Pair prepare for wedding fair
The scale of support for a Central Otago wedding event has shocked even the organisers ahead of a fair in Alexandra this weekend.
Alexandra businesswomen Alyssa Drake and Sophie Chalmers are finalising the finishing touches to the Central Otago Wedding Fair at the Cellar Door on Saturday.
Drake said she was inspired to host the fair after holding a smaller scale wedding fair about two years ago to raise funds for her sister who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
‘‘From there I realised how much I loved doing that kind of thing. That gave me inspiration, as well as seeing the need in the community. Over the past four to five years weddings have been getting more and more exposure across the country and overseas, and Central Otago in particular has been gaining more attention.’’
Drake approached her friend, Sophie Chalmers, of Harmony Skin and Beauty, about the idea. She jumped on board immediately.
‘‘I was like, hell yeah, count me in,’’ Chalmers said.
The pair started meeting regularly and the concept grew rapidly, Chalmers said.
’’We thought we would be putting on a low-key wee fair has ended up with 50 vendors, over 150 tickets sold and a VIP lounge where there will be wine, juice, canapes, goodie bags filled with vouchers and spot prizes.’’
VIP ticket-holders also went into a draw to win a $15,000 wedding.
‘‘One couple is going to have their whole wedding sorted here in Central Otago. Local businesses have shown huge support. We just put ourselves out there and everyone kept supporting us. We were blown away. As business owners we saw the industry growing and saw there needed to be an avenue for brides and grooms to plan their wedding easily.’’
Drake said the support validated their assertion it was the right time for a wedding fair.
‘‘We want to give Central Otago what it deserves and showcase what we can offer. People will turn up on the day and the Cellar Door is going to look like a wedding is taking place. It is so cool to know what was just an idea has taken shape and evolved and I am so excited to see all our planning come to life.’’
Doors open at 11am on September 16, the winning couple will be announced at 3pm. There will also be a fashion show, guest speakers and bands.