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Brides-to-be and their fiancées, friends and family gathered in the Diamonds Direct parking lot for the inaugural March of the Brides. (Photo by Nicole Cohen)
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Brides were able to practice their bouquet toss in advance of the big day. Depending on where the bouquet landed, participants scored points during the March of the Brides competition. (Photo by Nicole Cohen)
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Toilet paper wedding dresses are hastily made, as these brides-to-be rush to cover up their partners before they have to race in their new apparel. (Photo by Nicole Cohen)
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Q94's Jackson and XL102's Tamo pose for a photo with the March of the Brides participants. (Photo by Nicole Cohen)
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Participants tried to score the most points by landing their ring in just the right spot. (Photo by Nicole Cohen)
It was every bride for herself at Diamonds Direct in Short Pump for the inaugural March of the Brides. A chilly, overcast morning on Saturday, March 19 didn’t deter Brides from doing their best to win at field day-type events to earn points for wedding-related prizes. Those prizes included a $1,000 gift certificate to Diamonds Direct, a $500 gift certificate to Classic Party Rentals of VA and an engagement photo session from David Abel Photography.
Brides from the Richmond region competed in events including a ring toss, musical chairs, bouquet throwing and a “spot-the-difference” challenge in which the participant compared two seemingly identical wedding photographs to see what didn’t match between them. One event even allowed fiancées, friends and family members to get involved as the bride wrapped them in toilet paper, trying to create the best “wedding dress” they could. Then the almost mummy-esque partner had to run a few feet and back to be the first to finish wearing their new toilet paper chic outfits.
Breakfast food including fruit, pastries and croissants were provided and Q94’s Jackson and XL102’s Tamo kept things entertaining as they served as the competition’s hosts, letting participants know when it was time to move on to the next event or just offering up some commentary on how the brides were performing.
The participants kept things competitive, but friendly, even in some particularly heated games
of musical chairs where two brides had to fight for the same chair.
Split into groups, as the brides traveled around each event station in the Diamonds Direct parking lot, they would win points based on how well they did.
Melissa Whitlock, who will be getting married this fall, says, “I think this is just really fun. All these brides are so nice and I’m just having a good time.”
At the end of the event, Jackson and Tamo had the honor of announcing the top six place finishers who would have their choice of the top prizes. Once those top finishers were awarded, a raffle was then held where several other brides won prizes including $100 to Annalise Bridal Boutique, couple’s dance lessons at Rigby’s Jig and $250 to the Lettier Event Planning Studio. By the end of the event, more than $4,500 in prizes had been distributed.
It was Rachel Poindexter who would take the first place win and the $1,000 Diamonds Direct
gift certificate. She will be holding her wedding this December at the Independence Golf Club in Midlothian. “I need to buy my fiancée’s wedding band,” she says, noting that with the money she has leftover she can also purchase something nice for herself. Her mother, Pam Poindexter says, “I just want to say thank you to Diamonds Direct for doing this, because it really was fun.”
The March of the Brides, which has been an annual event at the Raleigh, North Carolina Diamonds Direct for three years, was started by an employee there who was stressed about the costs of her own wedding. Wanting to do something to help brides with the cost of wedding essentials, she organized the March of the Brides, which has become a huge success for the store.
For the first Richmond event, engaged ladies were able to register through Facebook to participate. The only real stipulation being that the wedding venue could be no more than an hour-and-a-half drive from Richmond, to be sure that the vendors could reach them. Those chosen to participate were randomly selected from those submissions.
The turnout was less than expected with 16 of the 30 selected brides making it out. The threat of rain and chill in the air may have had an impact. Marketing and merchandising manager for Diamonds Direct, Jessica Black, says that with it being the inaugural year people just weren’t familiar with the event yet. “I think it was accepted as well as it could be for the first year and I think it will be picked up by more people as the years go on,” she says. Adding that it is Diamonds Direct intent to continue the March of the Brides in Richmond as an annual event. “We decided we’d had enough growth at the store so we decided to do the event here and we will try to spread it out to our other markets over the next two years.”
Lakeisha Hocker is planning a July 2017 wedding and says she tried her best to score one of the prizes. She left the event with $500 in dance classes from Rigby’s Jig and says, “I encourage all future brides to join us. It’s a really great opportunity.”