AnnaBelle Events heads to National Bridal Market in Chicago

Last weekend I ventured a few hours north to Chicago for the National Bridal Market. A friend and fellow lover of weddings is opening up a new Bridal Boutique in Columbia, MO and it was her first chance to look at and buy inventory. Of course I said yes when she asked me to tag along. I was there to cast my vote on amazing dresses, snap hundreds of photos and scope out all the must haves for her new shop.

The new shop in Columbia is Belle Mariee, it will be located at 1400 Forum Blvd, Suite 7A. Visit their Facebook for more details: click here.

Before heading to the Bridal Market, I did my research, wanting to make a plan for the entire weekend (it’s what I do). Instantly turning to Google and Pinterest looking for answers to…

What to expect? What to wear? Tips and experiences others have had.

I was dumbfounded when my results came up with nothing. The NBMC website gives great initial info but I wanted some juicing details. So, hence this week’s blog post. Here’s my recap of market, plus my top tips on what to expect and how to prepare for National Bridal Market Chicago!

My experience at  the 2014 Fall National Bridal Market Chicago…

Jessica and I made sure we were there right at 9:00 so we didn’t miss a thing, about 30 minutes in we realized why the crowds we anticipated weren’t there.  There was a massive issue with flights, while that was a mess for the majority of people it was a huge benefit to us. I can’t imagine how much faster paced and high stress our first experience would have been with a few hundred more people in the mix. The day was made up of runway shows, browsing and networking.

We sat in on runway shows for Casablanca Bridal, Maggie Sottero, Allure Bridal and Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner. These shows covered the basics and well known names of market, but it didn’t even scratch the surface when you consider all the lines available. Here’s a few snapshots of my favorites from the runways.

Top 5 Tips for National Bridal Market Chicago

1. Dress Appropriately
Find the balance of comfort and trendy. Think, your ballet flats not heels

2. Bring only the necessities
Just take what you have to, this isn’t the time for rocking your over-sized Michael Kors. Know that you will walk away with tons of goodies and info. but you’ll also get a bag to put it all in. The last thing you want at the end of the day is one more bag on your shoulder

3. Do bring your phone charger or a battery booster

4. Do bring a great friend, industry buddy or colleague.
That’s what I was for Jessica of Belle Mariee. She focused on networking with her Reps and on the dresses in the moment. While I snapped 350+ photos and videos, made sure we stayed hydrated and kept us running on time.

5. Plan for multiple days, you can’t have too much time at market.
This is a lesson learned from our first trip, the entire experience is a lot to take in and there are very important decisions to make. Do not rush yourself or short change your time.

6. Don’t worry about packing snacks or a water bottle.
Each vendor at market, that you buy with, will have snacks, lunch and refreshments for you. So don’t weight yourself down. Plus NMB provides buyer lunch.

Lastly enjoy it, this was an amazing experience and completely out of my normal wedding world. As a planner I feel like a have better prospective to share with my brides and some insider knowledge. Here’s proof for #2, all the goodies I walked away with…no need to also carry my purse too.

Anne Churchill