The Bad Bride Diaries: National Wedding Show

The National Wedding Show is one of the biggest showcases in the UK, and we went along to check out the Birmingham edition.

National Wedding Show

The show wasn’t actually as huge as I expected, and a lot of it was taken up by destination wedding ideas, which isn’t what we’re looking at. The dress stands were also enormous, with massive queues of women crushing round to try dresses. Trying dresses on in a hall in the NEC is not really my dream for my first dress try on, so I contended myself looking at them on the hanger instead.

There’s also a catwalk show, with dresses and suits for the whole wedding party. Turns out, I’m still not super keen on most wedding dresses, which is totally not filling me with vague stress about shopping for mine. Not at all.

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What I did like, was pretty back detail, blush tones and a twist of something unexpected. But yeah, I didn’t see anything for me. There were beautiful suits galore though, so I don’t think Dave is going to struggle.

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We saw a couple of pretty things we liked too, and took away a couple of ideas, but mainly, it was all a bit formal for us, and a little traditional.

If you’re going for a more classic wedding, there’s a lot of ideas to be found here; and it’s clearly a good place to get a bargain on a wedding dress, but it just wasn’t for us.

Our tickets were paid for in full, by me. Nobody we spoke to knew I was a blogger. All words, images and opinions are my own. 

The Bad Bride Diaries: Highbury Hall Wedding Fayre

A few weekends back, we continued our wedding planning adventures with a visit to Highbury Hall for their wedding fayre. Highbury is a stunning building, dating back to 1878. The fair showcased lots of local wedding vendors, covering everything from wedding dresses to a hypnotist to combat wedding day nerves.

Highbury Hall

We grabbed a glass of fizz and went for a stroll. We’re a way off our wedding, obviously, but I was hoping to get some ideas.

The Dressing Rooms

Tea length wedding dress

Wedding Dress

Dancers suit

The clothing

We looked at wedding dresses from TDR Bridal Outlet, suits from Peter Posh and Dancers, and Mother of the Bride outfits from Liliann Occasion Wear

Turns out Mum and I are super fussy, as neither of us saw anything we’d actually wear, but the ladies from TDR were lovely, and as they stock ex-samples of House of Mooshki, I’ll definitely be going in for an appointment. I’m not at all precious about wearing an ex-sample dress, and the heavy discounts are definitely attractive!

We had more luck with suits, coming away with both loving a few cuts, and basically anything in blue. We definitely have some ideas now, and again, found the chaps from Dancers super friendly.

Wedding Cake

Vintage Bottles

Flowers

Table Setting

The Details

Surprise, surprise, I loved a lot of the little vintage details. Pretty glassware, vintage florals, gimme all the retro detailing. I also really loved the beautiful cakes from Daisy & Fred. I already know my cake will be coming from my friend Imogen’s company, Paisley Immy Cakes, but I still enjoyed Daisy & Fred‘s bright, colourful designs. Incredible work.

We had a fun day and did come away with a few ideas, and some vendors we’ll be checking out for sure. If nothing else, we know we need to go back and view Highbury Hall…

Highbury Hall Wedding Fayre was free to attend. Nobody we spoke to knew I was a blogger. All words, images and opinions are my own. 

The Bad Bride Diaries: Venue Hunting

We’re in the looking for a venue stage of wedding planning, and it’s one of the most bizarre experiences of my life.

Wedding venues

Turns out, there approximately 8million sorts of venue to get married in, and they all come with all sorts of decisions. Am I the sort of person who gets married in a converted barn, a fancy hotel, or a quirkier venue like a museum or a cool restaurant? It all seems nice, as you look at pictures of pretty wedding days on the venue listing sites, and then you suddenly realise there are practical decisions to make.

Will my guests fit? Are we going to rattle around in there? Where will people stay nearby? Is there enough parking? Can we have the ceremony and the reception in the same place? Is there somewhere for people to put their coats? What time does the bar close?

I now spend what feels like most of my life looking at the websites of venues, and getting increasingly annoyed by how amazingly crap some of them are. Top tip, wedding venues. If your website is not optimised for mobile, if your brochure is buried somewhere obscure, if you call yourself ‘affordable’ but have no prices anywhere, if the only pictures are close-ups of people’s centre pieces, I’m probably going to hit the back button and go back to Googling for other venues. All of these issues are surprisingly common, and super annoying.

We’ve managed to shortlist a few places, and we’ve been to see a couple of places in person, which is an experience in itself. We’ve been lucky, and only dealt with very nice people, but we’ve also been given 12000 bits of paper which are slowly taking over our flat, lots of information we often largely don’t understand, a warning against ‘the menfolk’ doing too long speeches, a guide which informed me I must make sure Dave attends his suit fitting (silly old grooms can’t manage such things alone, poor dears), and a general sense of total confusion. I never know what to ask, despite the many, many lists out there of questions to ask your venue. I find myself holding conversations about corkage, and whether cake knives are included, and vaguely wondering who I have become. Luckily, I still don’t understand chair covers, so I’ve not been sucked into Bride World fully yet.

The emailing back and forth is currently my least favourite thing, and like the websites, I’ve found many small annoyances which immediately make me scratch a venue off the list. Offences include: advertising on your site that I can email for wedding options and menus but then reply with hire costs and an instruction to telephone the tearoom to discuss menus (hello, are you not the same place? How is it a thing that you cannot provide a standard wedding menu from your own venue?), refusing to give any price information until I come in person or provide an exact date for a wedding I want in two years time and being astonishingly slow to respond.

I think this is the first phase of Bridezilla. Save me from myself.

As yet, we’re still looking, and I’ll share our chosen spot when we finally pick it (help me, how do you choose???) but for now, think of me, stroppily emailing and Googling and swearing at download a brochure links that don’t work.