By Jessica Isaacs | [email protected]
Photos by Ken Ketchie.
This fun, affordable event will bring the local industry’s best of the best together for an afternoon packed with ideas, inspiration and all things weddings in the High Country.
The expo is brought to you by the High South Event Professionals — a community of like-minded experts who work together to promote the High Country as the southeast’s premier wedding and special events destination.
Stroll through the entire mall and explore displays representing more than 70 local vendors spanning all aspects of the industry — florists, bakers and pastry chefs, caterers, consultants, bridal boutiques, sound technicians, musicians, transportation services, rental companies, photographers and so much more.
Sample cakes and desserts from some of the best bakeries in the region, listen to live music, get to know local business owners and make new friends in the community. Keep your eye on the stage located in the center of the mall, which will feature the latest in bridal fashion from area boutiques throughout the day.
Local wedding consultant Elizabeth Hempfling, who serves as president of the HSEP network, said meeting multiple vendors at the expo could alleviate planning-related stress by helping brides narrow down their choices in a single day.
“In one afternoon, a bride can come in and walk away with a wealth of resources rather than having to set appointments to go around and meet with different vendors. It provides convenience — a lot of people have busy schedules,” she said. “Hosting it on a Sunday gives that advantage for people to come to one location where we have different vendors and categories set up to communicate with brides, and it will still feel one-on-one.”
That convenience will serve participating professionals well, too, giving them a chance to showcase their work and their talents before a greater audience than they could normally reach in one day’s time.
“They will see their work displayed, whether it’s a sample cake, a floral arrangement, rentals or something else, and it is does give them one-on-one time with brides,” said Hempfling. “It’s almost like each vendor will have their own little storefront for the afternoon to promote what they offer brides. That visual helps give a better idea of what that vendor does, which in turn becomes an advantage to the vendor, as well as the bride.”
Participating vendors will also enjoy the opportunity to meet other local businesses owners face-to-face and network with folks they may get to work with in the future.
“It’s beneficial for the bride to walk in and see how well-connected our community is to provide the resources for successful weddings, events or any kind of functions going on in the area,” Hempfling said. “It’s also a huge benefit for the vendors to be there and to feel connected with other vendors they might not get to see a lot. It allows us to all come together for that one afternoon and help take care of the brides, but also for us to connect a little more, too.”
Each year, the association uses the wedding expo as an avenue to support important local charities and organizations. This year, the HSEP team opted to benefit a program that hits close to home.
Proceeds from the expo will benefit a Hayes School of Music scholarship fund at Appalachian State established in memory of Jordan Howell Hallmark, a 28-year-old musician who lost his life in a tragic car accident back in October.
The HSEP board hopes to honor Hallmark and his mother, local baker and wedding pro JoAnn Hallmark, through this contribution.
“As a board, we decided that JoAnn Hallmark and her family are such a strong part of our community, not only for the wedding industry but locally among all of our colleagues and friends and family,” Hempfling said. “This year, we wanted the organization to truly give back to something that had a great purpose. Music, to me, is such a lively thing and is part of so many components throughout our lives, including weddings.
“Jordan Hallmark had this strong drive and passion to learn music, and it was his everything. It was what he lived and breathed, so bringing it to the expo is a nice way to connect our community in his honor and to give back to the scholarship that was made in his name for anyone who has the same dream.”
Also at the expo, you’ll find students from the university performing and sharing Jordan’s love for music.
Through the expo and all of the work it does, the HSEP association aims to continuously remember and embody Jordan’s words:
“Don’t you ever let go of that love … it’s all that you are made up of.”
Brides and Guests:
Entry to the expo will cost just $8 per person, and brides who register at the entrance near Old Navy will receive a free printed gift bag and a copy of our new High South Weddings magazine.
Interested in renting a booth at the expo to show off your work and build relationships with potential new clients? Contact the HSEP at 828-919-6750 and reserve your space.
Tables and spaces are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.
Stay tuned for more info on participating local wedding pros! Here at High Country Press, we’ll be offering up weekly special editions of our popular “Business Spotlight” series that will focus on preferred High South wedding vendors.
Check out our Business Spotlight features on these local pros:
High South Events
HSEP vendors receive a special rate for booth reservations, although all vendors are invited and encouraged to participate whether they’re members or not.
If you’re a local vendor and you’re interested in joining the HSEP association, check out highsouthevents.com or give them a call at 828-919-6750.