Going to a wedding show – like The National Wedding Show – is such an exciting experience and a fun day out, but there are a few key things you need to know before you visit.
We’ve rounded up the nine key things every bride or groom needs to know before visiting a wedding show, complete with expert advice from those in the know.
Read more: Your ultimate wedding planning checklist
1. Do Your Research
“Before you go to the show, check who is exhibiting,” says Zoe Burke, editor of Confetti.co.uk. “You can visit The National Wedding Show’s website and see who will have a stand, so you can make a list of which suppliers you need to visit – this will help you to not feel overwhelmed when you arrive!”
Once you know which suppliers will be there, you can compare the list with who you still need to book. Do some research ahead of time, but nothing beats actually going to the shows and meeting the suppliers in person to see if they can deliver your vision.
Read more: The best suppliers for your midlands wedding
2. Have a Plan
Now you’re armed with your list, sit down with whoever you’re going to the show with and make a plan – what time will you arrive? When are the catwalk shows? What time will you stop for lunch? Planning out your day, including who you absolutely need to see, will make it much easier to stay organised on the day.
3. Upgrade if You Can
“Our VIP experience transforms your visit from a lovely day out into a fabulous opportunity to treat yourself and enjoy some luxury as you plan your wedding,” reveals The National Wedding Show director, Cassandra Denman. “You’ll get exciting perks such as a complimentary glass of bubbly in the exclusive VIP lounge, reserved seating for the catwalk shows and fantastic goody bags containing treats from our official makeup partner, Lancôme.
“If you really want to treat yourself, go for the Deluxe VIP experience, which includes a gift box worth £70, containing a valuable selection of gifts including a bottle of I Heart Prosecco for two, a handsome A5 linen wedding journal, Top Tips For Weddings hardback book, a Happily Ever After candle by Katie Loxton and a Valentine nail varnish from London Grace!”
4. Allow A Whole Day
Don’t think you’ll just be popping in quickly – a visit to The National Wedding Show is a full day out. Arrive early to beat the crowds and be first in line to chat to the venues and suppliers you need to see.
Stop for refreshments at the Champagne Bar (or in the VIP lounge!), factor in time to see the fashion show, and give yourself plenty of time to browse the extra features, like the Eclectic Boutique and the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Show.
5. Watch the Fashion Shows
Get down to the catwalk with time to spare to make sure you’ve got a good spot to see the models and the wedding fashion up close! If you have a VIP ticket, you have seating guaranteed so you can experience the FROW for yourself.
Watching the models on the catwalk allows you to see wedding dresses in a whole new light. You’ll see the details glitter under the spotlights and be able to assess how the fabric moves – it really does bring them to life.
You’ll also get to see the latest groomswear, bridesmaid and mother of the bride/groom fashion!
6. Dress Sensibly
You know now it’s a big day out – make sure your footwear is comfortable and you’ve got layers, in case you get too warm whilst you’re zooming about planning your big day.
“A day out at the show is a great excuse to get dressed up,” says Cassandra, “but you don’t want to have aching feet or be uncomfortable as you browse all the aisles!”
7. Be Prepared to Get Involved
You might want to try on some dresses at the show – if that’s the case, make sure you’ve got the right kind of underwear with you. It’s best to go for pale or flesh-coloured underwear so it doesn’t show through the dresses when they’re on.
If you’re going with the view to try and maybe even buy your wedding dress, it might be worth bringing a pair of shoes similar in heel height to your wedding shoes with you, so you can get a feel for how the dress will fall.
There are also workshops and classes you can get involved in! Don’t miss out on these fun immersive experiences.
8. Ask Questions
The National Wedding Show provides couples with an experience that is getting rarer and rarer – a face to face meeting with your potential suppliers, where you can explain what you want and ask questions.
“Nowadays, so much wedding planning is done online,” explains Zoe, “and that’s great! We love online. But there is a real benefit to meeting your suppliers in person – especially the ones you’ll spend time with on the day, like your photographer or hair and makeup artist. You need to see if you click.”
Read more: What you need to ask your wedding venue
9. Take Pictures if You Can
It’s a good idea to take pictures of the stuff you love if you’re not booking on the day (although you tend to get a better deal when you book at the show!) so you can remember who you’ve seen.
Do check with the suppliers beforehand though to see if they’re happy for you to take photos – some people prefer that you don’t.
If you haven’t already got your tickets to the show, what are you waiting for? You can book your tickets for The National Wedding Show here – use the code ‘CONFETTI’ for £5 off.