A couple of weeks ago we headed to the NEC in Birmingham for the National Wedding Show. We attended primarily for our own 2023 wedding, however, given our passion for His Day we were naturally curious to see what was available for the groom.
Before we move on to the fair itself, we were shocked by some of the comments we heard in passing, such as:
‘Oh, yeah, he’s here. I dragged him along today…’ Bride to a friend, in the queue for a bottle of water.
‘Not many men here today, I doubt they want to be involved really…’ Bride to her mother, passing one of the twenty wedding dress stalls.
Our opinion is, make wedding fairs more exciting for men and grooms then there shouldn’t be this misconception that grooms need dragging along, or that they do not want to be involved. After all, we know from our research that 70% of married men actively wanted to be involved in planning their wedding, yet 8% of them thought there were not enough resources to do so…thankfully we’re trying to change that!
Ok, back to what you’re here for, an open and honest review of the National Wedding Show.
We were pretty excited by this one, held at the NEC and a whole raft of suppliers from across the country. The room was buzzing when we arrived with a lot of people, in a somewhat smaller part of the NEC than we expected.
On arrival, we got a free glossy magazine and brochure of all the suppliers in the room, which was a nice touch, however, who reads them just as they’re about to go in? And me, as a guy, I’ve got to hold that all the way until I find a stall to give me a free bag!
Once we were in the room, the vast array of suppliers was visible instantly, the majority being dresses, venues, and international destination weddings. We’re lucky to have sorted those things already, but if you haven’t and were looking for any of those things, this was a great fair.
There were very few ‘fun’ stalls; one that stood out to me was The Mystery Guest. A magician, of sorts, who was doing mind-reading whilst we were standing there. He not only guessed the name of an onlooker’s son but also guessed the correct, unique spelling of it. We were impressed and hooked and overall, we loved that he turns up just as any other guest to your wedding and then starts doing tricks at the table. Amazing.
Some more interesting stalls were an aesthetic retro photobooth that we’ve linked below, a brilliant DJ set up, one ‘gifts for your groom’ stand that showcased groomsman gifts and an impressive florist but that was really it.
There were a few suit suppliers which was a relief to see, and it was interesting speaking to them, however, for £18 a ticket we were expecting much more! When I think about a wedding fair, I think of it from a 360-degree view. What do I mean by this? Well, we were hoping for inspiration for transport, venue styling, out-the-box ideas we hadn’t thought of etc. but we were disappointed.
Overall there were one of most categories of stalls you’d expect but at least 75% of the show was venues or dresses. Word to the wise, if you are a bride reading this blog then even our relative who is very newly engaged felt the ticket was overpriced and she didn’t get much from the day given how difficult it was to even look at the dresses.
Finally, our ratings:
Food – 4/10
Drinks – 6/10
Suppliers for the Groom – 3/10
Venue – 5/10
Parking – 10/10
Value for Money – 2/10
Overall – 5/10
We've got our very own fair coming to Northamptonshire on 30th October 2022 at Stone Siding Events in Guilsborough, Northamptonshire, which we hope will be a 10/10!
Did you go to the National Wedding Fair? Let us know what you thought!
Fun Supplier links:
The Mystery Guest - https://stephenseabourne.com/
Deluxe Booths - https://deluxebooths.com/