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Hundreds turn out for Great Bridal Event

PARKERSBURG – Many engaged couples got a chance to see what could be available at their weddings during The Great Bridal Event 2016 in Parkersburg.

Hundreds of people were at the bridal show held Sunday at the E.L.I.T.E. Center in south Parkersburg. 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.

“Things have been going so well,” said Keith McClung, owner of Crown Event Rentals, the organizing sponsor of Sunday’s event. “We were concerned if the weather (with temperatures in the 60s) would cause people to want to stay outside, but within the first hour of opening our doors we had over 250 brides.”

People were continuing to file in throughout the entire event Sunday.

This year the show hosted around 80-90 vendors who encompassed 130 vendor spaces as many of them had double and triple spaces, McClung said. The vendors included photographers, jewelers, caterers, DJs, florists, businesses specializing in wedding attire and more.

There was also a fashion show that showed a variety of dress and tuxedo options during the bridal event.

“Every year it just grows and grows and grows,” McClung said of Sunday’s event. “It has been a great show.

“We believe it will be a record breaking show for us.”

A lot of the vendors have gone with a organic approach this year, he said. There were a lot of natural elements in their displays. With the florals, it is naturals. With the food, the trend has been farm-to-table.

Kaitlin Spears, of Coolville, came with friends Sunday to gather up some ideas for her wedding which could be held around May 2017. Like many brides who have started the process of planning their weddings, Spears said she wasn’t exactly sure where to begin on a number of items.

“We have just starting talking things out,” she said.

Spears admitted the bridal show could be overwhelming in the number of things that have to be considered in planning a wedding, but she was glad to have so much available in one place.

“It has been really helpful,” she said. “They have a lot of good things to look at.”

The event has been held locally for over 10 years. Organizers were originally looking at last weekend to hold the event, but decided to do it the last Sunday in January.

“I am very glad about that decision,” McClung said of the heavy snows that hit the area last week. “The difference in the weather has been night and day, but we will take it.”

Because of space limitations, the bridal show was a juried event with vendors having to qualify to earn a spot.

“We picked the cream of the crop with our vendors,” McClung said. “We always have ton of applicants coming in.

“We have a lot of great vendors in the area.”

It is important for Hornor & Harrison to be part of the show, David Boone, partner at the clothing and apparel store in Parkersburg, said Sunday.

“This is one of the best shows around,” he said. “You get exposed to all of the brides who are in the market.

“It has been very good for us.”

Boone said there have been many couples in with the brides looking at tuxes trying to determine what would look best for their significant other.

“Some have decided what their colors will be while others are still in the exploratory stage and still trying to figure it all out,” he said. “We are trying to help them and get it all arranged for them.”

The show is always good in helping them make contacts and bring in business in the coming months.

“This show brings more brides to a single event than anything in this area,” Boone said “We want to be a part of it because we feel we are the leading tux supplier in the area.”

Victoria Yater, of Vienna, is planning a destination wedding out of the area but plans to have a gathering locally for family and friends. She was at the show with some friends on Sunday.

“We’re out trying to enjoy the bridal options in the area,” Yater said. “This is my first look at what we need to do.”

She commended the event for the variety of vendors available and what is available locally.

“The show is very well organized,” Yater said. “I think the options are more than I realized they would have.”

She made a number of contacts with people she plans to call later down the line when the time comes to secure services and products for their gathering.

Wyatt Allen, of Parkersburg, was at the show with his fiancee, Grace Middleton of Belpre. The couple is planning to get married Oct. 1, 2016. They were at Sunday’s event to see what might be available and what some things are they might need to plan for in the coming months.

“We have some ideas, but this is giving us a lot of inspiration for what to expect and what to plan for,” Allen said.

They have already made some contacts for products and services they may need for their wedding.

“There is a lot to take in, but it has been really informative with a lot of the stuff we normally wouldn’t think of, because we have never done it before,” he said.

McClung said he hopes people were able to find what they needed and were inspired to try something they may not have otherwise considered.

“We hope the people who come here get their questions answered,” he said. “They are going to have questions about what were the correct vendors to use and which are the quality vendors to use.

“We are hoping people come here and they are able to check off everyone of their needed vendors. That is our goal with this because what we have here is the freshest, newest and trendiest things in wedding and event planning.”

There really was something for everyone.

“We have bargain shoppers here today,” McClung said. “We have brides on budgets and brides with unlimited budgets.

“I am happy to say we have vendors here for all of them.”

McClung believes an event like Sunday’s show can demonstrate to area officials what could be accomplished if someone could develop a large-scale event center for the area.

“This event can be a calling card to the city that we need a large venue,” he said. “I have a waiting list of vendors I could not get in the door because, I don’t have anywhere to put them.

“This is one show, but I think if we had the venue it would be filled up regularly.”

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