Jessica Stölen-Jacobson, CherryRoad Media
Watson’s Wedding and Event Center is full of activity as the venue prepares for its first-ever Wedding Fair to be held Saturday, March 19th. Owner Melea Ellingson and manager Greta Lankow began brainstorming the idea due to the high cost of participating in bridal and wedding shows in larger towns around the state. The pair decided that the best idea for showcasing local small businesses, as well as their own venue would be to host a Wedding Fair at the Watson’s Wedding and Event Center, and so they reached out to vendors who have worked weddings hosted at the site, as well as to area small businesses who offer wedding services. “It just kind of snowballed. We sat here one afternoon and brainstormed, and called vendors and anybody we knew – any brides that had vendors from out of the area. We collected numbers and we were calling and emailing. We really were so excited,” says Lankow.
The responses they received were from vendors excited over the idea of a local Wedding Fair. Thus far, they’ve collected a variety of vendors for the event, from two DJs to photographers, to a bakery and florists. “We’ve got some vendors that are going to be upstairs. There will be one DJ upstairs, and Flowers from the Heart will be upstairs with tuxes and bridesmaid dresses and flowers,” says Lankow. While some of the vendors will be in the bar building’s loft, in the Event Center itself there will be an additional DJ, catering vendors, and more, utilizing all the space the Watson’s Wedding and Event Center has to offer. “We’ve got decorators that are coming, beauticians, stylists, jewelers, a nail technician, a heritage jewelry vendor,” Lankow says. “We were thinking we would have 10-12 vendors, and if we got that many we would be happy, but we have more than that.”
The event will feature samples from food and bakery vendors, video footage of previous events, tours of the facility that can be either guided or selfled. “We’ll have our something borrowed room open so they can see what’s there for any needs they may have for decorations or candles, or signs. That’s there for any bride that needs to borrow something for their wedding here,” Lankow says. They will also be serving mimosas at the event. “Just come out and hang out with us. See what we can do for your day,” Lankow adds.
They also hope to hold more events like this in the future. “If we can make a go of it, our idea is to try to do one every year in the spring,” Lankow says. If any vendors are still interested in signing up, there is still time. “They just need to get ahold of us here at the camp or they can email us, give us a shout on our Facebook page,” she adds. They hope that the event will make it easier for brides booking weddings at the Event Center to find local vendors. “This gives them an opportunity to find local vendors, and gives them a little bit of a chance to meet and greet with them,” Lankow says.
Watson’s Wedding and Event Center has been hosting weddings since 2014. The venue offers a variety of packages for wedding parties, based on their accommodation requirements and wedding party needs. The upstairs loft of the bar is utilized for groom’s suppers, while below there are rooms for bridal party lodging and preparation. There are also bunkhouses for groomsmen lodging, large spaces outdoors for outdoor ceremonies, and the Event Center building for receptions. “It’s all pretty self-contained. They can pretty much get anything that they need right out here,” says Lankow. Watson’s Wedding and Event Center also provides meal options for the groom’s dinner, for breakfast the morning after a wedding, and more. Lankow says dates do book up pretty quickly, with the Event Center hosting around 20 weddings per season, which equates to at least one nearly every weekend of the season. “We already have four weddings booked for 2023,” she adds.
The Wedding Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 19th. Those wishing to attend do not need to register in advance and can find more information about the event on the Watson’s Wedding and Event Center social media page, or website, www.weddingsatwatsons.com.