The Big Day

(Written for the It’s Liverpool website)

It’s the biggest day of your life, memories that last a lifetime. So it’s little wonder that millions take inspiration from wedding shows.  As one of the first exhibitors to grace the new Exhibition Centre Liverpool, The Liverpool Wedding Show, now the biggest wedding show in the North West, has reached the biggest North West venue.

The Liverpool Wedding Show brings together local, national and international wedding specialists in one place for an inspirational way to plan your big day. The bride (or groom) receive a goody bag, can watch any of the four catwalk shows per day, chill-out sipping cocktails and listening to wedding entertainers in the Palm Sugar Live Lounge and have a chance to meet a variety of exhibitors over the two day event.

Now in it’s 6th year, The Liverpool Wedding Show has moved to its new permanent home at the brand new Exhibition Centre Liverpool. We spoke to Joanne Dainty Fenna, Director of Bliss Wedding Shows – the company behind The Liverpool Wedding Show – to find out how they got here:

“It also started when we launched Blackstripe Design in 2006, a design and marketing company. One of our first major clients, Halton Stadium, needed help increasing sales so we organised a wedding show at their venue in 2008. It was very successful and that led to Everton Football Club approaching us, to look at a show at their stadium shortly afterwards in February 2009.”

“We looked for larger and larger venues to host wedding shows in and came across a beautiful marquee at Knowsley Hall, set up for Christmas parties. Having approached the company who owned the marquee we established that JD Parties were keen to have it used at other times of the year as well. Not only had we found our next venue, JD Parties then became a major client for Blackstripe, we now deliver all their design and marketing materials.”

Being the Director of both Blackstripe and Bliss has its advantages, making promoting wedding shows much more affordable and changes to advertising campaigns and branding can take place much more efficiently, as the both companies are based in the same building. Bliss Wedding Shows is a true family business with husband and wife team Jo and Dennis, sister Rachel and Dennis’ son Tom involved. Rachel added:

“Perhaps if it wasn’t a family business, I wouldn’t have been on stage managing the catwalk at our last wedding show, two weeks before my due date! I wanted to work as late as possible into my pregnancy but I’m not sure most businesses would have allowed that. Still, everyone followed my instructions to the letter on the day, I think everyone was working hard to keep me calm!”
So was there any discussion about where to set up the business? Joanne confirmed:

“There was never any question about where we should be based. We’re very uniquely based in Liverpool, opposed to our two largest competitors in London and Manchester. That ensures we understand our target market and our exhibitors better. The Liverpool shows are a lot of fun and offer a big day out for brides, their families and friends, which is right because everyone is that much friendlier in Liverpool.”

Do you think that Liverpool has changed much over the years?
“I love Liverpool, but if you’d said you ran a design agency in Liverpool 15 years ago you’d have to almost apologise for that. Now we’re in a vibrant city with a bustling vibe. We proud to be based here. We actually have a client in London who, was so stunned by the architecture, how friendly people are and the real ‘buzz’ about the place when he visited, he now books a hotel and makes the most of his stay every time.”

So, what’s next for Bliss, the new Exhibition Centre Liverpool is as big as you can get in the North West, so where do you go from here?
“We might be exploring other consumer shows in the future so watch this space!”