The Designer Vintage Bridal Show, Birmingham, February 2011 – Blog Report…

This time last week, I was joining forces with 40 of the UK's most passionate wedding industry representatives, in showcasing at The Designer Vintage Bridal Show – a brand new bridal show, that was established to celebrate the best of creative designers and suppliers of all things vintage.

The show was the brainchild of designers and organisers, Rachel Simpson Shoes and The Wedding Club, and I was really thrilled to have been asked to have taken part to represent my blog, along with my blogging colleauge Kat Williams of Rock n Roll Bride.  It was a wonderful, and new kind of opportunity for us Wedding Bloggers to get out there and mix and chat with the Brides we love to inspire.

The event took place at Highbury Hall, Birmingham – something I was particularly delighted about, because I do feel that traditionally, too many of the leading wedding industry events take place in London. Don't get me wrong, I ADORE London, but this event being located in the Midlands made it so much more accessible to so many more Brides.

The 400 tickets for the event had sold out well in advance of the day itself, which was a sign to everyone exhibiting that it was going to be a good day.  And indeed, it was.  From designer dresses, to glorious cakes, table decor, entertainment, accessories, makeup, photography and more, this wedding fair had everything to offer to the discerning, vintage inspired Bride.  It was a lovely relaxed atmosphere all weekend and I have to say, I really very much enjoyed it and was very proud of my little exhibition table 🙂

Be warned, this is rather a long post – there were simply too many photographs to share with you! 🙂

A list of website links to all those who exhibited is provided at the end of this feature.

Love My Dress UK Wedding Blog – All Photography Copyright (c) 2011, Emma Case, except where indicated



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The Venue…

The venue for the weekend was the beautiful Highbury Hall in Birmingham.  Highbury Hall would make an amazing wedding venue, and I was pretty stunned to find out the whole entire place costs only just over £1000 to hire out for a wedding! This really is incredible value for the space you get – think dark wood panelled rooms, a Gone with the Wind style sweeping staircase and an air of Grade II Victorian Manor House elegance, and you get the idea…





The Bloggers…

With the exception of the 'Save The Date' Magazine Wedding Fair that I was unable to attend, this was the first fair I've been asked to 'exhibit' at and here's me next to my fabulous little table, that I decorated to represent the Love My Dress Wedding Blog 🙂

Thank you SO much to Emma Case for lending me her beautiful Singer sewing machine and to Kim Groves of The Fine & Funky Event Company for loaning me various items to help kit out my space. Thanks to to the very kind Natalie Moralee of Purple Peacock Stationery for creating the most beautiful little cake flags – you ladies are brilliant and look forward to repaying you be showcasing your work on Love My Dress very soon…

I was heartened to have met so many people who already visit Love My Dress and made a point of coming over to say hi.  From Brides to Photographer's to most of the people exhibiting, it was quite a humbling experience! It was also good to talk with people less familiar with wedding blogs but really keen on the idea of learning more about them.

The following 5 Photographs were taken by the very kind Sassy Layford of Assassynation {thank you so much Sassy!}

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The Dresses…

The dress below is by Scottish wedding dress designers and Love My Dress Sponsors, Lindsay Fleming.  I have to say, I was really pretty taken aback to see the Lindsay Fleming dresses 'in the flesh', so to speak.  They were outstandingly beautiful. I exxagerate not one bit…


David and Grace of Lindsay Fleming, below….



Tobi Hannah decked the catwalk with her signature style short an sassy wedding dresses…




Just some of the dresses on display and available to try on on the day…





One thing that really impressed me most was the drop-dead gorgeous selection of Jenny Packham wedding dresses on exhibition and available to try on, courtesy of The Wedding Club.

One of Jenny Packham's right hand ladies, Petra, was present, and I spent a good while chatting to Petra about the Jenny Packham brand and her exquisite designs. It's all about the beading, the chiffon or the sillk, don't you know! 😉

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Kate of Kate Edmondson Bridal Couture below with one of her beuatiful designs.  Kate had a really very beautiful selection of gowns on display. With an emphasis on couture and bespoke production…

And I love how Kate ALSO got lost trying to find the venue on the Saturday! hehe (made me feel a bit less pathetic anyway…)


I adored the little girl's that were dancing around the venue in their pretty tutu's and Flower girl dresses….         




A range of fabulous corsetry was also on display by Rawhide Corsets



The Shoes…

Rachel Simpson shoes really are the most delightful wedding day heels and I will be treating myself to a pair VERY soon!

Rachel had several of her collections on show, including the gorgoeus Pearl and Ivory collections as well as her Noir and bursting with colour Cocktail collection…


My favourite design from Rachel Simpson shoes is 'Mimi', below right…



The Cakes…

One of the first exhibition stands to hit you as you walked into the main hall was that of The Boutique Baking Company – who very recently appeared on Love My Dress courtesy of this fabulous Bridal Photoshoot by Alex Beadon. Vicki Pritchett of The Boutique Baking Company really does know how to create one incredibly special cake. Everything looked like it was fresh out of some fantsatical kind of fairy tale, all sparkly glittery edibles before my eyes. Just fabulous!


The Table Decor…

I love love LOVED what venue stylists Bonne Fete did in decorating all of the tables that were located in the main hall of the building, in different styles.  Wedding tablescapes on display included Deco, Retro, Country Fete, Candy Floral, I Do & Mend, Curios, Decadence and Precious.



Bonne Fete have just launched a new concept called 'the Bottom Drawer'; paying homage to practice of the 'saving away' of household goods for later on when they would be needed/when a home was established, Bonne Fette's 'Bottom Drawer' service enables you to purchase itesm to style your tables and venue with, and keep them too!

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Event Stylists Vintage Glamour Days had an utterly gorgeous display on show…


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….including cute caravan-for-hire (£45/hour), Audrey, who was located just outside the entrance to the venue….



That's Rachel Simpson below left there of the legendary Rachel Simpson Shoes having a little fun in Audrey! :)…

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The Wedding Stationer…

Wedding stationery Designer, Lucy Ledger, had a really pretty display on show.   Lucy's signature style is very much shabby-chic and vintage inspired, and I particularly loved Lucy's art-deco style stationery.  It was lovely to have met Lucy for the very first time too 🙂



The Crystal Bouquets…

Clever, clever Debbie Carlisle creates the most beautiful crystal wedding bouquets.  I really was particularly taken aback by Debbie's stand, so breathtaking are her designs…



The Milliners and Headwear Designers…

When it came to Millinery and headwear, this show had it all.  From gorgeous birdcage veils to 1950's oversized bow veils, I could have easily spent the whole day trying them all on!

A display from HT Headwear below…



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The following six photographs were taken by Sassy Layford of Assassynation and showcase the work of the amazing feather headband and bridal headband designer, Sheena Holland and Sharper Millinery

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The Florists…

Passion for Flowers put on a really beautiful display…


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All the pretty table decor below was supplied by Wedding table decoration suppliers, 'The Wedding of my Dreams', from sweetie jars, to signs, to table plans etc….


The Bridal Portrait Artist…

One exhibitor I fell in love with was Abigail Hall, who was producing really beautiful bridal portraits there and then on the spot!…



The Vintage 78 Gramophone DJs….

How lucky was I, having an exhibition stand right next to It's A Wind Up!? Believe me I was very lucky!!! I LOVE this gramophone playing duo, they are just so fabulous!  It was a little confusing at times as the female half of the act is also called Annabel! 🙂



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The Photographers….

There were several photographers exhibiting their work that weekend.  I adored Emma Case's stand…


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Steve Gerrard had an amazing display, I was super impressed with his work….



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The Exhibitors 

Wedding Dresses…
Jenny Packham
Lindsay Fleming
The Couture Company
Tobi Hannah
The Wedding Club
Sarah Willard Couture
Kate Edmondson

Gabrielle Louise
HT Headwear
Laurel Lime
Rachel Simpson Shoes
Ragged Rose
Rawhide Corsets
Sharper Millinery
Debbie Carlisle Bouquets
Little 'A'
Passion for Flowers

Lucy Ledger

The Boutique Baking Company
Carolines Cake Company

Hair & Makeup…
Emily Jane
Leona Seymour

Emma Case
Futura Films
I Am Anna
James Crockford
Liezl Croft Photography
Steve Gerrard Photography
AE Photography

It's A Windup!
The Nero String Quartet
Sugarfoot Stomp

Venue Styling…
Abigail Hall Design
Bonne Fete
The Wedding of my Dreams'
Vintage Glamour Days

The Bloggers
Love My Dress UK Wedding Blog
Rock n Roll Bride

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I would like to thank Rachel of Rachel Simpson Shoes and Claire Guest of The Wedding Club for inviting me to exhibit at The Designer Vintage Bridal Show.  Huge thanks also to Branwen Cook of Mother Brown PR and to graphic designer Matt Simpson, who designed the really very fetching event programme 🙂

The team that made it all run smoothly on the day, from left to right, Bran, Claire, Rachel and Matt…


I have a strong suspicion that is gin they're drinking from their teacups! hehehe 🙂


I'd also like to thank Photographer Emma Case for making me feel so welcome at this event. I'd had a particularly stressful few days prior and managed to also get lost finding the venue! Emma is such a genuinely kind and caring person and her warm smile and lovely Husband to Be made me feel at home instantly – thank you both :)  HUGE thank you to Sassy Layford of Assassynation who very kindly took some photographs for me to share with you today – thanks so much Sassy and final thanks to Makeup Artists Emily Jane and Leona Seymour for helping me look and feel a little less tired than I actually was that weekend! 😉

For more information, visit The Designer Vintage Bridal Show website, where you can sign-up to a Newsletter to be kept in touch about future events.  The organisers have also set up a blog.

Did you attend the event? I'd love to hear back from  you if so – leave a comment below!  What are your thoughts on vintage inspired wedding fairs – have you been to one before and would you attend one in the future?

Have a lovely Sunday everyone 🙂

Much love,

Annabel xXx


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.