event offers brides more “one-on-one attention” than they would typically receive at larger bridal fairs.
The Mount Airy Bridal Fair encouraged brides and grooms to use local resources and businesses when planning their wedding.
The wedding industry in North Carolina alone brought in $1.4 billion to the state last year, and the average bride spent around $20,000 on her wedding, according to statistics released by The Wedding Report.
Brides who attended yesterday’s bridal fair indicated they wanted a simpler and toned-down approach to wedding planning, and the majority said they were looking to cut costs whenever possible.
Maranda Hill traveled from the Yadkinville area for the event after she saw an advertisement for the bridal fair.
Slthough her wedding would not be held in Surry County, she wanted more ideas for her reception and was finding inspiration by browsing the vendor booths and decor at the bridal fair.
Future bride Brooke Chilton, of Mount Airy, said she is planning a wedding for September with fiance Brandon Brim.
Chilton said she and her fiance decided to have their wedding locally because it is more convenient for the type of event they strive for: “a simple celebration with our family involved.”
She was joined by her mother, grandmother, and future mother-in-law as they enjoyed posing for pictures in a photo booth set up by one of the vendors.
After they selected props such as sunglasses and hats, Chilton and other members of her group posed for free pictures in the photo booth, which was a bridal fair favorite for those in attendance.
Angie Holcomb, owner of Prints Charming Photo Booth, said many brides and grooms have chosen to feature a photo booth at their weddings in order to entertain guests with “interactive fun with unlimited pictures” and even an option for guests to add the pictures to an instant scrapbook for the newlyweds.
Representatives from Cooke Rentals said they offer a photo booth rental, available for any occasion, which had already been reserved for the upcoming Mount Airy High School prom. The Cook Rentals booth featured place settings, stemware, glasses, cake stands and a display of a variety of other items available for rent.
Cross Creek Country Club representatives said they were “proud to offer a full-service facility” for brides, which included an in-house event planner and multiple spaces for the ceremony and reception. With 16 weddings held at Cross Creek last year, and past years with as many as 25 weddings, country club continues to be a popular wedding venue for local brides.
Agents with Travel Specialists said destination weddings continued to be popular with brides and the most popular honeymoon destination in the nation was Hawaii.
Several downtown businesses such as Main Oak Emporium and Something Different on Main said they have wedding registry services available for brides and grooms.
Vicki Fields and Robin Owens of Pioneer Printing had a booth decorated with ideas for invitations, save-the-date cards, programs, napkins, customized memory candles, and wedding accessories. Fields said that she recommends that brides spend their money locally because they will receive “loyal customer service” they may not receive by looking for wedding needs online or out-of-town.
Jenna Claxton-Puckett, coordinator of the bridal fair and representative of the Downtown Business Association, said the annual event is tied in with one of the main focuses of the D.B.A., which is “shop local and support local businesses.”
“I think that is what is so important about the D.B.A. — we want to keep money in the local economy. You get a more one-on-one experience…personally, I am passionate about this…it has a trickle-down effect.”
Vendors and contributors for the Mount Airy Bridal Show included Salon 222, Pioneer Printing, Terri Hall with Merle Norman Cosmetics, Cooke Rentals, Cross Creek Country Club, Old North State Winery Catering, Prints Charming Photo Booth, Southern Bride, F. Rees Co. and The Addition, The Travel Specialists, Hampton Inn and Suites, Shelton Vineyards, Shutterbug Photography by Amber Adams, Something Different on Main, B-Dazzle Productions DJ Blanton Youell, Main Oak Emporium, White Sulphur Springs Cabins, Airmont Florist, and Professional Rental Service linen rentals.
Reach Jessica Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1933.