Kenleigh Brogdon of Lizella admits she was one of those girls who had her perfect wedding planned back when she was a little girl.
Brogdon, 22, spent Sunday with her mother, Cherry, at the Blacksmith Shop in order to make some of those details a reality.
Even though her wedding isnt schedule until March 2014, the Brogdons wanted to take advantage of the Macons Wedding Ring Bridal Show to learn about what DJs, photographers, florists and caterers might be available to her when the big day comes.
I just got engaged over Christmas Eve, Kenleigh Brogdon said. Im just getting started. ... We saw the videographers, and we didnt even think about it before we came.
We try to do a lot of it ourselves, Cherry Brogdon said. This kind of thing is super helpful. We want to be able to put our hands on (the wedding planning), not turn it over to someone else.
Rachel Queen, 26, of Macon, said she hasnt set a precise date yet but will marry her fiance, Gary Atwell, sometime this summer. She said because of time constraints in her schedule, its much easier to go to an event that has many vendors all in one place than to try to research things online.
I think its a time-saver, she said. I dont have to research all of the venues online. You can get the information here rather than having (to find) it yourself. It saves time, and its always helpful to talk to a person (face to face).
Neal Carpenter, president of Macons Wedding Ring, said his organization comprises local wedding-related agencies who have been established for at least two years, are fully insured and have a solid reputation when it comes to reliability. Thus, Sundays bridal show was a more intimate affair with about 20 vendors, as opposed to the larger bridal shows that can often feature hundreds of vendors.
(Our members) are completely legitimate, he said. Thats what separates our vendors from others. ... This is a one-stop shop where you can come to get a lot of things -- florists, food, music. ... You know if you hire one of these vendors, you know theyre going to be really good. Its not a vendor that you pay $2,000 and then wonder if hes going to show up.
The bulk of Sundays audience were prospective brides, though a few grooms-to-be did show up as well.
Terence Murphy, 31, of Macon, showed up to support his fiancée, Mekayla Ivery, 33. Their wedding is set for Sept. 21.
This is her big day, he said. Its a big day for me, but this is my babys big day.
Ivery said they were there to get some price estimates and find out what venues might be available. While there, they checked out the photo booth belonging to DKH Entertainment. Ivery said she heard photo booths were starting to become a big thing at weddings but hadnt seen one before Sundays show. She and Murphy came away from it impressed.
I like the photo booth -- its something very interesting, Murphy said. Its not just a guest book, but something that gives (the wedding guests) some memories.
Kevin Nichols, who owns DKH Entertainment, said hes operated the booth as part of his entertainment package for about three years and its becoming a more popular draw.
Its another way to have fun, he said. Its something for people to do if they dont dance. It also makes for a nice guest book. Its a way for people to let loose and take some crazy pictures.
Nichols has been a longtime member of Macons Wedding Ring, and said even though some of the members have the same businesses, theres not a lot of competition that goes on. As a DJ, he noted that there were two other music-related booths at the exhibition, but that the owners often will recommend each other if they are booked for a specific weekend. Also, he noted, all of the DJs have their own specific style, which are unique enough that they offer prospective couples something different.
Calista Anne Koch, a harpist who helped found Macons Wedding Ring, said that by offering only a few highly recommended vendors, it makes it less confusing for couples rather than inundating them with hundreds of vendors in a huge setting.
I can say, without a doubt, (these vendors) are the most professional, she said. (At other shows), there are some fly-by-night vendors who can end up ruining peoples weddings.
Koch said many people who attend this bridal show often dont think about having a harpist perform at their wedding until they walk in and hear her playing.
There was a bride today who said, Oh man, a harp! Koch said. If you havent seen a harpist, how would you know (if you wanted one)?
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.