The National Wedding Show and how to survive it

This week is all about manic chaos!  Despite outward appearances though, it is planned, methodical and a well rehearsed routine.  The reason for this apparent mayhem?

The National Wedding Show at the NEC.  It runs for 3 days, from Friday 3rd until Sunday 5th March.  I’ll be there on stand G46, with pretty much the all contents of my studio, ready to meet and chat to hundreds of brides to be.

I’m on the final day of running around checking prices, packing boxes, sorting catwalk “Call ins” and sorting stuff for the family whilst I’m away.  We exhibitors are hard core, we do 4 days if you include the Thursday set up.  The whole process is gruelling, exhausting, painful, exhilarating and worth it.


  • Great potential suppliers

  • Heaps of inspiration

  • Excellent catwalk shows

  • Loads of great advice

Yes, you know all the clichés, they are however also true.


My  advice is observation based, I’ve been exhibiting at these shows for 9 years and I’ve seen it all!

It is big and, it can be completely overwhelming.  This is a criticism that you may often hear, but if you follow my advice and plan, your experience will be positive.

Wear comfortable shoes and travel light! 

“Nuff said” on that one.

Avoid the overwhelm! 

When you get there, grab your show guide and a coffee and plan your “attack”.  In all the shows I’ve attended, I don’t think I’ve ever walked round every stand.  It’s exhausting and confusing and everything becomes a blur.  Sort your priorities and plan.  Mark them on the show guide map, it’s there to help you, so make good use of it.  They hand them out free on your way in.

Don’t be a walking rubbish bin! 

It’s an unnecessary waste of energy and best avoided.  Some companies just hand literature to you as you pass.  You mindlessly shove it in one of the many bags you’ll acquire, then, before you know it you’re ready for Olympic weight lifting.  If you aren’t interested politely decline.  You are actually doing them a favour as it is their money wasted if you are only going to bin it anyway.  Just collect what you are genuinely interested in.

Don’t be a bag lady! 

Condense bags down, less for you to loose and when you move between stands it doesn’t feel like moving house.  Just keep what you want and need.

The Makeover Theatre

Look at what is scheduled.  I can’t recommend this team enough, they have so much knowledge and information to share and usually have a top industry name or 2 offering their advice too.  With a world of experience between them you must make the most of this opportunity.  Pop over and find out more about them.

Is it a great girls day out? 

Yes and no!  If you are on a mission and need to get sorted in a tight time frame come alone or with only one or 2 trusted companions.  If you are idea gathering and enjoying pre wedding frolics, the more the merrier.  The most stressed out brides I see are those trying to make a decision whilst accompanied by their mum, mother in law to be and several bridesmaids, all with their own differing thoughts which they are more than happy to share and the poor bride doesn’t stand a chance. 

Chat to suppliers

As you look round you’ll see a few familiar high street names but generally the show is “rammed” with great independent small businesses and the people behind these business really know their stuff, they are experienced and are there to help you make the most of your wedding day so use the opportunity to get your questions answered. 

Avoid the crowds

It gets really busy across the middle of the day.  Aim to be there early or to stay later to make the most of it.

Eat and drink

Again, this sounds like obvious advice but folk get so distracted they forget and stress, frustration and "Get me out of here" meltdowns ensue.  Time soon passes by and it easily gets forgotten.


Know what you want out of the day before you go!

Stay focused until you’ve seen your priorities!

Best undertaken without a hangover!


Other great features to investigate are the Rock N Roll Bride area with top blogger Kat Williams, she showcases some fabulous independant alternative suppliers, the catwalk which is always fabulous and finally the Hitched area sounds interesting, though I've not seen this one yet.

I hope I haven't made it seem scary, it really isn't.  It is a jam packed, bursting at the seams, great day out, just pace yourself and be realistic!

Must run, these boxes aren’t packing themselves.

Harriet x

It still isn't too late to book!