Two brides-to-be win Dream Wedding Giveaway in Eureka

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Molly Mathews, of Bella Vista, formerly of Alpena, was one of two wedding giveaway winners.

EUREKA SPRINGS -- They came from Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and as far away as Virginia. Ninety brides and 95 additional grooms, friends and relatives of the betrothed couples attended "Romancing the Springs," Eureka Springs' First Wedding and Romance Showcase held Friday through Sunday. Many of the brides came in hopes of winning the Dream Wedding Giveaway valued at up to $10,000. The Wedding Committee of the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce organized the event.

Friday evening and Saturday morning through the early afternoon featured a showcase of nearly forty wedding service providers from the Greater Eureka Springs Area at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center.

"We had a limousine from Ozarks Limo parked near the highway entrance to the convention center. We also had a horse-drawn carriage from Olden Days Carriage parked at the front door of the center. You couldn't miss the message that we were all about weddings this weekend," explained RoAnna McDaniel, chair of the chamber's Wedding Committee.

The wedding and romance services included photographers, caterers, honeymoon locations, chocolatiers, musicians, periodicals, Web sites, florists, beauty and cosmetics, cookware and even a balloon artist. Vendors were able to interact face to face with the future brides and their families.

The showcase was punctuated by the periodic award of door prizes provided by local businesses throughout the two days of activity at the convention center. Attendees responding to trivia questions posed by Chamber president Jeff Feldman and Board of Directors member Mike Bishop were eligible to win the door prizes.

Saturday afternoon activities continued at the Eureka Springs City Auditorium. A tea for brides and their companions was held in the lobby of the auditorium.

A fashion show in the performance hall followed the tea. Patricia Erskine of Thorncrown Chapel provided a musical interlude on the piano. Mike Bishop of Pine Mountain Jamboree and Michelle McDonald of the Rosalie House and Celebrations and Traditions vintage attire, emceed and presented the fashion show featuring local residents as models. The show concluded with Mike Klecha of Judge Roy Bean's and Rock House Plaza performing a vow renewal ceremony for a local couple married 49 years.

The Grand Prize Give Away was drawn following the fashion show.

"Due to a communications error to our attendees during the weekend, we apparently gave the impression that our drawing was to be held at 7 p.m. that evening. Several of our participants opted to engage in some other activities and returned at seven. Our first drawing, held about 6:30, selected a bride that was not present. We drew another entry that was present. So, in fairness, we're awarding two grand prizes," explained Jeff Feldman, Chamber president.

Winners of the Dream Wedding Grand Prize are Jennifer Riker (bride) and Andrew Akerman (groom) of Tulsa and Molly Mathews (bride) and Brian Dillon (groom) of Bella Vista.

"They will receive goods and services of up to $10,000 each for a wedding in Eureka Springs they will not likely forget," remarked McDaniel.

"I am extremely proud and grateful to all of the participants; vendors; and businesses who donated time, money, labor, and goods and services to make our first year of "Romancing the Springs" a big success in my opinion, concluded Feldman. "I've heard that a similar ongoing effort in Branson operating for about 10 years draws about a hundred brides per show. I think we have something here. We're going to do it again next year, learn from our first show, and make it bigger and better next year."

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