Mar 4, 2008

Brides prepare for weddings at Main Street Bridal Fair

by Dominique McKay

In efforts to educate and entice young brides in the midst of wedding planning, the Women’s Ministry of Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) transformed Main Street into the church’s first Bridal Fair on Saturday.  The event had a dual purpose: to share in the planning of the exciting time for young brides and to encourage wise decisions in their married lives.
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“We want to impress upon (them) the importance of while you plan your wedding, plan your marriage,” said Paula Johnson, who coordinated the event.  “We just want it to be fun but also beneficial spiritually.”
A special Blessing of the Brides in TRBC’s main sanctuary featured Shari Falwell who shared some thoughts on marriage and prayed for the brides-to-be.
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The fair featured 65 vendors specializing in various fields such as catering, photography, cake-making, jewelry, videographing, counseling, reception venues and wedding locations.  Even personal fitness experts were there to encourage healthy living.
“When you have a reasonable price, time and great location, it’s a recipe for success,” said Katie Lester, manager and representative of West Manor Bed and Breakfast.
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As young models wearing wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses walked up and down the aisles of Main Street and into Pate Chapel, table after table was set up by hopeful vendors to intrigue passersby.
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Visitors at the fair were eligible for various door prizes including Lia Sophia jewelry and Mary Kay samples.  In addition to those gifts, all of the upcoming brides were offered a chance to enter and win a honeymoon trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., courtesy of Travelbugs.
Sarah Fox, a junior at Liberty University, attended the event with her roommate and bride-to-be, freshman Anna Rittenhouse.
“The bridal fair is extremely informative and eye-opening to those interested in this kind of event,” said Fox.  “It shows people what kind of things they need to look into to be prepared for their special day.”
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Rittenhouse said, “I am looking for different places that sell tuxedos and accessories, for brides, that are cheap.”
She will be getting married July 19 in Elkins, W.V.
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Rittenhouse said although she had found a few vendors who peaked her interest, she was going to keep shopping around for the best price possible.
Fox added that the bridal fair was not only a great event for anyone who was engaged, but also for those expecting an engagement in the near future or just interested in all that goes into planning a wedding.
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Many of the vendors represented non-profit organizations hoping to raise money for various causes through sales to prospective brides.
Jenna Lodge, a representative of YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association), shared that in addition to bridesmaid dresses and mother of the bride gowns, her organization offers brand new designer dresses for no more than $350 each. 
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Lodge confirmed that the proceeds from their sales go to support YWCA programs such as the Domestic Violence Prevention Center, Transitional Housing for Single Women and yGyrls: a Mentoring Program for Teenage Girls.
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A variety of counseling groups for engaged and newly wedded couples, such as Marriage Alliance, His Touch Ministries and Covenant Marriage Movement, sent representatives to the fair.
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“We focus on the marriage preparation and what happens after,” said Cindy Waugh, who counsels young couples with her husband Phil.  The Waughs are representative of the Covenant Marriage Movement.
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Liberty was represented at the bridal fair by Marisa LaBoy, a national recruiter for the university.  LaBoy said she was there to offer information about the university for girls who might possibly be interested in attending, after their upcoming weddings, as commuters or through distance learning.
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Some of the other vendors at the event included Consider the Lilies Florists, Bowen Jewelry Company, Wolf Creek Photography, Calligraphy by Tara, Father’s Table Catering, Mary Kay Cosmetics and Glenda Hinkley Cakes.

Contact Dominique McKay at dgmckay@liberty.edu.


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