By C.J. LOVELACE
10:15 PM EST, January 13, 2013
JoAnna Torbolli got engaged in October and has been planning her wedding “off and on since then.”
On Sunday, Torbolli and her cousin, Autumn Harnish, both of Boonsboro, used the Live Wedding Expo at Hager Hall Conference and Event Center as a way to get some ideas for the special day, tentatively planned for June 2014.
“You can get cards. You can collect information. You can get ideas,” Torbolli said. “It’s all very helpful and it’s in a really nice facility.”
With about 15 local vendors on hand, the first-ever event at Hager Hall drew 150 to 175 brides-to-be, plus another 180 people who attended a wedding that took place at about 3 p.m., according to Cynthia Fowler, banquet manager for Hager Hall.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” she said. “Everything that you need.”
Brides, grooms and wedding planners from all around the area could find just about anything they need for an upcoming wedding, including a fashion show to highlight some of the latest trends in dresses and tuxedos.
“The fashion show is always helpful, getting ideas with dresses,” said Torbolli, who said she has attended other wedding expos since she started planning to wed her fiancé, Michael Creek. “Local vendors are a good thing, too. It’s a lot of people right in Hagerstown where we live, so it’s close. I’d say it was pretty successful.”
Attendees also could find information about local venues, photographers, caterers, rental vendors and jewelers, as well as hair and nail salon specialists, Fowler said.
Keith McCleaf, operations manager of Green Grove Gardens in Greencastle, Pa., said wedding expos are a great place for couples planning nuptials to meet with numerous vendors in one location without the formality of setting up individual meetings.
“It really does save the bride and groom a lot of time to go to events like this,” he said.
The wedding taking place during the event was unique, McCleaf said.
“From a bride and groom’s perspective, it’s great because you can actually sit here and critique everything ... so you’re actually going to see a wedding happen in this venue using certain things, different colors and some of the different vendors,” he said. “So you’re going to get the feeling how this type of layout works, or doesn’t, for your event.”
Littman Jewelers and Potomac Bridals also helped sponsor the event, which included a grand prize giveaway for one guest who received a $2,000 bridal jewelry package, a gown worth up to $1,000 and an hors d’oeuvres package for up to 100 guests with a bridal booking at Hager Hall.
Joyce Lee, owner of Potomac Bridals, touted the different types of services and vendors that can be presented all in one place at expos like the one held Sunday.
“We have had an opportunity to talk to a lot of the brides who are here and share our information with them,” Lee said. “I think it’s been a nice turnout. We’ve had a really nice opportunity to talk to people one-on-one and not be overwhelmed, and that’s a great way to promote your business, I think.”
Fowler said the expo is going to become an annual event at the center.
“It’s been quite an eventful day,” she said. “And the brides seemed to have been very happy and very pleased with all the information that they were getting.”
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