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Group works to elevate events
Association aims to connect businesses with customers
Joyce Saxon, who owns Southern Creations, is working with the other Statesboro businesses to promote each other as part of the Elevated Events group.

   One group of local businesses is organizing to make any occasion a success with a one-stop-shop for wedding and special events needs.
       Founded in 2006 by Tammy Barrow, owner of Fairy Tale Tents, Elevated-Events is an association of Bulloch County's leading bridal and special event experts ready to deliver an exceptional event with the highest level of professionalism, Barrow said.
       "I felt like a group working together to market each other would be very beneficial," Barrow said. "We formed it to further the special event and wedding industry through, networking, marketing, and promotions."
       Members of the association include photographers, hotels, caterers, formal wear providers, tent rentals, venues, cake designers, gift registries, and vineyards.
       "Statesboro has become a wedding destination of sorts," said the group's president Joyce Saxon, owner of Southern Creations Floral Shoppe. "People come here from the surrounding areas to shop for wedding services. I feel like each of our members really wants to help the other one, so we try to promote each other as much as we can."
       The group agreed at its last board meeting that where weddings are concerned, buying the wedding gown comes first. That is where members like Janis Hope, owner of Bridal Creations, play a vital role.
       "When a bride becomes engaged, they really seem to look for the dress first," Hope said. "I am able to give them one of Elevated-Events' brochures that talks about all of the different services and providers that are right here in Statesboro. It gives them a great list, a starting point for putting all of the pieces in place."
       The organization seeks to address two different types of events from large family gatherings such as reunions, anniversaries, and parties to weddings. "There is seasonality in the wedding industry that isn't necessarily there in other big type events, so we have to be aware of that as a group," Saxon said. "But, the bottom line is we all are here to help each other."
       The association is made up of categories of service. Up to three different businesses my join in each category.
       "We have benefitted from being in Elevated-Events," said Danielle Welch of the Quality Inn. "Networking of any kind is helpful, and this group really seeks to help one another." Other hotel members include the Holiday Inn of Statesboro and Springhill Suites.
       "We are always looking for additional members," Saxon said. "There are a number of ways to get the word out about your business, but referrals are one of the best. So, when one of our members refers another, it just gives you sort of a leg up."
       Saxon said an important goal of the group is to set a standard for the special event and wedding industry that focuses on ethical standards, professional behavior, and working together to provide better services.
       "Any big event, whether it is a wedding or something else, is extremely important to the person or persons that are giving it," Saxon said. "Where that is concerned, we have a special responsibility to our clients. As a group, we want to deliver the best product that we can."
       Saxon said there are openings in most categories, and she encourages local businesses to give her a call about membership. "Our dues are very reasonable for what one gets," she said. "I encourage anyone in the events industry to contact me."

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