By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.COM
ONEONTA – After the packed Foothills Wedding Expo 2020 Sunday, Jan. 12, Linda Hover arrived at Rainbow’s End Weddings & More to find more than two dozen brides waiting for her in the parking lot.
“We didn’t know how many people would be here,” she said. “But there were a lot of people waiting!”
And it was worth the wait.
The bridal shop was offering its first “Bag O’Bargains” sale as part of Marry Mingle After-Party to the Foothills event.
The rules were simple – buy a tote bag for $5 at the annual Wedding Expo, and at the party everything you can fit inside is $99.
“If you can get a wedding dress in there, it’s yours!” said Rainbow End’s owner Norah Doyle. “The bags are big, so you really can fit a lot in there.”
Seventy-five wedding dresses were placed on the bag-eligible rack, as well as dresses for bridesmaids and mothers-of-the-bride. There were also prom and other formal gowns, and tuxedos, shoes, veils, and jewelry.
“I was inspired by other bridal shops in my network,” said Doyle. “Someone had done it as a Black Friday special, but I thought it would be perfect for after the wedding show, and I asked if I could steal her idea!”
Additionally, more than 100 gowns not eligible for the bag sale were marked down to $99-$199. “It’s a great way to clear out inventory and make room for the new designs,” she said.
Within the first half-hour of the Wedding Expo, Doyle had already sold a dozen bags, and by the end of the show, had almost sold out. “We had such a positive reaction at Foothills,” she said. “I didn’t know how many bags to bring, but I only came back with five.”
The annual Wedding Expo drew more than 200 registered brides and their wedding parties to the atrium. “There were a whole bunch of new vendors and venues,” said Geoff Doyle, operations manager. “Ailish Floral, August Lodge, Stonewall Events and Creekside Station were all new this year.”
And some vendors were even looking ahead to after the Big Day. “Keller Williams called and asked if it made sense for them to set up a table,” he said. “They said that after you get married, the next big step is to buy a house and have a baby, and they wanted to be the buy-the-house part!”
And the brides were all-too-happy to show off their packing skills in an unspoken contest to see who could get the most for their money.
“I found five bridesmaid’s dresses, a rehearsal dinner dress, a tiara, jewelry, a cake cutter and a ring bearer pillow!” said Emily West, a bride-to-be from Franklin. “I had ordered a ring bearer pillow online, but the order got cancelled.”
Though she had already purchased her wedding dress from Rainbow’s End, Missy White still had a few things to pick up for her big day. “I got a veil, a headband and a cake cutter, as well as my rehearsal dress, three dresses for other weddings and events,” she said. “I’m planning ahead!”
Other brides, who had already bought their wedding gowns, stocked up on accessories. “I bought a party dress, padded hangers for my bridesmaids’ dresses, slippers and necklaces,” said Marisa Gray. “We went to the expo first, and it’s a really nice chance to spend time with my future mother-in-law.”
“This is such a great shop,” added her future Mother-in-Law, Ann Marie Deforest.
And some brides didn’t stop at one bag. “I’ve got six dresses over two bags,” said Caitlin Cole. “Plus my veil and a belt.”
The event also featured food, games, a selfie station and models showing off some of this year’s new gowns – in case you didn’t find your dress on the racks.
But if you missed out, worry not – Doyle plans to hold another one. “People had a really good time,” she said.
“It takes awhile to restock, but who knows – maybe I’ll have the next one on Black Friday!”