by Madison V. Fisler
April 16, 2014. The dress, the cake, the venue and everything else are all just puzzle pieces that together make up the complete picture of a perfect wedding day. But wading through all the choices, making decisions and finding the right vendors and services for the big day is a daunting and intimidating task for many High Country brides.
Elizabeth Hempfling, a Boone native and longtime professional event planner found the answer when she launched the Wedding Resource Center two years ago. Now centrally located on King Street in downtown Boone, the resource center pledges to help brides find exactly what they are looking for in a sea of options.
“When I first started my wedding planning business, I saw there was a need for something like this every single time I was having to drag clients around to venues and meetings,” said Elizabeth Hempfling, professional events planner, president of the Association of Consultants and Event Services (ACES) and the brains behind the operation.
“I saw a need for a one-stop wedding shop, so I launched the Wedding Resource Center. We have been on King Street for seven months and it has been great.”
The Wedding Resource Center started out in Blowing Rock in May 2012. With the assistance of her many acquired contacts in the wedding business, she set up a resource for brides, grooms and their families to find everything they need to get their wedding planning started, all under one roof.
Since it started, the Wedding Resource Center has already doubled in space and tripled the amount of vendors.
“In my mind, I look at it as the Chamber of Commerce of the wedding world,” Hempfling said with a smile.
“We have displays for different vendors in our area, we really put all the names out there from the venue, to the dress, to the caterers and even down to picking the perfect invitations. We have different vendors with different styles and price points so when a bride comes in she never feels limited.”
Leigh Ann Pozell, of Snow in July Designs is just one of the many vendors that utilizes the Wedding Resource Center.
“This is a lot better than having to run to all the different venues and catering spaces with a bride,” Pozell said.
“This just simplifies the whole process. You can come here and leave with your florist, caterers, your venue and everything. It is a shared space where all of these vendors can meet with brides in a relaxed atmosphere. It is a great relaxed experience for everyone.”
Hempfling mentioned that 70-80 percent of High Country brides aren’t local, and are planning a destination wedding in the High Country.
“This makes it so much easier,” Hempfling said. “Many brides don’t know much about the area, and so after dragging them around to venues and caterers at the end of the day I would look at the client and they would just be exhausted. Weddings are supposed to be happy and fun, and this makes it that way.”
From simple outdoor venues to the gorgeous Smithmore Castle in Spruce Pine, which Hempfling manages, the perfect venues are within reach from the comfort of King Street.
The vendors and services represented by the Wedding Resource Center are all independent companies that are looking to help couples achieve the wedding of their dreams.
“I am not the only wedding planner here,” Hempfling said. “There are two others here, and we work together and refer clients to each other. It really all depends on what the client is looking for, their style and their budget.”
“Most places event planners would be competing,” Pozell said. “This is the first place I have seen where they are all working together. We are all really trying to find the best fit for each individual bride. The atmosphere here is communal. It is all about working together and I think that is very rare.”
Open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the Wedding Resource Center prefers that potential clients call in advance to make an appointment to consult about their various needs. However, walk ins are welcome.
“I may have a bride walk in off the street with a couple of questions, so I may hand her some cards based off a five minute conversation with her,” said Hempfling. “Those vendors in turn may be exactly what she is looking for, and even though she may not hire me as her wedding planner, we are all just trying to plug each client into the right vendors.”
The Wedding Resource Center really has it all. From wedding planning services, invitations, caterers, florists, musicians, venues, cakes, photographers, rentals and everything in between and down to the finest details like favors and gifts, the Wedding Resource Center can point you in the right direction.
And the center doesn’t just focus completely on weddings.
“It’t not only weddings, we do other events as well,” Hempfling said. “We do birthday parties, anniversary parties, wine tastings, anything. There is no event too big or small for us to handle.”
Vendors are all interviewed to make sure that they are appropriate, and the center is always open to new vendors.
“There are certain categories that we try to cap off, but we are always taking new vendors. Anyone is welcome to come by and talk to us. We make sure we have a variety to match any bride’s needs, style and budget.”
And anyone is welcome to come and inquire about vendors.
“Anyone can come in and ask questions, we are happy to help,” said Hempfling. “It may just take five minutes to get someone connected and pointed in the right direction. Some brides think they can do it on their own and then they get halfway through and come in for help. We are always willing to lend a hand.”
And as hectic as it all is, the vendors have at least one thing in common.
“Our favorite part is making people happy,” Hempfling said. “At the end of the day,when the bride turns to her father and says ‘this is the best day of my life’ or the last guest walks out of the reception and says it is the best wedding they have ever been to, that’s what we all aim for. That’s the best feeling.”
And for hesitant brides, Hempfling had this to say:
“Just come see us. There is always coffee and our goal is to create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. The whole purpose is so people can come in and ask questions to take that stress of the bride and make them feel excited rather than anxious. If we can help them enjoy their special day, then it’s all worth it.”
The Wedding Resource Center is located at 703 West King Street in Boone.
For more information about the Wedding Resource Center, visit the website here.