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Bridal Expo keeping things local for 27 years
Models wait backstage for their turn on the runway Sunday afternoon at the Gainesville Civic Center during the fashion show portion of the 24th annual Bridal Expo.

Gainesville Parks and Recreation is at it again for its 27th year as it brings the annual Bridal Expo to the Gainesville Civic Center, offering brides and grooms a one-stop shop to prepare for their big day.

For engaged, soon-to-be engaged or even just dreaming couples, the Bridal Expo will have caterers, photographers, bakers, DJs, venue representatives, florists and more at the event 12:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27. Tickets are $7 at the door.


  • Belk
  • Greg Hall Weddings & Events
  • Carrie Jean Photography
  • Gainesville Civic Center
  • Hana Couture
  • 2 Dog Cafe
  • Enotah Valley
  • Cindy’s Tasty Cakes
  • Regina Patterson Photography
  • Mary Kay Cosmetics
  • Vacations by Sally
  • Bella Musica Strings
  • Longstreet Café
  • Cabaki’s Catering
  • Party Shop Emporium
  • DJ Alexander Entertainment
  • Tiffany Holmes Photography
  • Flash Mobile DJ Service
  • R Ranch
  • Barry’s Menswear & Tuxedo
  • Haley Henderson Photography
  • M & M Downhome Catering
  • La Petite Fleur
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • Encore Elite Events
  • Lanier Tent Rental
  • Holiday Inn Express/Suites
  • Smile Doctors Braces
  • American Salon and Spa Aveda
  • Zell’s Cottage Bakery
  • Aqua Rays LLC
  • Great Getaways Travel
  • April Rooks Entertainment
  • RU4 Homes
  • Tiger Lily Invitations
  • Lisa Michele Photography

“It has continued to grow each year,” said Brenda Martin, organizer of the event with parks and recreation. “We have a lot of vendors that are here year after year, and then each year I always get new vendors, different people, who hear about the show and want to be in it.”

Martin said there won’t be a fashion show this year, but there will be a “pop-up-type show” in a separate room that will have vendors who offer wedding dresses, tuxedos, mother-of-the-bride dresses and flower girl dresses. Brides and grooms will be able to look around and set up appointments to see more options if they find something they like.

“It was hard to get a bridal shop to participate and be responsible for the (fashion) show this year,” Martin said. “We tried several of them, but getting a model, bringing all the dresses down and getting them done, it takes a good bit of work.”

Charity Hartley, front, along with, from left, Brittney Sims, Nicole Evans and Brianna Ronceros, prepare for the fashion show Sunday at the bridal expo at the Gainesville Civic Center. The girls were modeling dresses supplied by Unforgettable Bridal and Formal Wear in Cleveland. - photo by Tom Reed
Martin said more than 100 brides — each with at least a couple supporters in tow — came to the Bridal Expo last year, so she’s hoping for the same sort of turnout this year.

The original purpose of the Bridal Expo when it started 27 years ago was to support local vendors. Martin said she wanted to show brides they “didn’t have to travel to Atlanta to get their needs met.”

“A lot of people have come and like it because they get to talk to the vendor one-on-one,” Martin said.

She has been able to keep it that way, for the most part, over the years. All the photographers are local and most of the other vendors are in the Northeast Georgia area. For her, the Bridal Expo is about helping those local vendors get their names out while making the entire process easier for couples.

And at the end of the day, after 27 years of organizing the event, she said that’s still her favorite part.

“I just enjoy meeting the brides,” Martin said. “When a bride comes out and she says, ‘I got this done,’ and, ‘I really like this,’ just people making that connection they needed to make is great.”

Gainesville Civic Center Bridal Expo

When: 12:30 to 4 p.m. Jan. 27

Where: Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St. NE, Gainesville

How much: $7 at the door

More info: Online

Contact: 770-531-2680

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