Here come the brides, pandemic or not

By , Daily Memphian Updated: July 26, 2020 8:59 PM CT | Published: July 26, 2020 6:39 PM CT

Michael Tunstall and Torie Dunn were not going to let the pandemic cancel their wedding.

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The two were one of many couples looking around at various vendors Sunday, July 26, at the Memphis Bridal Show in Olive Branch. They plan to wed Oct. 10 in Love, Mississippi. Their wedding will go on despite COVID-19’s continued effects.

“Who’s going to say it won’t be like this next year?” Dunn noted.

The two have trimmed their guest list and will live stream the event for those who cannot attend.

Tunstall is laid back. He said postponing the ceremony wouldn’t have bothered him, but his bride-to-be is ready despite the pressures accompanying a wedding in a pandemic.

Lyndal Brumley, owner of La Cherie Weddings and Events, is helping brides solve their problems in the midst of chaos. She was one of many vendors at the event. Lately, she helps brides think through what needs to be adjusted to keep guests safe.

“My business was just changed,” Brumley said. “We’ve booked many weddings that should have happened already. Some couples eloped already, so we are planning their reception.”

However, she noted she’s been able to witness some sweet intimate weddings too.

Brumley noted a lot of her job now is helping brides save money and not lose their deposits.

“I’m figuring out the safety logistics, while still making it (elegant),” she added.

Natalie Clem said postponing her wedding was not an option.

“I picked the date two years ago - 10/10/2020,” she said. “We are getting married that day.”

She’s trimming her guest list from 175 to under 100 for her nuptials in Coldwater, Mississippi.

“There are so many people I would love for them to be there, but I don’t want to put them at risk,” she said.

While she hasn’t worried too much about vendors pulling out, they were hard to find as Oct. 10 is a popular wedding date. 

Her maid of honor, Marlene Meredith, is helping and visited booths Sunday with Clem.

“She’s a little bit of a bridezilla,” Meredith joked.

Meredith is working on making masks as party favors for guests.

Some brides hope the pandemic is in the past or better protocols are in place in 2021.

Bobbi King got engaged May 28, deep into the pandemic. She isn’t getting married until June 2021, however, and said planning her wedding for Graceland’s Chapel in the Woods has not been too tough.

“I wanted to make sure I had time to plan,” she said of her wedding date. “It’s not too hard because it’s that far in advance.”

The event Sunday included a bridal gown fashion show. Usually, about 12 brides show off dresses from David’s Bridal, according to January Ferrell, the model coordinator for the event. However, this year she had about half that many.

Ferrell was one of the models in the 2016 show, and now she helps plan the dress show each year. 

“We have a blast with the dresses,” she said.

Kirk Houston, producer of the event, has been putting together the show for 18 years. It was formerly the Mid-South Wedding Show, but the past two years it has been rebranded as the Memphis Bridal Show.

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It was planned for April originally but postponed to Sunday, and the pandemic was like an uninvited guest at the show.

Both staff and vendors pulled out late due to safety concerns, but Houston tried to keep everyone safe by spacing out vendors. Most visitors wore masks, and groups aimed to social distance. More than 450 brides registered, but they gradually trickled in.

The show was at Whispering Woods Hotel and Conference Center. Houston said for years, people have asked him to take the show inside the Memphis city limits.

“Had we done that, we wouldn’t have been able to have the show,” Houston said, noting the restrictions aren’t as tight in DeSoto County as they are in Shelby County.

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Memphis Bridal Show weddings coronavirus COVID-19 Olive Branch whispering woods
Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has worked for several local publications and covers the suburbs for The Daily Memphian.


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