Thursday, 11 October 2012

Wedding fair - dresses!

Last week we were back in wedding mode with a visit to the National Wedding Fair at the NEC in Birmingham. The National Wedding Fairs are held in London and Birmingham and are huge - we visited the National Wedding last October, so wanted to revisit as this is probably the last wedding fair we will go to!
We took our mums along this time as we thought it would be a good way to get them to feel more involved in our planning, and we were really pleased when they ended up getting on really well. They haven't spent a lot of time together previously, so this seemed like a good bonding experience!
Our aims for this wedding fair were very different than last year. We didn't really know what to expect last year, and needed information on basically everything related to weddings, as the only thing we had ticked off our list at that point was our venue.
Wedding fairs mainly serve two purposes - they are a great way to gain a huge amount of information (take a bag for all the leaflets!) but are also a big sales pitch for the vendors. They will try and get your attention as you walk by, and literally shove leaflets into your hand!
This time around, we only have a few things left on our list - our dresses, our bridesmaids dresses, and suits for our dads and L's brother, so we able to bypass a lot of stalls (photographers, florists, cake stalls, venue decor, venues, honeymoons).
We checked off hiring the mens suits fairly quickly with a stall that had an offer on if we booked there and then, so we booked three grey suits with fuchsia ties, to fit in with our fuchsia pink and grey theme. The men can go for fittings at whichever store is nearest to them.
We didn't find any bridesmaids dresses, or mother  of the bride outfits, but looked at LOTS of wedding dresses! And, I tried my first wedding dress on! I happened to see it on a mannequin and though it was really beautiful, even though it wasn't the slim, fitted style I had been looking for. So, encouraged by my mum, I tried it on!

A few tips for trying on dresses at wedding fairs:

  • don't expect the princess, fairytale experience - it will be quick, rushed, and unglamorous! I was told to remove my top, but for speed purposes, not to remove my leggings, and another girl was ushered into the fitting room before I had finished putting my top back on!
  • Don't worry about wearing specific underwear - the assistant will tuck in bra straps etc, however you may want to make sure you aren't wearing teeny thongs etc!
  • The assistant will dress you - mums, partners etc are rarely allowed in the fitting room
  • Dresses at wedding fairs at nearly always size 12-14. I'm an 8-10 but tried on a size 14 dress which looked a perfect fit  after the assistant had pinned it. They will always pin dresses if you are small, or fasten dresses looser for you if you need.
  • Be prepared to come out of the fitting room into the rest of the wedding fair to look at your dress in a mirror / have family/friends (and anyone walking by!) see it.
  • The assistants will offer you cheaper prices/special offers if you buy the dress there and then - don't be sucked in unless you are sure!
I loved the dress I tried on, but really couldn't judge whether it was the one. It was the first I had tried on, was 'bigger' than I wanted due to the hoop underneath, and it was hard to see in a tiny narrow mirror! I will however go back to the store, and try the dress on in a nicer, uncrushed atmosphere (with no hoop!)
Looking at dresses is really hard - on the rails they all look really long, and kind of similar! I'm not sure if I would have tried my dress on if I hadn't seen it given shape on a mannequin. A wedding fair is a good way to get ideas, but I'm not sure I'd want to buy my dress at one. 
We want to have our dresses by January at the latest, so the fun part starts now!
They all look the same on the rails - however are we going to choose?!


  1. We are currently looking for our wedding dresses too and it is so difficult to decide! There are so many dresses and they all kinda look the same but totally different at the same time and we also want to make sure they compliment each other but reflect our different tastes too! x

  2. Ah this is the fun bit!!! I tried on one dress at a wedding fair- the experience was a bit soulless, but I can see that it would be an amazing place for a bargain if you know what you want! As it was, I freaked out, as it was the first time I had seen myself actually look like a bride (I think the veil freaked me out!).
    I was dreading dress shopping in a way, as my Mum died 5 years ago and we often used to shop together, plus the mother/daughter dress shopping experience is such a lovely thing... in the end, I fell in love with a dress from Saks Fifth Avenue and, after much delibration (over 3 months!) and looking round at others, I took the plunge and ordered it online. I love it!
    Are you seeing each others' dresses before the big day? Ours are being kept secret, as are all accessories- apart from the shoes. We are both big shoe fans and couldn't resist showing each other our designer shoe splurges. I bought my shoes before I had even chosen my dress and I am so happy with them! xx

  3. Ah didn't realise I was logged in under that name- it is I, Sara, from Twitterland! x

  4. Thanks for the comment Sara!
    We may show each other a picture of the dresses we choose, but we aren't going to see each other wearing them until the big day!
    We have seen each others shoes, we too got them way before we even started looking at dresses! We are buying each others jewellery so that will be a surprise on the big day too :)
    S xx


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