The weekend’s sunny blue skies were the kind any bride would love on her special day.
Anything else that a prospective bride could want or need to make her wedding day special could be found at the Something Blue Bridal Fair, held Saturday at the General Morgan Inn.
Venues, photographers, caterers, wedding cakes, formal attire, entertainment, stationery, decorations, event planning and honeymoon planning — all aspects of a wedding could be found in the 34 informational displays that filled the hotel’s lobby and ballroom and spilled beyond, into the hallways.
“It was the best show yet,” said Patricia Bohon, who coordinates the event for the General Morgan Inn. “We want to thank our vendors. We couldn’t have the show without them and, of course, the brides.”
This year’s show, the hotel’s ninth bridal fair, grew to 32 vendors from 23 last year, and two had multiple booths, Bohon said. Vendors had to be turned away from this year’s show because of lack of space.
Attendance was about 325, she said, and 148 brides participated.
The focus of the day was reflected by Latawna Smith and Brittany Starnes in their “bride” and “matron of honor” T-shirts. Smith, the bride, said she was excited about the show as she plans her September wedding. “There is so much here,” she said.
Starnes, the matron of honor, shared the enthusiasm. “This is the first time I have been to a bridal show,” she said. “I wish I had the opportunity to attend something like this before I got married.”
Another prospective bride, Elizabeth Brewer, was exploring a variety of booths as she plans May nuptials. “There is lots of information to take in,” she said. “This is so nice that we have this type of event so close to home.”
One vendor Brewer visited was participating in the bridal fair for the first time to show off its different focus — bridesmaids dresses and accessories. Kelly Short, owner/stylist of Always the Bridesmaids of Bristol, said she had been busy throughout the show talking to brides and was enjoying the fair.
She explained that her shop, which opened in December, invites brides to bring their bridesmaid parties to try on dresses at one time to help make the process easier.
The lobby and ballroom was often shoulder-to-shoulder with people, but no one seemed rushed. Smiles could be seen on many faces, and laughter mixed with the roar of chatter.
Several vendors pointed to that friendly, welcoming atmosphere as one reason they enjoy participating in the bridal fair each year and look forward to returning.
This was the fifth year that Katrina Morlen of Katrina Serene Photography participated in the Something Blue event.
Saturday’s turnout was good, but, even when the turnout has been smaller due to winter weather, Morlen has always gotten bookings from the fair and always enjoys the show, she said.
“Everyone is really friendly,” she said. “It is a good atmosphere.”
Lynette Price, co-owner of Creamy Cup, which was providing ice cream treats to attendees while promoting its wedding services, agreed.
“The size and the intimacy of the show definitely adds value to the event,” she said. “You have time to visit with brides and see what they need. All the vendors offer quality services. They do a great job.”
Margaret Moore of Lost Mountain Catering said the Something Blue fair was the first event she participated in when she started her business five years ago. She has returned each year.
“I love this show,” she said. “The friendliness of people makes it enjoyable.”
For attendees, the fair held the possibility of winning some prizes from individual vendors, but also a grand door prize: a three-night Bahama Royal Caribbean Cruise. Winning the cruise was Breanna Green, of Greeneville.