Wedding Planning Bliss
The Tallahassee Wedding Tour guides brides
By Rebecca Padgett
Contrary to popular belief, wedding planning doesn’t have to be stressful. The Tallahassee Wedding Tour set out to make it easy, informative and even, dare we say, fun. Guests knew they were in for an experience that wasn’t typical when a plush party bus pulled up as their ride.
The Tallahassee Wedding Tour provided an alternative to sprawling bridal expos by creating a more intimate and inclusive experience. Because attendance was capped, each bride enjoyed one-on-one moments with vendors.
Verlonda Johnson, owner of the Blissfully Yours event company, supplied the idea for the Tallahassee Wedding Tour, based on her own experiences as a bride-to-be who felt overwhelmed when planning her own wedding.
“I wanted Tallahassee to have something more intimate allowing brides to meet vendors in one place in one day,” said Johnson. “We kept it small with vendors from each area of wedding planning and we featured venues that had different themes –rustic, ballroom, garden and non-traditional.”
At each of four locations, brides met with vendors including DJs, lighting specialists, event planners, bakers, photographers, florists and even dentists in order to plan their Tallahassee wedding. The tour began at Ponderosa Junction and made stops at Loblolly Rise Barn, Four Points by Sheraton, DoubleTree by Hilton and the Park Avenue Inn.
Northwest Florida Weddings magazine was present at the DoubleTree. The hot-off-the-press 2017 issue of the magazine profiles a multitude of Tallahassee service providers, many of whom were in attendance at the tour.
“The experience of this event was great because it allowed me to meet different vendors that I hadn’t had the chance to meet,” said Jeri Madden, catering and event sales manager at the DoubleTree by Hilton. “I got to interact with the brides and grooms on a different level because I was able to show them around my venue rather than just stand at a booth.”
As couples entered the hotel, they were greeted with a chilled glass of champagne and the DoubleTree’s signature cookies. Vendors set up booths along the pool deck where dance music emanated from the DJ’s speakers and hors d’oeuvres including assorted cheeses, seared scallops and rum-soaked waffles were served.
“We have been treated great and taking the bus was such a helpful way to tour a variety of venues,” said Nicole Santiago, a bride in attendance. “It has been helpful that each venue on the tour focuses on different themes. It helps to see these ideas in person and to be able to talk with other brides and vendors.”
Johnson said that by the time the event was concluded, at least three couples had secured venues for their weddings.
“Brides are enjoying themselves and are booking on site, which is exactly what we had hoped for,” said Elizabeth McPhee, event planner and business partner with Blissfully Yours. “They are asking questions in order to understand what each vendor has to offer and, in turn, we are learning more about Tallahassee brides and their needs.”
The annual tour was a success according to both brides and vendors. Blissfully full of tasty treats and ideas, the Tallahassee Wedding Tour left brides with visions of their perfect wedding dancing in their heads.