Local Area Touting Itself for 'Destination Weddings'


(Sunday, August 10, 2008 11:38 AM EDT)

When brides plan destination weddings, they often are attracted to places like the Bahamas or Hawaii, but there's a place they might not have thought of, but should consider: Hunt Country Middleburg.

To get a taste of what the area offers, brides-to-be are invited to the Boutique Show to be held at the Fox Den at Briar Patch in Middleburg on Sunday, Sept. 14.

“When you come to this show, you'll immediately know it's different from other [bridal] shows,” said Nancy Craun, owner of Encore Event Partners, the organization producing the show. “It's in the country at a site where weddings really do occur.”

The show will include a tea, during which brides will have the chance to look at numerous gowns, as well as traditional and modern hair designs and makeup (there will be demonstrations).

Brides also will meet “great wedding professionals” and learn how Hunt Country Middleburg can be the perfect wedding destination, Craun said.

“It's a self-contained village, and people like the fact that the pace is slower. It's not ‘concrete USA,'” she said. “There are horses, antiques and vineyards.”

Exhibitors at the show will include wedding-event venues from the Dulles Corridor to Winchester, as well as other, historic locations such as historic Mimslyn Inn in Luray and the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, W. Va.

Caterers, photographers, florists, bridal salon professionals and health and beauty experts also will be in attendance.

And unlike most big-city hotels, couples can rent out private estates or bed and breakfasts completely to themselves and their family and friends.

Although Hunt Country Middleburg already attracts wedding couples from more than just Fairfax and Loudoun Counties and other nearby locations (about 20 percent of Briar Patch's clientele is from across the nation and around the world), Craun is hoping to increase the area's popularity even more by through a Web site Encore Event Partners is launching (www.blueridgefinest.com).

Right now, it's not particularly easy for brides to plan a Hunt Country Middleburg wedding, because there isn't one place to get all the information they need, Craun said.

“They have to know the area, and that's what we want them to take away,” she said. “We need to make it easy to find a location and accommodations.”

The site also will include information on possible officiates, recommended vendors, recreational activities and much more.

“The opportunity to make Hunt Country Middleburg a destination is there, we just have to make it easy for the bride,” Craun said.

For more information on the Boutique Show, see the Web site at www.blueridgebrialshowcase.com.

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