The Belle Soirée: A Fancy Affair at Chanteclaire Makes Donation

Celebration Showcases County Wedding Industry and Empowering Females

OAKLAND, MD, August 27, 2018 — A first of its kind, semi-formal event, The Belle Soirée, was held May 30, 2018 at Chanteclaire Farm. At this social event of the season, Garrett County Wedding Professionals and shared the details of Garrett County wedding industry with over 175 attendees.

Since the special event and hospitality industry is dominated by women, many of whom are also local business owners, Garrett County Wedding Professionals saw an opportunity to potentially inspire future industry leaders by partnering with the young women’s mentorship program GEMS.

A project of Garrett County’s American Association of University Women (AAUW) Garrett Branch, Girls Empowerment Middle School pairs volunteers with middle school students in weekly one-on-one sessions throughout the school year.

Before the main Belle Soiree event there was an informal reception for the middle school GEMS participants and their mentors. The ladies were invited to get hair and makeup accents and talk directly with local entrepreneurs and business owners.

Also, a portion of the proceeds from The Belle Soirée event ticket sales were donated to GEMS.

Garrett County Wedding Professionals (GCWP) committee member Elizabeth Williams shared, “Beyond a financial contribution, inviting GEMS to The Belle Soirée also provided an opportunity for the mentors and mentees to interact outside of the classroom, and engage female business leaders in their community.”

The AAUW-Garrett Branch received a check for $500.00 presented to GEMS organizer Linda Carr by Sarah Myers of The Deep Creek Wedding.

“An empowering role model is important in our world today and we are thrilled to support this initiative in Garrett County,” said GCWP committee member Marcia Warnick.

“We appreciate these local female role models partnering with our organization. GEMS is important as a component of the AAUW organization and topics covered with mentees are self-image, their role as a young woman in our society and how to keep herself healthy, whole and safe,” said Carr.

For more information about GEMS or to volunteer, contact Linda Carr at 301.746.4433 or


About the Garrett County Wedding Professionals: Garrett County Wedding Professionals, also known as “GCWP”, is an industry association created in 2015 after a gathering of local wedding professionals. GCWP holds regular socials and educational sessions to build connections, strengthen skills and continue supporting the growth of weddings in the mountains of Maryland. GCWP is now a group of more than 120 wedding professionals who serve Garrett County and the Deep Creek Lake area.

About The Deep Creek Wedding: is a vendor website designed to significantly grow the demand for wedding services in Garrett County/Deep Creek Lake area and promote the region as a top destination for weddings. To do this, we partner with GCWP to use the crafted and creative voices of our local wedding professionals.

About GEMS: The Garrett County GEMS (Girls Empowerment Middle School) Project is a volunteer program that pairs adult mentors with 7th grade girls. Studies show that youth with a caring mentor in their life will be more likely to succeed in school, avoid negative peer pressure and experience higher self-esteem compared to peers without positive adult mentors. In the 2018 – 2019 school year GEMS will have 20 mentors mentoring 10 young girls at both middle Garrett County schools.