Local wedding planning company plans winter bridal expo

By John Henderson

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An upcoming winter bridal expo organized by a local wedding planning company at Northgreen Country Club has sold out.

More than 30 companies that provide goods and services for weddings, most from the Twin Counties, will be promoting their products and services at the event, scheduled for this coming from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at 900 Northgreen Country Lane.

More than 100 brides have registered for the event.

There is no more space for additional vendors but brides and grooms can still register online at unlimitedbridalandevent
showcase.com and get free admission to the event, said Joyce Etheridge, the owner of Heaven Angels Events, a wedding planning company who came up with the idea for the event.

Entrance to the event for the public is $5.

The goal of expo is simple – to create a “shop local” event that is bringing together local companies that provide wedding products and services with a captive audience of buyers, Etheridge said.

“The brides are coming not just to buy something, but they are also coming to get inspired and get ideas,” Etheridge said. “We’ve never had a bridal expo here in Rocky Mount. I’ll be throwing two bridal shows a year.”

The next show, in July, already has 20 wedding vendors who have reserved spots. She said plans are to hold the future expos at Nash Community College because it has more space than the country club. Each year, she plans to hold a winter and summer show, she said.

“What I’m trying to accomplish here is having a big showcase in Rocky Mount like those in Raleigh and Greenville,” she said. “I want to really promote vendors here. A lot of brides go outside of the area to get served. I want them to know we have top wedding vendors here.”

Besides vendor displays, the event will feature cake and food tasting, live entertainment, an onsite photographer to take engagement pictures, a free bridal dress giveaway and door prizes.

Angie Bennett is one of the local vendors who will be promoting her products at the expo. She and her husband, John, own “A Memory Worth Making Cakes,” which for two years has designed and made wedding cakes.

She said the expo is a great way for local businesses to promote themselves.

“I’m very hopeful,” she said. “I think it’s something that Rocky Mount needs instead of (brides) having to go to Raleigh all the time (to shop). I’m hoping it will help me build clientele.”

The fact that the future expos will be held in the winter and summer months is also a plus, Bennett said.

“That gives brides an opportunity, based on the season of wedding, a choice of new products coming out each season,” she said.

There’s a good chance that brides may not even be aware of all the local companies offering wedding products and services, she said.

“Rocky Mount is large word-of-mouth kind of place,” Bennett said. “It’s how most of my business operates.”

To get the event off the ground, Etheridge hired a marketing firm in Raleigh that is run by a Rocky Mount native.

Marilyn Bryant-Tucker, the founder of MBT Marketing Solutions, has been promoting the event on social media.

“A majority of small businesses I serve in Rocky Mount realize there are a lot of people who need help when comes to branding businesses and getting people to know about them,” she said. “There are a lot of hidden treasures (in Rocky Mount) that no one knows about.”