A walk to remember
Merchants put Geneva front and center as wedding destination
Andrea Alvarez Pacini said she dreamed of a wedding in her family’s hometown of Geneva.
“I knew I wanted to get married in Geneva,” she said. “Everything here is just so pretty.”
But the third year law student at the University of Chicago admits she didn’t have a lot of spare time for wedding planning. Enter Geneva Bride, an intensely-local collaboration of wedding-related shops and vendors, designed to keep brides and grooms happy, and in Geneva.
Each year, Geneva Bride hosts a variety of events, the largest of which is the Geneva Wedding Walk, this year set for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, March 3. There will be tastings and flowers, receptions and transportation among the highlights at the sixth annual event. The walk features 12 stops for brides and their guests.
With Geneva Bride’s network of vendors, Pacini said she was able to find everything she needed for her wedding--food, reception, photos, flowers, the dress and more.
“I was able to put everything together in less than a month,” Pacini said.
And when she and husband Tony married Feb. 9, 2013, the Geneva vendors she chose never let her down, she said, Whether it was "up-dos" at Montage Salon, manicures at Lacquered Up Nails, or the attention to detail from the professionals at Crystal Bride, everyone seemed to "go the extra step" to make her wedding special, she said.
Local photographer Tom Nichol spent the entire day with the couple and their family. Geneva's Music By Design set up a webcast so Pacini's grandmother in Puerto Rico could deliver the pre-meal blessings during the reception. All in all, Pacini found a dozen Geneva businesses to meet her needs, from planning, right up to the big day.
But Geneva Bride vendors don't simply partner on individual weddings. They work together, year round to promote the town, said Tara Vanderheyden, a co-chairwoman for this year’s walk and owner of Invitations by Design, Inc.
“The more we work together, the more we can attract more wedding business. We support each other,” Vanderheyen said.
Six years ago, Vanderheyden was herself, a Geneva bride. She had her reception at Riverside Receptions. Through the years she’s returned to the banquet hall for special occasions, including her baby shower.
“We build relationships with couples as they get married,” Vanderheyden said. “Because after one gets married, there are all sorts of life events and we’re able to provide vendors who couples want to go back and work with again and again.”
Before Brynn Snyder Hanson said “I do” and walked down the aisle in her November 2012 wedding the Geneva resident took a tour through some of her hometown’s wedding vendors at last year's Wedding Walk.
“It was really helpful because I got to go and see all the different vendors,” Hanson said. “It’s really well organized.”
Additionally, she said the Geneva Bride incentive program provided discounts and extras, such as hors d'oeuvres at her reception site, Eagle Brook Country Club.
“They were nice incentives and we saved some money,” Hanson said.
Hanson said she liked how the vendors from Geneva Bride work together. Rather than having to collect the menu from Eagle Brook Country Club and bring it to Vanderheyden’s invitation businesses, the two vendors worked directly, saving the bride-to-be time.
“We want all brides to know they can come to Geneva for everything they need for their wedding,” Vanderheyden said. “I definitely love Geneva and it means a lot to me and I think it means a lot to other brides too.”
Details on the wedding walk and Geneva Bride are available online at www.genevabride.com. Advance registration is $25 per bride and includes two guest tickets. Advance registration is available online. Registration at the door is $30 and will be available at the check-in location, the Herrington Inn & Spa, 15 S. River Lane. In addition to the event’s “goody bags” brides will have an opportunity to register for a raffle to win a five-day trip to the Dominica Republic from Travel Leaders.
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