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Those Blushing Birmingham Brides

Return trip to Alabama was sweet and productive

By Rebecca Padgett


There are three things I know about Alabama. My mom was born there, the University of Alabama has a really good football team and Lynyrd Skynyrd liked the state enough to write an entire song about it. But I always strive to learn and am more than willing to travel. So, when I was asked to consider traveling to Birmingham, Alabama, for a wedding show promoting “Northwest Florida Weddings Magazine,” I jumped at the chance.

I should start by saying I attended the Birmingham Bridal Show by Elite Events in 2015 and loved the city and its blushing brides so much that I wanted to go back for a second round in 2016. This trip, I would be accompanied by my favorite travel partner on the Rowland Publishing team, Chelsea Moore.

In 2015, I discovered that Birmingham is not a sleepy southern town, but is alive with a tantalizing food scene, craft cocktail bars, loads of live music and enough shopping options to delight the most dedicated fashionista. A year later, I was fully aware of Birmingham’s possibilities.

We spent Saturday morning shopping at the trendy boutiques in Homewood and tasting pops from Steel City Pops. Blueberry basil provided just the right amount of refreshment on a sunny afternoon. By 4 p.m., we were headed to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, affectionately known as the BJCC, to set up for the wedding show, which would commence the next day.

We commandeered a cart and loaded 11 boxes of magazines onto it. We rolled out our Astroturf carpet and put up our banner displaying the happy couple that graced our magazine’s cover.

For dinner we had to try out Oven Bird – “Southern Living” raves about the place. The vibrant menu offering shareable plates and artisan drinks easily met our high expectations.

The next morning, Sunday, Aug. 21, after gulping coffee and consuming cellophane wrapped delights from Holler & Dash, we set out for a day of showing Birmingham brides-to-be why a Northwest Florida wedding or honeymoon is the way to go.

Chelsea and I, in our unplanned matching fuchsia duds, handed out our publication, answered questions and entered brides in a giveaway for a weekend getaway in Sandestin. We didn’t meet a single unsmiling face and were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of each bride, parent, sister, bridesmaid and even groom we encountered.

On our five-hour drive back to Tallahassee, we were tired, but content. We had reached brides who may have never heard of “Northwest Florida Weddings Magazine” and from that, gained excited reactions and positive feedback. As Chelsea drove, I totaled the number of newsletter and giveaway subscribers we had gained. That number exceeded 250 and Chelsea was so surprised that she almost had to pull over the car.  

Birmingham was brimming with Southern charm and beautiful brides to be; to each of them, we send our best. We can’t wait to attend again next year with an even bigger and better publication.