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Local wedding vendors team up to offer seminars for brides and grooms

Date published: 3/11/2006



"We decided to do this again because when we do bridal shows, some of the [vendors] come here and then leave. We thought it would be good to get the local vendors together and do it ourselves," said Mary King of LOK Custom Fashions in Stafford County, which sells bridal gowns and formal dresses. "I think it should be very good, because it advertises our business along with helping the young brides."

The association has been meeting weekly for the past month to get organized, and decided to donate proceeds to charitable causes. One possibility is giving away a complete wedding package to a couple who can't afford it.

Weddings are expensive. The average ceremony and reception costs $26,327, according to Brides magazine.

So where to begin?

While some couples focus on their honeymoon, Chilton recommends picking the wedding date first, then checking to see if their church or synagogue is available. After that, they should locate a reception site, look for that perfect wedding gown and line up the florist, caterer, photographer, deejay and other vendors.

Chilton said most of the brides she sees at Weddings by Ginny come armed with wedding planners or notebooks they've divided into sections. They've also compiled a list of ideas from bridal magazines and Web sites.

"There are so many different things on the Internet now," she said. "You wouldn't believe the sites."

Theme weddings are especially popular, Chilton said. Examples include Mardi Gras, Cinderella or something tropical and beachy. But many brides also want to incorporate a traditional touch into their big day.

"We have a lot of girls who say they're looking for a seamstress because they're using their mom's dress and it needs to be altered. I had one bride who had a veil that belonged to her mom and she wanted it redone."

Brides typically turn to consultants and events such as the group's wedding seminars because they need help planning their wedding, selecting a site and finding people who can help with such things as dress fittings and dance numbers.

"They may come here unorganized," Chilton said, "but when they leave, they won't be."

To reach CATHY JETT: 540/374-5407
Email: cjett@freelancestar.com

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In 2004, September was the most popular month in which to marry, followed by October, then August, June and July

The length of engagement is 17 months

43% of couples had both their ceremony and reception in the same location

9% of couples had a destination wedding with an average of 53 guests

--Source: Brides Magazine 2005 wedding study

Nuptial numbers