By Howaida Sorour-Roberts
It’s supposed to be a very special day, and for Emily Bowick of Smiths Falls it’s turning out to be a dream. As the winner of the $11,000 grand prize at Always and Forever Wedding Show in Smiths Falls, Bowick is thrilled with the variety and generosity of the package.
“I didn’t believe it. I never win anything. It was amazing. I’m so grateful,” says Bowick.
An easy-going, vivacious young lady, Bowick even changed her wedding date so she could take full advantage of the prize.
“There was a stipulation that the winner had to get married between Nov 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017 as it’s a less busy time for most of the vendors,” says Jackie Stanzel, show organizer and co-founder.
For some couples this could have been a stumbling block, but not for Bowick.
“We had planned to get married in Oct 2017 and I was just about to send in my contract for the Crystal Palace, but then I won,” said Bowick. “Now we’re getting married on April 29, 2017 at the Gallipeau Centre.”
And instead of getting married in Perth, Bowick and her fiancé Travis Seed, have now learned that everything they could possibly wish for is available right here in Smiths Falls.
“We moved the wedding to the Gallipeau because it was one of the prizes, but I didn’t know before that people could have weddings there,” says Bowick, who will be turning the ballroom at the Gallipeau into an enchanted forest with a pastel pink and gold theme.
The grand prize package consisted of 20 gift certificates ranging in value form $100 to $3,500 and covered everything from a wedding dress, to venue to music, photography, wine, catering, invitations, officiate services, jewelry and wedding favours, to name a few.
Many of the grand prize donations were from local businesses such as Magnolia Catering, Rideau Winery, JS Creations, the Gallipeau Centre, and Swissmiss Bridal.
“I’ve already got my dress picked out at Swissmiss Bridal. [The owner] is so great. She is helpful and so sweet, and had donated $500 towards the dress,” said Bowick, adding that because of the gift it allowed her to have more choices and still stay on budget.
From a vendor point of view, the grand prize gift simply makes good business sense.
“A lot of the brides who came to the show had never been in my shop, so it gets my name out there,” says Rebecca Nolan, owner of Swissmiss Bridal. “It also draws people to the wedding show, and we want to draw people from Ottawa and Kingston, so yes I would do that again next year.”
Stanzel says that she was amazed at how easily vendors jumped on the idea of giving away a bridal package.
“When I approached people they were very happy to donate, they all thought it was an excellent idea,” she says.
Only in its second year, the show included 34 wedding vendors and saw more than 200 attendees, and over 80 brides. “We had people coming from all over the place, Rockland, Orleans, Gatineau and our own region,” says Stanzel.
Next year’s wedding show is already in the planning. Stanzel who also owns JS Creations, which specializes in wedding cakes and wedding dessert bars, explains it takes about a year to plan.
“I’m already thinking of ways to make next year’s show better, so I’ve started planning it and I’m going to contact more vendors this year to see if they’ll donate to next year’s grand prize,” she says.
So brides of the region, keep your eyes peeled for next year’s show in the fall of 2017. You could be the next grand prize winner.
Photo by Howaida Sorour-Roberts
The winner of the grand prize at Always and Forever Wedding Show held in Smiths Falls, Emily Bowick accepts $11,000 worth of gift certificates for all things wedding from show co-founder and organizer Jackie Stanzel.