Getting married … Nevada County style | TheUnion.com

Getting married … Nevada County style

Keep it local.

That’s the message from vendors who will be displaying their wares and services at the 2010 Wedding Fair.

The event, which takes place this Sunday at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center in downtown Nevada City, is intended to hammer home two ideas for any bride-to-be considering whether to get married locally.

1. Nevada County is a beautiful place for a wedding no matter the season.

2. There’s no need to bring your caterer, florist, DJ and wedding planner from out of town, because high-quality professionals are right here.

In keeping with the theme of “A Wedding Affair for All Seasons,” producer Donna Hoekstra designed a new look for the fair, with each room of the Miners Foundry depicting a different season.

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And Hoekstra, who plans weddings and designs events through her company, Joy of Life Events, was able to tap into the collaborative power of NCWEDS, a new networking group for wedding professionals she co-founded.

“We have an e-mail list of over 300 local businesses that are directly or indirectly involved in the wedding industry,” Hoekstra said.

NCWEDS – Nevada County Wedding and Event Destination Specialists – was born out of a common frustration.

“Nevada County truly is turning into a destination for weddings,” Hoekstra said.

Those wedding bells ring in a significant chunk of change. Hoekstra estimated the average wedding costs $25,000, while a bride using an event designer will spend considerably more, from $30,000 to $60,000.

But that money often rolls down the hill.

“We were seeing brides in the (local) venues who were bringing their own vendors” from out of the area, Hoekstra said. “It profits our county to promote the vendors here, to keep the money in the county.”

Two years ago, Hoekstra started reaching out to the vendors at the yearly Wedding Fair, and some of them started meeting every other month to network, sample each other’s wares and learn about local venues.

The group recently launched its own Web site with a cooperative marketing campaign.

At this year’s Wedding Fair, the group will debut its latest effort: A Sierra Wedding Guide that will be distributed across the country.

“One of the biggest things (for NCWEDS) was to point out there’s no need to bring in vendors from out of town,” said invitation designer Leah Lossner.

A local vendor will know the ins and outs of the area, putting an outsider at a disadvantage, Lossner said.

And fostering a collaboration between local professionals means a bride can get the look of a high-end wedding more easily.

“What makes a wedding stand out is when it seems unified,” Lossner said. “With a collaboration, you’re more likely to have that happen. It all starts to tie together, and it will look like they spent twice as much money to get all those little details right.”

The message seems to be hitting its target.

“In a bad economy, my business has grown,” Lossner said.

“It’s been huge,” Hoekstra agreed. “NCWEDS has been able to promote a lot of us.”

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail lkellar@theunion.com or call 477-4229.

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