Images by Becky Bailey Photography.
Nu Bride The Wedding Show is the UK’s first wedding show dedicated to wedding diversity and the modern millennial couple – Featuring everything couples need to plan their wedding day and ever after.
The recent event was set in the heart of Camden, NW1 in impressive new contemporary wedding and event space and show sponsors LABS Camden House. The show was launched by Nova Reid, founder of multi-award-winning blog Nu Bride, as a response to a Nu Bride survey, in which 94% of the couples surveyed felt that wedding shows were dated, segregated, lacked inspiration for modern couples and definitely lacked culture and inspiration for modern multicultural couples.
Nova says: “I’m excited to be bringing wedding shows into the 21st century; to provide an experience that serves what modern, socially conscious couples are asking for. It’s been heart-warming to hear feedback from so many couples simply saying thank you for including them”.
Nu Bride the blog was born on the 1st January 2012, just two months after Nova’s own wedding engagement. Nova says: “I didn’t fantasise about getting married, so I knew nothing about the wedding industry. I discovered it 12 hours after our engagement, excited to make headway with our wedding plans and it didn’t take long to notice a huge gap.”
Nova continues: “I felt completely invisible as a modern bride who is also black. Where was the visual inspiration in designer lookbooks of dresses on different skin tones, where was the “nude” and natural make inspiration for dark skinned-black women? Hair inspiration? Food? Why was every goody bag at wedding shows stuffed with tanning products?
It felt like the industry was not expecting (or didn’t want) women or couples of colour to be walking through the door and it was everywhere – wedding magazines, wedding blogs, lookbooks, hotel brochures, photographers portfolios, just this overwhelming silence. The mainstream wedding industry only seemed to want to align itself to quintessentially white-British heterosexual, Cinderella and prince charming types. Gorgeous, yes, but if you weren’t that, you were invisible.”
Feeling despondent, Nova originally used her blog to share her frustrations and document her own wedding planning. However her story soon resonated with many others. “Never did I imagine it would form the key component for a career change and be the foundation of my business and a leading platform for better diversity in the wedding industry and beyond.”
The first Nu Bride The Wedding Show featured equality-minded brands that care about diversity and individuality, including inclusive beauty giants and show partners, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Patchwork, Light Motif and social enterprise Brides do Good, whose mission is to help eradicate child marriage by funding programmes through the sale of designer wedding dresses to empower vulnerable young girls and educate communities.
Guests were welcomed with refreshing cocktails and canapés with a Caribbean twist including sweet potato and chilli croquettes, red snapper and ginger and rum and banana cakes. All of which were a taste of a bespoke menu put together by the impressive former Head chef from Harrods – Alistair Dibbs.
There were vibrant panel discussions throughout the event including an important discussion on diversity in the wedding industry with a call to action to businesses and wedding media to prioritise diversity and to couples to use their buying power and only spend with equality-minded businesses and brands that are representative of them.
Nova says: “At the show, we had an in-depth discussion about diversity and why it matters in weddings. Why is it such an important discussion? Why shouldn’t it be? There are buckets of research on the internet that show diversity is good for business and society. When we are segregated our economy suffers – just look at what is happening with the socio-political climate right now.”
With her business hat on Nova continues: “In terms of business, the more diverse and representative your business is, the more you will financially outperform your peers by up to 35%. Socially conscious couples care deeply about where they spend their money and are willing to even spend more on brands that engage with them. Multicultural couples are the growing demographic of the millennial couple in the UK and LGBTQ+ couples are also a strong growing community in this industry. We should be providing inclusive and relevant services for the next generation of couples.”
Brides do Good also spoke passionately on a panel about sustainability, fast fashion and how couples can be more mindful of planning a sustainable wedding. There were also interactive workshops throughout the day including vow writing by Ave Creations and how to fuse cultures together by Ananya Cards.
There was a conscious and mindful approach to the show with Nova handpicking every exhibitor: “When couples purchased tickets I asked them what they were looking for from the show so I could tailor the show to their needs as best as possible and ensure the right mix of equality-minded suppliers were in the room.”
The show had an intentional bias to speak to black women. But it was open to modern stylish and socially conscious couples who care about equality, whatever their background. “We had wonderfully diverse attendance from couples from various ethnicities, couples in the disabled community and LGBTQ+ couples and our catwalk was intentionally inclusive and featured models of various ethnicities and body shapes” says Nova, “When our first plus-sized model walked out we got whoops and cheers. I cried several times at the show! It isn’t hard to start to be more inclusive, it just takes desire.”
“Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without” – William Sloane