At the end of last month my Fiance and I went to the National Wedding Show when it came to London. I wasn't too sure what to expect, especially as at £20 per ticket the entrance prices were expensive but I knew if I didn't go I would regret it. After all, this was the final one before our wedding in September and I knew I'd never go after so pretty much a once in a lifetime opportunity.
When we arrived I was surprised to see there were no queues and we were able to walk straight in. As we entered the room and I saw endless stalls going into the distance I was filled with excitement, it really gave me the wedding buzz and it was lovely for my Fiance to be involved too.
The stalls were split over two levels and it took us around four hours to look at them, speak to people and stop to have a bite to eat so it's definitely not something that can be rushed. We even skipped a lot of the stalls because we didn't need to look at dresses or photographers as we already had those arranged. One thing I would be wary of is being pressured by some people to book them and buy things. We had that from a couple of people and it ruined the experience a little. Don't let them try to force you into doing anything or rushing, it's your big day and it's needs to be right. Also don't worry too much about the timing of things. When my friend went a few years ago she warned me that a few people make you feel like you're really behind with planning and booking things and that's exactly what happened with me even though we still had seven months to go. Again, take your time and only book things when you are really sure you want to!
That being said, we did really enjoy ourselves and most of the people on the stalls were very friendly and helpful. They obviously also love talking about wedding related things and I particularly enjoyed sharing details of our special day because I don't get to do that much - I don't want to give everything away.
I'm not going to talk about all of the stalls in detail but instead some of the stalls that stood out the most:
Dresses - I didn't specifically look at any of the dress stalls but if you're looking for inspiration it's a really great place to start as there's lots of different designers and styles under one roof. They get extremely busy but if you want to you even have the opportunity to try some on. Personally I think it's a good place to get inspiration but I wouldn't have changed the experience of going to a bridal boutique. They made be feel very special, we had our own time and space to look at things and it was a very enjoyable experience. Read more about my experience picking THE dress here.
Honeymoon - There were lots of stalls offering different honeymoons and we spent quite a bit of time speaking with them to get ideas. It's a good way of getting to know different companies, destinations and prices so you can pick the right one. As there's lots of people you also get your key questions answered without sitting down for ages like you would in a travel agent. We may even be booking our honeymoon through one of the companies!
Cakes - A handful of cake stalls were dotted around and were great to look at and sample. We got a good idea of what we liked and what we didn't and it was nice to see them in real life rather than in pictures like we'd done up until that point.
Grooms Attire - As well as plenty of dress stalls being available the same could be said for the grooms outfit. There were highstreet stores such as Debenhams and Moss as well as tailors so there really was something for everyone. From what we could see there wasn't an opportunity to try on anything but we found it really useful to look at the different combinations and chose one of the companies for our big day.
Entertainment - There were lots of stalls offering entertainment for your wedding day ranging from bands and djs to choirs and harpists. When hiring entertainment for you wedding a must is to hear them and see how they perform and interact with people. This was a great place to view that!
If you want to go to a wedding fair and are at the early stages of wedding planning and need some inspiration I would definitely recommend going. It's a lot of fun and you can get some good inspiration and contacts. I think if we had gone any later we would have got very little from it as a lot of the stalls were similar and I would have been left a bit disappointed.
Have you been to any wedding fairs?
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