By Ashley Simpson
These days, wedding planning can easily feel like a full-time job. Between the engagement and the actual event, there are so many decisions for couples to make and a seemingly infinite number of details to coordinate.
Amidst all the time, energy and money that brides-to-be and their families pour into a wedding, the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) of Ranson, West Virginia, is planning a free event to make the job just a little bit easier. On Sunday, March 5th, the first ever Ranson Bridal Expo will take place at the Ranson Civic Center from 12:00-4:00 p. m.
“If only there was one event and one place in Ranson for brides to meet all their local options for big wedding vendors,” thought Emilee Pierson of Ranson, West Virginia, as she tackled her Capstone project as last year as a graduating Communications and New Media major at Shepherd University. This year, as a CVB Communications Specialist, she took all the related research she did for that project and has been central in the planning of next month’s inaugural Ranson Bridal Expo.
“This is the first year that we are doing it, based on the feedback and interest we’ve been getting, we are will continue to do it,” Pierson said. “We’re planning for more than 50 vendors, and admission is free. On top of that, there will be a $500 cash giveaway for one of the attending brides-to-be.”
The participating vendors will include flower companies, bakeries, hair and make-up artists, dress designers, tuxedo shops and limousine services. Many of the exhibitors plan on holding live demonstrations at the event.
“One of the limousine services will actually be parking one of their limos inside the Civic Center,” Pierson said. “We’re also speaking to both a spa and a ballroom dancing school who both would like to hold live demos.”
Of all the vendors planning to set up shop at the expo, the overwhelming majority are from surrounding areas in West Virginia. Of the out-of-state vendors, most are based within driving distance from Ranson. The furthest-away participating vendor, Pierson said, is sending a representative from Tennessee.
The CVB is still working out logistics for a headlining event, but Pierson said that her team of event planners would love to figure out a way to make a bridal fashion show happen on the main stage.
Future brides need not register for the event, but they must be present at the Expo in order to win the $500 prize.
“There will be a form for brides to fill out with their contact information and their wedding date, and the drawing will occur for the chance to win,” she said.
"We’ve gotten a lot of vendors just recently. We have a week and a half until we will cut off the vendor applications."
Pierson said she is thrilled to see her Capstone Project come to fruition as such an already-popular wedding planning event in Ranson, a city that hadn’t ever before hosted a Bridal Expo.
“I’m hoping this will be the start of a great annual event, and I know it’s going to be great for any future bride,” Pierson said. “Anyone planning on getting married should come to see what we have locally, versus having to go out and search for vendors themselves.”
For more information on the Ranson Bridal Expo, please visit ransonwv.us/Calendar.aspx?EID=165..