The National Wedding Show: A Review

 Birmingham NEC 04/10/2014

After hearing mixed reviews about The National Wedding Show from friends, I decided to bite the bullet and book tickets for myself, my two lovely bridesmaids, my mum and by future mother-in-law. With my entourage dotted around the country we all met in Birmingham the morning before the show. Even before reaching the NEC I became aware that the show would be busier than I had anticipated; the train carriage I rode in was full of women in their twenties and thirties chatting excitedly amongst themselves waiting to get off at Birmingham International Train Station. 

We made out way from the train station to the Exhibition Hall. We arrived half an hour after the show began on the Saturday morning and there were crowds queuing to receive their show guides and confetti goody bags. 

Waiting outside the exhibition with my mum (yes - I know she looks like my sister!).

The venue was huge and it soon became apparent why the show was open until 6pm! Thehall was conveniently split into separate sections meaning that it was relatively easy to navigate around. The main areas were:
  • The Bridal Zone
  • The Bridal Boutique
  • The Designer Boutique
  • The Catwalk Theatre
  • The Wedding Theatre
  • The Champagne Bar
  • The Designer Flower Market
  • The VIP Lounge
  • The Afternoon Tea Room
  • Plus many, many stands hosted by stockists

Don't forget to pick up your goody bags! Lots of freebies including chocolate, cereal bars, whitening toothpaste and more!

My two gorgeous bridesmaids who came with me to the show!

Playing dress up with Hello Foto Booths!

Here are my lovely bridesmaids dressing up in props from one of the many photobooth stands that we visited Hello Foto.We had lots of fun dressing up and pulling faces! The great thing is that you are able to take your prints away to keep. 

There were lots of stalls which were great for inspiration and ideas. Many venue styling stalls had tables set up with stunning china, flowers and table linens. Whether you are looking to seek the expertise of a stylist or looking to go your own way, there are lots of ideas to take back with you. 

The Designer Flower Market hand some incredible designs. I especially loved the set up by Passion For Flowers who demonstrated that flowers can incorporated into most of your wedding day plans! I loved the use of pretty wreaths made with luscious green foliage that were hung on the back of the chairs.

Michele Paradise, the UK's number one bridal coach attended the show. She provided tips and advice on several topics - I stopped by for her advice on choosing your bridesmaids dresses. Michele was a great presenter and the talk was accompanied by useful infographics on the screen. 

The Wedding Theatre hosted a series of makeover shows from the Bride and her bridal party. The sessions were "Top 10" themed covering dresses, hair tips, make up tips and a separate session for mother and the bride and groom.

I absolutely adored how the Debenham's stand was dressed. It definitely made you stop and stare; the beautiful lighting and pretty floral displays were stunning. The staff from Debenham's were lovely and couldn't  have been more accommodating if they had tried! I was very excited to see some of the new lines which are entering stores this winter; it was a real treat to be able to preview the collection early, especially the lovely range by Jenny Packham.

Looking at the new Debut collection at Debenhams.

Checking out the stunning new collection by Jenny Packham for Debenhams.

John Lewis were present promoting their gift list service and also had members of staff on hand from Kuoni who were fantastic. I loved the pretty wishing tree on which guests hung their recollection of the moment they met their partner. 

We caught the Winter Wonderland fashion show. The models sauntered down the catwalk to the sound of "Let It Go" from the Frozen soundtrack. The styling was beautiful with a variety of outfits to suit different tastes. There were several catwalks staggered throughout the day. I must admit that we were so busy trying to get around the whole of the exhibition that we only made it to one!

A lot of the stockists who attended the exhibition were bridal designer or bridal boutique owners. I already own my wedding dress and therefore didn't spend much time visiting these stalls. I think that a bride to be searching for her wedding dress could spend a lot of her day looking through the many stalls with special offers and sample sales. 

There were also lots of wedding photographers who were exhibiting their beautiful shoots. This is another part of by wedding planning that I have already taken care of so I didn't spend too much time at these exhibits either.

We stopped by the afternoon tea room to admire the pretty design set up. There was definitely a vintage vibe! The tea room was busy and there were queues so we decided to move on.

Some of my favourite stalls:


Passion for flowers: Really elegant floral displays and creative thinking. We stood in awe looking at the beautiful designs. My favourite stall for flowers.

The Artisan Dried Flower Company: I love the look of these delicate dried flowers. Some of the hair accessories were very delicate and I think that they would have looked stunning incorporated into the look of a folk wedding.


Red Kitchen Bakery: I loved the stall set up by the team at The Red Kitchen Bakery. I thought that they really showed off the wide range of treats that they provide. I loved that they included meringues and pretty biscuits as well as their bigger cakes.

The Cake Quarter: Incredibly ornate looking cakes that were pieces of art. The cakes looked so elegant that it would be a shame to cut into them on the big day!


Knapp Stationery: Beautiful letterpress stationery that oozes with sophistication. Even the business card I received from Julia is created with beautiful letterpress typing on high quality card. A big thumbs up!

Stanley's Library: I completely fell in love with the vintage stationery at this stall. Some really unique deigns. The is also a "write your own" range which is cheap as chips but still very impressive.


Beetle Juice Cocktail Bar: Such an amazing idea to have a cocktail bar in a VW camper van. Such a professional looking finish and friendly staff.

Briefly Demure: Stunning bridal lingerie. Lots of floaty chiffon and pretty embellishments.

In conclusion I would definitely recommend a visit to the National Wedding Show! Whether you are a bride who is looking to find your perfect dress or a supplier who is looking to rethink your branding the whole day is full of ideas and inspiration. My top tip would be to take a packed lunch if you are on a budget and to make sure you arrive early to give yourself plenty of time to make the most of all the show has to offer.

The National Wedding Show returns in February at locations in Birmingham, Manchester and London.

Took book tickets, visit the website here. 


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