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Library to host free wedding expo

By Joel Hall

Local brides-and grooms-to-be will have the opportunity to get all of their questions answered this Saturday at the Clayton County Headquarters Library Wedding Expo.

During this free event, more than 40 bridal designers, florists, caterers, wedding photographers, and entertainers will be on hand to offer samples, discuss pricing options, and help people plan for their big day.

The wedding expo will take place at the Clayton County Headquarters Library, located at 865 Battle Creed Road in Jonesboro, from noon to 4 p.m.

Sherry Turner, managing librarian, said the library has hosted expositions in the past for authors and entertainers, but never for wedding-related businesses. She said the event, which is also free to the vendors, is expected to draw hundreds of visitors to the library this weekend.

"Usually, the very first place people begin planning a wedding is the library," Turner said. "People come in to look at etiquette books ... They are looking at the cookbooks and the [wedding] favors, even coming in and looking at past issues of wedding magazines. When people start planning their wedding, they often don't know what they like. The more informed they are, the better price they are going to get, because they will know what they are talking about.

"Normally, to go to a wedding expo, you'd have to go to Atlanta, but we thought the interest was here," she said. "We have caterers giving out the food they serve, we have people doing make-up. Usually, when you are planning a wedding, you have to make appointments with each of these vendors. With this event, you really could plan your whole wedding in one day. One of the vendors said that the last table that they had at a wedding expo was $800 to $1,000, so the vendors are appreciative as well."

According to Turner, local vendors, who will be featured, include: Cakes and Catering by Originals; 4YourOccasions Photography; Silk Expressions (specializing in flower arrangements); Flair for Affairs event planning; Jonesboro Rental Center; Anorwood Productions (specializing in oil wedding portraits); and Phanazz Concepts, specializing in graphic design.

Turner said the event will also include several informational seminars. From 12:30 to 1 p.m., there will be a seminar offering tips for picking a wedding photographer. From 1:30 to 2 p.m., there will be a seminar on selecting the right music and entertainment, and from 2:30 to 3 p.m., there will be a seminar offering advice on selecting floral arrangements.

Diane Lovell, owner of Cakes and Catering by Originals in Jonesboro, said she attends about 10 wedding expositions a year, in order to introduce her food to couples getting ready to tie the knot. She said expositions bring a personal touch to wedding planning and help ensure that "everybody is happy on the day of the wedding."

"We like the brides to tell us what they want us to do, not just push onto them what we want," Lovell said. "When you go to a wedding expo, everything is there for the bride and they benefit by getting a million ideas. The bride gets to see, touch, smell, and taste, and one of the most important things also is, that they get to know their vendor. From a vendor perspective, anytime we can participate in a free show, it's a 'wow,' [because] there aren't that many free shows out there."

Turner said a few spaces for vendors are still available for Saturday's event. Those interested in reserving a space can call Sherry Turner at (770) 473-3850.