Vendors collaborate to bring wedding and event business to the island

Hoping to bring more off-island business to Vashon, a group of local merchants has banded together to bill Vashon as a destination wedding spot.

About 40 island businesses first organized by Blooms & Things owner Carol Ahlfors are kicking off an effort to promote island vendors who offer wedding and event services.

“We have a lot of talent here on the island,” Ahlfors said, explaining that there are a growing number of wedding- and event-related business on Vashon, but they haven’t worked together much. Recently two larger wedding venues opened as well, expanding opportunities for larger events on the island.

“There’s room for all of us, and we need one another,” Ahlfors said.

Recently, representatives of those businesses — including venues, caterers, florists, event planners, photographers and bakeries — got together at Blooms & Things to network and strategize. Ultimately they decided they would all chip in to be featured in a professionally designed website at Ads for the site on Google and in off-island newspapers will specifically target people the Seattle area.

“They don’t have to go up to the San Juans; we’re a ferry ride away,” Ahlfors said. “I just want to sustain our local economy.”

Many businesses involved in the new effort are also members of the Vashon-Maury Island Chamber of Commerce and are taking part in a similar effort there.

Chamber director Jim Marsh said that as part of the chamber’s current shop local campaign it has created a new weddings and events guide, a pamphlet that’s similar to one it offers with information on local restaurants and lodging.

“We get a lot of calls for people looking to have events on the island, whether they want to get married or have a reunion or something else,” he said.

The chamber is also working to create a new page on its website dedicated to listing businesses related to weddings and events and has reserved the web domain

Both Ahlfors and Marsh said they believe the two efforts can both work to benefit local business.

“I believe all boats rise when people market Vashon and try to make things happen,” Marsh said.

—Natalie Martin

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