Bridal show includes events for grooms, too
Winchester — Nancy Craun prides herself on putting on bridal shows that brides love and grooms don’t have to be dragged to, kicking and screaming.
The ninth annual Blue Ridge Bridal Winter Marketplace Show will be just such an event, offering plenty of activities to entertain both sides of the happy couple, said Craun, owner of Blue Ridge Bride, which produces the show.
With more than 50 wedding related vendors, cooking demonstrations, a fashion show, door prizes and two big contests, the event promises a full afternoon to keep participants entertained, she said.
“There is always something going on. It is not boring. The brides tend to stay for the whole show,” Craun said.
The show will be held from noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Millwood Station, 252 Costello Drive. Admission is $6 or two for $10 in advance or $7 and $12 on the day of the show.
Last year’s show drew about 250 to 300 people, but Craun is expecting to top that this year. “I think the economy is getting better, so we are seeing more brides coming out. A lot of brides have held off getting married and have finally said, ‘OK, now that the finances are recovering a little, I am going to get married in 2014.’”
The vendors are always a big draw for the show because Craun purposely plans to have a wide selection representing different wedding related services. That will include carriage rentals, dresses, tuxedoes, photographers, wedding cakes, a yoga wellness teacher and even a balloon artist.
New this year, she invited an officiant and has 14 wedding venues in Virginia and West Virginia. Some of the venues include the Hillbrook Inn and Spa in Charles Town, W.Va., Historic Rosemont Manor in Berryville, Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast outside Middleburg, and the George Washington Hotel in Winchester.
“This is the most venues we have ever had. It is the largest geographic range of venues,” she said.
Love Flowers Shenandoah in Winchester is a first-time vendor, although owner Heather Merchant has been to the winter show in the past with other companies. She opened her business in August in a home studio in downtown Winchester and is hoping to have a storefront in the next few months.
The appeal of being involved in Craun’s shows is that she works hard to make them a great experience not only for the guests but for the vendors, Merchant said.
“The show doesn’t get stale. There is always something going on and something planned that keeps the atmosphere lively and exciting,” she said.
Merchant said she was especially impressed at how the show has offerings to appeal to grooms.
One whole section of the show is devoted to grooms, who today are more willing to become involved in wedding planning than previous generations, Craun said. “In all honesty, sometimes we wedding professionals forget about them, and they are also doing the rehearsal dinner and buying gifts for the brides.”
The event will include the fifth annual Groom’s Honeymoon Challenge, which is a competition for a honeymoon donated by Alpha Voyages Inc. in Winchester. Grooms register in advance at blueridgebridalshow.com and start completing tasks to earn points. The final phase of the competition is a blackjack game at the show.
There is also a contest for brides, the Winter Silver Suitcase Giveaway, whose grand prize is $1,000 worth of prizes from five businesses at Kernstown Commons. Registration is on the website.
The winner of the bride’s contest will be announced at the end of a fashion show at 4 p.m. Craun said she was excited to obtain Cindie Reinhold, owner of Brides and Weddings of Northern Virginia magazine, to emcee the fashion show by Potomac Bridals.
One activity that has become a hot trend for couples to do together is cooking classes, so Craun has planned demonstrations by Sodexo at 1 and 3 p.m. in the kitchen at Millwood Station.
Door prizes are drawn regularly throughout the show, but even if someone doesn’t win something there, they will with a Wheel of Fortune sponsored by Nibblins, Craun said. “You will win something.”
The ninth annual Blue Ridge Bridal Winter Marketplace Show will be held from noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Millwood Station, 252 Costello Drive. Admission is $6 or two for $10 in advance or $7 and $12 on the day of the show. An ad running in area newspapers will provide brides with free admission. For more information, contact 540-667-5956 or go to blueridgebridalshow.com.
— Contact Laura McFarland at firstname.lastname@example.org