Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester
Like any bride to be, one of the first tasks on my agenda was to visit a wedding show to gain inspiration, meet suppliers and generally, be carried away with wedding excitement. In March, I visited The National Wedding Show in Manchester and came away feeling uninspired, underwhelmed and fearful at the suggested scale of a modern wedding. Six months later, Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester , was the perfect antidote.
Previously named the National Vintage Wedding Fair, Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester , claims to offer artisan, creative wedding inspiration for the free-thinking bride. This resonated with me as a bride to be trying to avoid convention and also the label of alternative, or vintage. So far, my wedding inspiration has been a result of poring over back-issues of Rock n’ Roll Bride and hopping from one wedding Instagram feed of inspiration to the next. So, I decided to complete the holy trinity and purchase two VIP tickets.
Located in Manchester’s historic Victoria Baths, the venue for Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester was any sentimental blogger’s dream. Original, antique green tiling paired with stained glass windows greeted us on arrival. Our VIP tickets granted us each a glass of fizz and myself, as the bride to be, a goody bag. Captivated by the charm of our surroundings, we decided to take in the first sight of the fair by climbing the stone steps to the balcony. We were greeted by a bustling hall, filled with exhibitors and most importantly for me, colour!Breaking my reverie, the event’s compare announced the imminent start of a floral crown workshop with Charlie’s Flower Boutique. Floristry is something I’ve never turned my hand to before, but it’s something I was interested to try. With half-drank glasses of Prosecco, we immediately made our way downstairs to find a class of patiently waiting ladies and a table filled with blooms.
Charlie, owner of the flower boutique and leader of the class, began by naming each of the flowers laid on the table in front of us, described their properties and explained where a creative bride-to-be could source her own bridal flowers. With only one hour set aside for the class, I listened intently and set to making a floral crown adding my personal style as I went. I predominantly selected greenery, only adding flowers when necessary. Interestingly, my mum was very methodical – accurately interspersing flowers with greenery. One hour later, we’d each created two very different crowns, different but perfect for us with each of their imperfections. Of course, I had to photograph mine on my return home.
After expressing our gratitude for our newfound skill, we vowed to complete a Christmas wreath making class in December and left Charlie to prepare for her next class whilst we continued to the main purpose of our visit – to see the exhibitors, of which there was a real variety. After the National Wedding Show, I knew to expect a bombardment of questions and so, I was prepared: Slovenia, August next year and yes, we’ve found our venue.
As I’ve yet to find a dress, or even envisage my perfect dress, one of the first exhibitors I was drawn to was a seller of vintage wedding dresses. The stallholder explained how she takes vintage pieces and lovingly restores, sometimes customises, vintage dresses ready for their next bride. Perusing the rail of dresses brought along to the fair piqued my interest, but only because of my love of vintage clothing, unsurprisingly for me, I did not find my dream dress here.
Flower crowns in hand, we found this to be the perfect ice-breaker at Knot & Bloom’s stall – a small company that specialise in headpieces for the vintage modern loving bride. Without a wedding dress, we could only admire the headpieces and so, as we weren’t serious buyers, we moved away and continued around the hall.
From pop-up bars, to wedding photographers, we found quirky ateliers and eye-catching stalls but not many that were appropriate or relevant for John and I’s Slovenian wedding and as we were approaching the end of the hall, I found Lost Heritage, a small company specialising in traditional and modern print, cutting and fabrication techniques.
So far, our plan is to send traditional ‘Save the Dates’, but as there’s lots of information to tell our friends and family, I’ve chosen and bought the domain name ‘Wed in Bled‘ which I plan to update closer to our wedding date. It’s no secret that I love stationery. So much so, I’ve been trying not to buy it (my office has an entire shelf of unused notebooks I’ll eventually get to) but wedding stationery – well surely that’s a necessity? I adore the simplicity of their previous commissions.
While there wasn’t many stalls relevant to our wedding plans, ironically, this wasn’t an issue. Both my mum and I enjoyed Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester because we felt it was an experience. One of our final activities of the day was to enjoy a catwalk show of both vintage and reproduction wedding dresses, set to a soundtrack of live music from the Nat O’Brien Band (a wedding band playing modern and classic hits.)
Carried along with the excitement of the day, it wasn’t until I arrived home that I had chance to look through my VIP gift bag – I was pleasantly surprised. I’d chosen the VIP package for the glass of Prosecco on arrival, it was an extra £3 to upgrade, each ticket costing £7 each. I wasn’t expecting to receive a bag filled with treats: beautifully scented rose petals, English Breakfast tea, a bridesmaid request card and my favourite piece, a beautiful macrame key ring from The Attic.
I could not recommend Magpie Wedding _ The Show for any vintage loving, or unique bride to be. Don’t worry, if you missed Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester, you still have chance. The show is touring the country, with different exhibitors at each fair. You can buy tickets here for Bath, Leamington Spa, London or Chester. Alternatively, you can pay on the door. If you do choose to visit, I’d love to know what you think.