Small businesses took advantage of Brown County’s largest direct-to-consumer marketing events so far this year as part of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce’s Your Special Day.

Throughout the event soon-to-be brides as well as those planning an upcoming prom or quinceanera met with local photographers, caterers, disc jockeys and a variety of other event planning services inside the Old Train Depot in downtown Brownwood.

“It’s really nice seeing the different options people have. I’m glad they did this because I’ve been struggling planning a wedding,” said soon-to-be bride Canda Makuta. “Having everything right here is awesome. I just got here and I stopped at a jewelry place and I thought, I have dresses picked out but I did not even think of jewelry … I will probably be here for a little bit – at least an hour or two.”

Makuta was one of what seemed hundreds of visitors to the event with most going from vender station to vender station sampling caters, receiving makeup tips and looking at many of the formal wear options on display. Previously known as the Brownwood Area Bridal Fair, the event received a change in name to reflect its goal of diversifying to meet the needs of other formal events such as dances, quinceaneras or birthday parties. Jennifer Barberie, Brownwood Chamber of Commerce membership director, said she was pleased with the turnout in terms of visitors and venders and hopes many of the small businesses in attendance can get a foothold on the local market by using the event for exposure.

“It’s definitely why we do this. We try to pull as many local businesses for someone to plan a wedding,” Barberie said.

Barberie said the only hiccup this year was the lack of a vender showing wedding dresses or limousine services, but overall felt satisfied with the outcome.

“We’ve been around to the venders and everyone seems to be doing well and happy with the crowd we have,” Barberie said. “Hopefully it will pick up a little more this afternoon, but it’s always a fun event. It was tough. We had to do some calling. This time of year everyone is really busy. We wanted to get a lot of variety and everything you would need for Your Special Event. The only thing we didn’t have this year was the wedding dresses and limo service.

For Lori Hohertz, who helps run Double H Mercantile in Early, events such as Your Special Day are essential. Her business recently experienced a change of services and a name change, meaning it had to reintroduce itself to local consumers. Throughout the day she guided visitors through her services ranging from formal wear rentals to gifts and décor.

“We were the formal owners of Early Blooms and Things. We sold our florist and it has since moved. We all along owned the wedding and party rentals and the gifts,” Hohertz said. “… We have a new name and a new phone number. The importance to us is customer service. My husband and I work very hard at maintaining our relationship with our customers. That is why we’re here. So many people thought when we sold the florist that we were gone. We’ve learned since that we had a huge following of customers that were attached to us. Events like this help because our customers get to see our face and get to know we’re still involved in the business.”