Couples celebrating a Christmas or New Year’s engagement must soon turn their attention to all the finer details of planning their big day.
As holiday cheer winds down, wedding planning season kicks off in January, and local businesses are gearing up for wedding planning season.
Doug Kreinbrink, Michael Eller Diamonds store manager, said his store is seeing its best kick-start ever in January.
Kreinbrink said Michael Eller caters to customers’ needs and provides lifetime warranties at no charge on their diamonds.
“The biggest thing is … we’ll take care of you from here,” he said.
Michael Eller offers free replacement in a shorter timeline than larger big-box stores due to still having bench jewelers in the store.
“They set and replace diamonds,” Kreinbrink explained. “Our competition has gotten rid of those and that’s hard to find. At the big-box stores (when) you lose a diamond it is going to be gone four to six weeks because they ship everything to California. It’s only four to six days for us.”
Michael Eller carries all the major lines of diamonds including Tacori, Gabriel & Co of New York, Hearts On Fire and Verragio.
“We carry some of the biggest lines in the world and we have them right here in Bellefontaine,” Kreinbrink said. “The store is fully loaded … It’s the best of the best. Whatever you want, we have personal contracts with all of these companies.”
And beyond the selection, Michael Eller often gives discounts on regular rings, sometimes 20 percent on bridal sets, and brings down rates on custom designs.
“What’s growing tremendously is custom design,” Kreinbrink said. “You get whatever you want and they’re spot on, on the price.”
Another wedding business also boasts being spot on, on the price.
Kim Griffith, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken co-owner, said with seven locations — one of which is at 101 Township Road 217, Bellefontaine — which cater to more than 270 weddings a year, Lee’s offers “a real value for brides looking to offer their guests a good meal at a great price.”
“We have a niche here,” Griffith said.
Weddings can be done at the discounted price of $5.50 to $7 per person, she explained.
“When they hear the price per person they say, ‘Sign me up!’”
Coupons on their Web site can also be applied to the order, she said adding that cost savings don’t end there, she said.
“We work with bride on getting the quantities just right so they don’t over order — so they’re not overspending,” Griffith said. “We work together all along the way so we are all on the same page … We try to do it all and be the easy and economical alternative.”
And the food is something people enjoy.
“I think it’s food that fits a lot of the current trends,” Griffith said. The trends she referenced are rustic and barn weddings. “Our food fits that niche. It goes along well with that … the value of the food is that they know what they’re eating and they enjoy it — it’s comfort food (and) it fits.”
The menu includes chicken as well as ham, pasta, pulled pork, veggie trays and more.
Griffith encourages early planning as Lee’s has already booked quite a few 2020 weddings.
“Plan ahead and get on our calendar early so you make sure we’re prepared for your guests,” she said. “It’s never too early to start planning.”
Lee’s offers taste testings as well as free quotes.
A commonality in wedding-related businesses is their dedication to making the day as special as possible.
“A wedding is one special day,” said Laura Hassan, Unseen Elegance Bridal Shop in Bellefontaine owner. “It’s all about you. You’re celebrating starting a life together.”
At Unseen Elegance, Hassan said they strive to provide a relaxed atmosphere “because it’s already stressful enough.”
They serve complimentary wine, cheese, coffee and juices with all scheduled appointments.
“We’re really big on customer service,” Hassan said.
Unseen Elegance is a full-service bridal shop with services ranging from providing tuxedos and bridesmaids dresses to bridal gowns and undergarments.
“That’s our niche,” Hassan said. “We are nice to everyone and there’s no limit on how many dresses you can try on. We have good-quality gowns and good prices.”
Part of Unseen Elegance’s customer service comes in the form of discounts.
“We offer bundling discounts,” Hassan explained. “The more you get with us the more you save.”
If a bride gets her gown and bridesmaids’ gowns with Unseen Elegance, the grooms tuxedo is automatically discounted.
In addition, if the groom has five or more groomsmen he receives his tuxedo for free.
Unseen Elegance also group ships bridesmaids dresses so that they save money on shipping — approximately $10 to $20 per dress.
The reason to shop at Unseen Elegance is simple, Hassan said.
“We hopefully give them the knowledge that they received a good-quality gown at a quality price and treat them with best respect possible,” she said. “We want them happy and assured that they’re going to look amazing on the day of the wedding.”
For information about Michael Eller Diamonds, 2240 U.S. Route 68, Bellefontaine, visit michaeleller.com or call 599-9900.
For information about Unseen Elegance, 1770 S. Main Street, call 592-7399.