VICKSBURG — Vicksburg’s antebellum homes, its history, its Southern charm and the Mississippi River are assets the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau hopes will draw brides and grooms to the city.
“Destination weddings are big business for tourist locations,” said Bill Seratt, VCVB executive director. “For years, people have gone off to the islands and Colorado.”
To keep up, VCVB is launching in December a campaign called “Vicksburg Vows” geared to attract brides from across the region, and maybe across the country, Seratt said.
Vicksburg Vows will include a wedding planning guide that will include information about the city’s venues, caterers, hair salons, spas, florists, photographers, limousine services and wedding planners.
The VCVB is working with local businesses to help each one promote its products and services. A meeting with local businesses was held about two months ago.
“Spas, photographers, florists, wedding planners and venue owners all came together so we can explain to them what we wanted to do with their help and to let them have equity in the whole process,” Seratt said.
The booklet and online publication will be available around the first of December when the VCVB kicks off a promotional blitz.
An advertisement for Vicksburg will run in the winter issue of Mississippi Weddings magazine late this month. More ads in bridal magazines and trade shows will follow next year.
The first year’s advertisement in this campaign will cost about $15,000, Seratt said.
Vicksburg is home to about 20 bed and breakfast inns and more historic buildings, as well as five casinos that each offer meeting spaces, caterers and entertainment.
The average cost for a wedding with about 250 guests will cost about $50,000, but an intimate wedding with close friends and family in Vicksburg with all the trimmings can be done for about $10,000, Seratt said.
“Destination weddings allow for a limited guest list, close friends and family,” he said.
The economic impact for promoting Vicksburg as a destination wedding is unknown, but Seratt said the dollar impact could reach the millions in a couple of years.
“This is one of our products that we will really be promoting in the coming years,” he said. “To brand something takes about two to three years.”