Something lovely happened at the wedding show on Saturday - my friend asked me to be her bridesmaid! She's the first of my friends to get married, so I'm really honoured that she chose me, alongside two other school friends and her sister.
Have you been to a wedding show before? Are you planning on going to one? Here are a couple of useful tips we picked up along the way:
GO VIP For £35 (instead of £15) my friend bought us VIP tickets to the National Wedding Show. The VIP ticket gets you access to the lounge, a free glass of bubbly, priority seating for the catwalk shows and a luxury goodie bag (with a full size essie nail polish!). It was so worth it to have somewhere to sit and regroup, especially at lunchtime when most of the other visitors had to make do with sitting on the floor.
PLAN It's worth having a chat about what you/your bride is looking for before you go in and get overwhelmed by all the stalls. My friend had already sorted out a lot of the major things like reception venue (parents' garden), photographer (the one who did her sister's wedding) and catering (mum!), so we knew we didn't need to pick up any leaflets for those things. Actually, considering she was so sorted in what she wanted, it was really just a fun day out! Saying that, it's also worth going to the fair if you have absolutely no idea what type of wedding you want, as there are so many different stalls to give you ideas, from Caribbean and European weddings abroad to castles, stately homes and marquees for your garden.
PREPARE There were lots of wedding dress stalls offering 10-15% discounts if you pay a deposit for a dress on the day, so if you're prepared to try on dresses at the show itself, you could make a real saving. I overheard one lady being told that if she changed her mind about the dress she chose that day, the deposit could be used towards another dress at the brand's showroom, and she would still get the discount. If you are planning to try on dresses on the day, make sure you're wearing seamless nude knickers and a strapless bra so that you can really imagine what the dress will look like before you stump up the cash - I saw a few brides with black bra straps poking out, which spoils the illusion a little!
WATCH THE CATWALK I thought the catwalk show sounded really naff, but it was actually one of the highlights of my day. Half an hour sitting down and not thinking about anything but the pretty dresses in front of you really helps to refresh you a bit. I'd recommend going for an afternoon show - you'll be tired and probably a bit overwhelmed by mid-afternoon, and it will be a really welcome break. If you don't have a VIP ticket, you can book catwalk show tickets in advance for free to ensure you get a seat.
ENJOY YOURSELF I was expecting lots of bridezillas, but the show was really calm. Yes, it was busy, but it was full of excited brides with groups of friends, sisters or mums (and a few fiances) - really, it's just a lovely girly day out! I think most people go with the intention of having a look around and getting a few ideas rather than sorting out their whole wedding in one fell swoop, so any Friends-esque situations of fighting over discounted wedding dresses are few and far between!
Now that I know I'm a bridesmaid, I can really get into the planning stages! Do you have any tips for bridesmaids? I need all of the help!