WEDDINGS: THE INDUSTRY THAT LOVES ASHEVILLE

BY
ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES
CAITLIN BYRD

One year and one month after Christina and Blaise Forêt declared their love for each other in front of family and friends in South Carolina, they found themselves renewing their vows in front of strangers in Asheville this week. The bride wore gold — not white. The groom wore a blue suit and tie — not gold. The love was real. The wedding was fake.

Founded in 2008 by Callie Murray, The Big Fake Wedding is a nontraditional bridal show designed to highlight local vendors in the wedding industry, to promote solid and committed marriages and to inspire couples to get creative as they plan their own wedding. The Big Fake Wedding has been held in cities nationwide — from Charlotte, North Carolina to New York City. Murray said her company does events in about 30 cities a year.

But Thursday night was the first time The Big Fake Wedding had come to Asheville — a sign that Asheville’s wedding industry is getting more love from couples wanting to tie the knot and, by proxy, that the wedding business is bringing serious dollars to the local economy. According to The Wedding Report, the wedding industry in the Asheville metropolitan area is valued at $83.1 million this year. In 2010, it was valued at $73.8 million. Five years from now, The Wedding Report projects the number will grow to $91 million.

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