PARKERSBURG – If good things come to those who wait, those who organized and participated in the Great Bridal Event 2014 were able to reap the benefits.
Delayed from early March because of snowy weather, the show went forward Sunday at the E.L.I.T.E Sports Center in Parkersburg to the delight of organizers, vendors and prospective wedding parties.
“We are extremely pleased with the turnout,” said Keith McClung, owner of Crown Events Rentals, the coordinating sponsor of Sunday’s event. “People were lined up to the parking lot a half-hour before we even opened.
“There were probably 200-300 people standing in line.”
With the delay of almost two months, McClung admits some people who probably would have attended in March had to go forward with their plans without being able to attend the event. However, he was seeing a lot of brides and couples Sunday, many of which were just recently engaged.
“We picked up the fall weddings and the new 2015 weddings,” he said of Sunday’s expo.
Organizers had to find the available time to allow the E.L.I.T.E. center to hold the Great Bridal Event one day and the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley’s Business Expo the next.
Hundreds of people were at the bridal show Sunday. Many prospective brides and grooms came to the event to get ideas for their own weddings, make contacts, sample food, see the latest styles in wedding attire, do bookings and more.
“Those who came, those just beginning to plan out their journey or if they are looking for one last vendor, we had the people here to help them,” McClung said. “We had an amazing array of vendors this year.”
Many who attended the show commented that the vendors went above and beyond with their displays and offerings, McClung said. The event was able to add seven additional vendors from what had originally been booked in March with no one opting out.
“We have around 110 vendors here,” McClung said. “Those are taking up 140 vendor spaces, because some of them have double and triple booth space.
“It is a full-house today. Our vendors are thrilled and we are thrilled.”
Katheryn Kuchyt, of Columbus, came to Sunday’s expo with her finance, Todd Arnold. The couple is planning to be married in southeast Ohio and wanted to see what was available locally.
“I think it is really exciting to have everything together here in one place to look at,” Kuchyt said. “I am a ‘touch and see’ person as opposed to a ‘read’ person.”
She likes to see things in person and then go to review websites to see what people are saying about different vendors. The couple is still looking for a couple more services.
“We have not found a caterer or DJ yet and those were the things we were looking for,” Kuchyt said. “We have actually gotten menus from a number of different caterers here.”
Bobby Pierce, of Hometown Cake in Parkersburg, was impressed with the turnout Sunday.
“It has been great,” he said. “There are a lot of brides here for 2015 so everyone is getting a jump on it.”
The delay caused by the severe winter weather did not hurt the vendors’ prospects at all, Pierce said.
“About two months ago, you already had a lot of bookings in place,” he said. “These shows are geared to get you booked next year and help fill in the rest of your year.”
It is about interacting with potential customers, he said.
“It is a great experience to meet the brides and let them see your work first-hand before they sign up,” Pierce said. “This is a great chance to meet all of the brides and let them see what you do.”
Alethea Ackerman, of Marietta, is planning to get married in June 2015.
“I am getting married next year and I wanted to come out and see all of the vendors,” she said. “The food and everything has been amazing.”
Ackerman originally planned to come to the show in March, but was very pleased with the variety of what was being offered Sunday.
“Actually, I think they have more people now,” she said.
Terri Page, of Valley Catering, said things still turned out well for them on Sunday.
“We had a nice crowd, even with the delay,” she said. “People still came out and we are getting a lot of contacts.”
These kinds of shows also allow vendors to make contacts with each other and help promote each other.
“It is a good opportunity for all of the vendors to be able to meet each other,” Page said. “I met a great photographer today that we are going to trade some services and recommend each other.
“It is really a good networking tool for all of us here,” she said.
Shailah Baird and Alex Waterland just moved to Parkersburg in January and are planning to get married in September.
“We weren’t sure if we were going to come but it has been awesome,” Waterland said.
Baird said it was a good chance for them to see what was available in the area and make potential contacts for services.
“We are here getting ideas,” Waterland said.
Even with a delay, everything worked out beyond anyone’s expectations, McClung said.
“The postponement actually allowed us to pull more tricks out of our hat and come up with even more creative ways to communicate with the brides,” he said. “We had a great turnout today. Who would have known?
“We are actually considering a spring date for next year’s show as opposed to the winter date in March,” he said.