A cure for the common bridal expo

Dress by Brooke Priddy of Ship to Shore Photos by Jennifer Callahan

A marriage of the minds between Jennifer Callahan of Asheville Indie Weddings and The Big Crafty co-conspirators Brandy Bourne and Justin Rabuck, The Big Day offers inspiration for couples to incorporate what they love about each other, and what they love about Asheville, into their wedding festivities.

“The creative, highly personalized, no-rules, kick-up-your-heels wedding is a popular idea,” says Bourne, “but especially in Asheville, where no-rules and kick-up-your-heels is in our blood.” 

The first event of its kind, The Big Day features more than 50 vendors, plus DIY demos, live music, local breweries, giveaways for ticket-holders and a swag bag for the first 100 couples.

“I wanted couples who attend the fair to be able to visualize their entire wedding from what they find at The Big Day,” says Callahan. 

A wide range of industry insiders — from bakers to photographers — bring brides and grooms the originality and personality you find from Asheville area artisans. Get a sustainably harvested wood cake topper from Figs & Ginger, discover unique venues, or “say yes” to a custom dress by fashion designer R. Brooke Priddy. “I've heard so many people speak to the experience of having a dress made by Brooke Priddy of Ship to Shore Clothiers,” Callahan says. “The creation of the garment is really a conversational process between the seamstress and the bride. This is so different from buying a dress at a big box shop.”

While the show mostly spotlights local, small businesses, a handful of out-of-towners will be there to peddle their wedding wares. South Carolina jewelry designer Danielle Miller offers workshops where couples can make their own wedding rings under her direction, and will raffle off a free wedding band workshop at the show. Callahan looks forward to seeing the wedding attire by Leigh Anne Hilbert of The DryGoods Shop, while Bourne calls The Cordial Churchman’s bow ties “the perfect accompaniment to your Asheville man’s beard.” Other vendors sparking excitement with the event’s organizers include Quill and Arrow Press, Black Mountain Cakes, East West Vintage Rentals and The Garage 34 Project.

This expo’s X-factor? Collaboration. Vendors not only see this event as an opportunity for exposure, but also a chance to work together. No stranger to community collaborations, Priddy has organized a bridal procession showcasing her own gowns as well as elements from other vendors from jewelry to cake. Bourne adds, “We love seeing this all come together and are so grateful to her for bringing this fun element to the event and for reaching out to her fellow vendors.”

With buzz building online and in supporting storefronts, they anticipate a few hundred attendees. They decided to sell tickets in order to provide both visitors and vendors with a more personal atmosphere in which to connect. Bourne explains, “We love the hustle and bustle of The Big Crafty, but we want this event to be a different experience.”

— Lindsey Grossman can be reached at lindsey.grossman@gmail.com.

what: The Big Day
what: Indie wedding fair, featuring local and regional vendors
where: Asheville Art Museum,
when: Saturday, March 30 (1 to 6 p.m. $10 advance / $15 at the door. bigdayfest.com)

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