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Saying I do in the country

Sandy and Mount Hood-area wedding vendors offer local services at bridal show


Next to basking in the sparkle of a new engagement ring, the first thing on a bride-to-be’s list is to dive into planning her big day.

And there’s no place better to seek inspiration than a bridal show.

Especially when the bridal experts are your neighbors.

“Sandy is booming with great new vendors, venues and other additions to the wedding industry,” said Donna Cole, owner of the Sandy-based Pearl and Roses Wedding Planning. “A lot of them don’t get a lot of exposure, so we wanted to do a shindig to keep it local and support them.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: ANNE ENDICOTT - Cindy Boggs, from left, Becky Nerpel and Donna Cole will link brides with local wedding vendors at A Country Bridal Affair, Saturday, Jan. 5 in Boring.

Cole, along with fellow wedding vendors Becky Nerpel and Cindy Boggs, will host A Country Bridal Affair on Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Boring-Damascus Grange. The single-day event is free to the public and meant to introduce brides to the services available in their own back yards. It’s the second year the trio has produced the event, and barring inclement weather, Cole said, they are hoping for a repeat of last year’s success.

A Country Bridal Affair was born in late 2010 after friends Cole and Nerpel realized Sandy and points east were teeming with cottage industries devoted to wedding services. Cole had been working with local brides for two years, offering full-service or day-of-event planning, while Nerpel’s six-year reputation as a highly regarded wedding photographer and owner of Studio 623 had grown. Boggs, owner of C.R. Boggs Designs, joined the pair as plans for a local bridal show got under way.

Initially, Cole and Nerpel joined forces with Charity Chalmers, owner of Chariteas Tea Fare and Gifts, with the original intent of hosting a bridal show at Chalmers’ shop in Sandy.

“We contacted vendors and added them based on proximity to the Mount Hood area and their reputation for excellence,” Cole said. “But as the show grew larger, our need for space increased, and the show location was finalized at the Boring Grange. We were hoping for about 20 people last year, so it was a wonderful surprise when somewhere between 100-150 people came.”

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: BECKY NERPEL, STUDIO 623 PHOTOGRAPHY - Clackamas-based Barclay Events Rentals set an inspiration table at last years show and will return this year as sponsor.

A Country Bridal Affair offers the same variety of products and services as the big Portland wedding shows, but it links brides to local experts whose costs are often cheaper. Twenty-five vendors “largely from the country” will bring contacts for everything from catering and music to flowers and event rentals. The show is aimed at modern/country brides who favor a vintage look in a more laid-back and rustic environment.

“These are brides who are getting married in their back yards,” Cole said. “They are also often working on smaller budgets than what the Portland vendors are used to seeing. A lot of brides don’t want to drive into Portland, so the show is a great way to meet creative and enthusiastic local vendors.”

Every bride-to-be envisions her gown to be unique and a personal reflection of her style. But finding a custom gown in the larger salons is near to impossible, and not all brides have the skills or ability to make their own.

A Country Bridal Affair’s fashion show will showcase the work of Welches resident Boggs, who began custom designing vintage gowns for friends and family 20 years ago. She branched out to the Internet’s premier online site for home crafters, Etsy, eight years ago and connected with Cole and Nerpel in 2010. Her couture veils, gowns and accessories have been worn by brides locally and internationally. by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: BECKY NERPEL, STUDIO 623 PHOTOGRAPHY - A Country Bridal Affair's fashion show will feature vintage and country-style wedding gowns, including those custom designed by Welches resident Cindy Boggs.

“There’s a lot of competition out there in the gown industry,” Boggs said. “But my dresses aren’t mass-produced in China. They are one-of-a-kind. I can adapt a gown to what the bride wants, and she won’t see her dress on 50 other brides.”

One unique feature of A Country Bridal Affair is the opportunity to pre-register as a VIP Bride. Early entry, along with a Swag Bag of gifts, allows brides-to-be to meet with vendors individually before doors open to the general public.

“It’s like a one-on-one personal consultation,” Nerpel said. “These are the same people you will be working with planning your wedding, so it’s a great way to get acquainted.”

The show runs from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5. In addition to the fashion show, there will be door prize drawings with items donated by vendors.

Fast Facts:

Who: A Country Bridal Affair

When: Saturday, Jan. 5.

Where: Boring-Damascus Grange Hall

27861 S.E. Grange St.

Boring

What: 25 wedding vendors, offering services in catering, flowers, music and events rentals; fashion show; door prize drawings. Pre-register as a VIP Bride for early entry and a Swag Bag of gifts.

Hours: noon to 4 p.m.

To register, visit acountrybridalaffair.com.