published Monday, February 18th, 2013

Bridal Affair draws 2,000 people in Chattanooga (with video)

Bailey Cross, left, and JoAnn Patton speak with LeAnne Carbone about the possibility of using a paper flower bouquet from the Paper Pimpernel at the Bridal Affair show at the Chattanooga Convention Center on Sunday. Bridal Affair is presented by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Bailey Cross, left, and JoAnn Patton speak with LeAnne Carbone about the possibility of using a paper flower bouquet from the Paper Pimpernel at the Bridal Affair show at the Chattanooga Convention Center on Sunday. Bridal Affair is presented by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Photo by Patrick Smith.
Thousands attend Bridal Affair
Thousands of people attended the fifth annual Bridal Affair event at the Chattanooga Convention Center on Sunday. The event, presented by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, featured more than 140 vendors.
  • photo
    Joe Jumper speaks with attendees during the Bridal Affair at the Chattanooga Convention Center on Sunday. Bridal Affair is presented by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
    Photo by Patrick Smith.
    enlarge photo

Elaina Campbell wasn't expecting a proposal when she and her fiance decided to take an afternoon walk through the mountains this past December.

Campbell wanted to visit a little overlook behind her house that has a view of the whole valley below.

"I had wanted to take a walk up there anyway," she said. "He already had the ring and when we got up there, he got down on one knee and said 'I've been so happy with you since we've been together. Will you make me happy like that for the rest of my life?'"

Campbell, accompanied by an entourage of aunts, bridesmaids, her mother and her sister, were visiting this year's Bridal Affair to help plan the details for her wedding in May 2014.

"It's exciting. But it's overwhelming, too, because I want to talk to everyone," said Campbell.

Campbell lives in Nashville, but because much of her family lives here, she'll be hosting the wedding in Chattanooga. The annual Bridal Affair was a great way for her to see what the city had to offer, she said.

Campbell's mother, Ales, who lives in Walker County, Ga., was impressed with the variety of vendors represented at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

"This event for Chattanooga has been spectacular. This is a wonderful venue," she said. "Nashville doesn't have a thing on us."

This year's Bridal Affair, presented by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, showcased almost 150 vendors and saw close to 2,000 attendees.

Brides marched through rows of wedding dresses, tiers of colorful cupcakes, lavish flower arrangements and the enticing aromas of samples from the many caterers present.

Kendra Bailey Collins, owner of Ever After Bridal in Cleveland, Tenn., was busy speaking with brides about what to wear on their big day. Flanked by mannequins in floor-length wedding dresses, Collins said she'd had a number of brides sign up for visits to her boutique.

"Our appointment book is filling up," she said.

Ever After Bridal offers wedding attire for everyone from the flower girl to the mother of the bride.

"I one-stop shop," Collins said.

Lindsey Pickett said she'd worked with Collins before as a bridesmaid. "I love her," she said.

Pickett said Ever After was dressing everyone in her June wedding. "I recommend her to everyone that I talk to," she said.

Many vendors were excited about the opportunity to help make each of the brides' weddings special.

"The wedding day is a huge day for flowers. I love to be a part of that bride's day. We make her day beautiful," said Dale Victoria Wilson, owner of Blue Ivy Flowers in Chattanooga.

about Lindsay Burkholder...

Lindsay Burkholder is originally from Winston-Salem, N.C. She graduated from Covenant College in May 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. While at Covenant she spent time writing for and editing the news section of the school newspaper, The Bagpipe. Burkholder also attended the World Journalism Institute in New York City in 2011.

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