At Downtown Mesa’s first Wedding walk, seven wedding venues and dozens of venders will showcase the best of the area’s wedding amenities Jan. 20.
“We realized that much of the Valley doesn’t realize the capabilities we have in downtown Mesa,” said Kimberly McCarthy, catering sales manager for Phoenix Marriott Mesa. “It’s so easy to make a whole day of it.”
And while many brides may not think of Mesa as a typical wedding destination, the Downtown Mesa Association is looking to change that, said Erica Weatherford, a Downtown Mesa Association spokeswoman.
“Most of Main Street are mom-and-pop owned businesses,” McCarthy said.
It’s a small-town feel, but also provides top-notch venues and lodging for out-of-town guests, she said.
This month’s Wedding Walk is a free event that should give a more intimate view of wedding venues and venders while guests are shuttled from one area to another in limos, Weatherford said.
“All the venues will be set up as if a wedding was actually taking place so brides can get a more intimate look,” she added.
Antique Wedding House, Mesa Arts Center, Regency Garden, 12-West Main, Tre Bella, Inside the Bungalow and Phoenix Marriott Mesa will host chosen photographers, hair and makeup artists, caterers and other wedding venders at their open locations.
“Instead of a 10-by-10 booth, they get to experience the whole thing,” said Chris Nagy, owner of Regency Garden.
The free event will feature wine, champagne and beer tasting, hor d’oeuvres, food and cake samples and more from selected vendors that have a working relationship with the event spaces.
“Each of us, being established businesses, we know the reliable, valuable venders,” Freeman said. “These are the tried-and-true venders.”
It means that customers get the perfect wedding day, she said.
“There are some venders who will promise one thing and then bring something else to the wedding,” she said. “We’ve gone through the stress so you don’t have to.”
The event will be the first in Mesa and will be very different from a typical wedding convention, said Chris Nagy, owner of Regency Garden.
“With conventions, you really don’t get the one-on-one with the brides,” Nagy said.
Instead of going from booth to booth at a wedding, picking up information for a deejay at one booth and a caterer at another during a convention, Regency Garden offers full packages, he said.
“Girls come up with trash bags full of information and then stop at us and realize that we can handle it all,” he said.
By working with specific venders, Regency is able to keep costs low, costs that they pass on to their customers, while still maintaining an exceptional level of service, Nagy said.
“Each girl designs her own wedding, we just get them to the right people,” he said.
The businesses, besides banding together for the event, work together throughout the year.
“We’re all so unique,” said Betty Freeman, Inside the Bungalow owner. “Each venue has their own market.”
Freeman’s Bungalow, a coffee shop during the week and wedding venue on the weekends, is inside a 1916 home.
It’s a smaller venue, with multiple patios and quirky style, Freeman said.
Depending on the size of the wedding, some venues are better for larger or smaller crowds.
“If we can’t offer the lush gardens, then we’ll send them to Regency Gardens,” McCarthy said.
But it’s not just for brides and bridesmaids, McCarthy said.
“We’re trying to appeal to grooms and groomsmen,” she said. “Along with wine and champagne tastings, there will be beer tastings too. We’ll have football on every TV.”
Two free entries for the grand prize will be given to those that RSVP before Jan. 18. To RSVP, contact Erica Weatherford at Erica@downtownmesa.com. The check-in and walk-in registration for the Wedding Walk will begin 2 p.m. at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa.
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