When my bridesmaid, Esther, first asked me if I'd like to go to a wedding expo she'd found, my first reaction (as thoughts of unending crowds, a massive exhibition hall and exhaustion clouded my brain) was a firm "no". Well actually, "no thanks, but thanks so much for thinking of it, Esther" is more accurate. And that was that. Until I met up with my friend and fellow bride to be, Tosin, a couple of weeks later and she coerced me into realising it could be a good idea for my planning process (mainly after she uttered the word 'freebies'). So, I conceded and today my mum, Esther, Lauren and I ended up at the ExCel centre in London for The National Asian Wedding Show.
Let me start by saying that it was nowhere near as bad as I had imagined it to be. My thinking was more along the lines of the Ideal Home Exhibition, and anyone that's been to it knows what I mean when I say the exhaustion of a day at that place is very real. As soon as we arrived at the ExCel though, there were no queues, no massive crowds, and everything was nicely contained within a very reasonably sized space.
My wedding is going to be in Los Angeles so the only things I'm buying here are my invitations, my bridesmaids' saris and my dress. That meant that most of the information on offer, like venues, caterers and photographers, wasn't really relevant to me, but it all proved to be quite informative and I realised that going to another wedding exhibition in LA would be a great thing to do.
As this was an Asian bridal exhibition, everything was big, bold and bedazzled, because that's how Indians like it. If any of you have ever been to an Indian wedding, you'll know that the wedding dresses and outfits we wear are the furthest thing from plain that you can get. I have an idea in my mind of the style and colour that I want, so it was really good to see what kind of things are in fashion and on offer at the moment. They even had a fashion show with pieces from all of the designers collections, which was a nice element to the day.
My favourite part ended up being the photo booths that were there and of course, I had to get everyone to try them out with me. For research purposes, of course (definitely not for the free photos).
When you get engaged, you don't realise how expensive weddings can be, nor how much planning and effort goes into pulling one off. Well, at least I didn't. My wedding isn't something that I've ever really thought about besides the basics of who would be there and that I'd wear traditional clothing, so this has been an eye opening process but also really fun figuring out what I actually want my wedding day to be like and what options I have.
Despite my initial reservations, I'd most definitely recommend going to a bridal exhibition for any brides to be who, like me, have thought it might be a waste of time. Even if you don't end up finding or booking anything for your actual wedding, getting decor ideas and exploring what's available to you really helps with your planning (and the freebies and food tasters don't hurt either!).