Organizer Brandi Braithwaite said they moved up the date of the show from March because couples are planning their big days further ahead of time every year.
“So that's why we moved it, and this year certainly seems much bigger,” Braithwaite said, adding that about 700 people — about half of them brides — made their way through the daylong event. “We're seeing a lot more brides this year who are getting married in 2015, where it used to be for this year. So moving it to January from March seems to be getting a big response.”
One of the reasons is how much more planning goes into wedding days, compared to even a few years ago. As a result, there are more businesses geared to the industry. In fact, vendor spots sold out fairly quickly for Saturday's show.
Braithwaite said their event gives brides a one-stop shopping opportunity to see what they want to include in their wedding.
“We have such good (bridal) vendors now in Sudbury, it's nice to have everybody in one room, so you can get all the information at once,” she said. “We have caterers, venues, photographers, dress suppliers, beauty consultants, wedding planners, travel agents — you name it. Pretty much everything from A-Z for planning a wedding.”
The show compliments Sudbury Living's annual bridal magazine, which has proved popular enough that they're adding a second publication. Sudbury Living Magazine is owned by Laurentian Publishing, Northern Life's parent company.
“The wedding industry is growing — it seems every year the stats are going up,” Braithwaite said. “We're growing and the industry is growing with us.
“(The new magazine) is going to be called Sudbury Living Weddings and Beyond. It's about doing weddings more outside of the city in destinations that are nearby – like French River, Killarney, that sort of thing.”
To keep their patrons around for most of the day, Saturday's show featured draws — including $1,000 in cash, as well as a $4,000 wedding photography package. There was also two fashion shows — one for grooms, the other for brides. And the bridal fashion show featured a hot wedding gown designer.
“Blissful Bridal just brought in Paloma Blanca,” Braithwaite said. “And she's huge in Toronto. So this was the launch in Northern Ontario.”
And there was something for the grooms, too, who seemed to make up a larger than normal part of the crowd.
“This year is the first time that we've seen a good chunk of men coming through,” she said. “We have a lot of food — and guys like food,” she laughed. “It seems to work.
“An our show is a little different — it's a little more upbeat, a little more trendy. We've got a lot going on that keeps you here.”
It all culminated with a big balloon drop at the end of the day, where 300 balloons were dropped, 200 of which had prizes from the vendors. Patrons crowded the stage for a chance to grab and pop a balloon to win a prize.
They'll be back next year on Jan. 17, at the same location. The next event for Sudbury Living is their family fun day April 13 at the Caruso Club.
“We do a lot of workshops for kids, Home Depot comes and does little a workshop, Science North comes in and does a bug show, neat stuff like that.”