Protesters campaign for the public to choose Yorkshire puddings on Pancake Day in Sheffield


Indie Manchester 2022: The Comeback Kids

The OG indie event for all your northern wedding needs, The Indie Wedding Fair made its triumphant return to Manchester this month at the stunning fivefourstudios in Salford.  Spanning three floors, this former 1970s warehouse has been artfully converted into a state-of-the-art photography studio and events venue, making it the ideal space to showcase the region’s boldest and brightest wedding suppliers.  

Since the first event in five adjoining tipis, held in Manchester in 2016, The Indie Wedding Fair has welcomed over 2500 visitors through its doors, and popular demand has seen the team behind the event expand into both Sheffield and, for the first time this year, York.  At the Manchester show, attendees were able to connect with trusted suppliers who have a track record of delivering exceptional products and services in an environment which is a world away from a traditional wedding fair. 

Lovingly curated by one of the hardest working gals in the industry, Ellie from Inner City Weddings, the Indie Wedding Fair has been committed to championing the very best local, independent creatives since its inception seven years ago. One of the exhibitors who’s been there since the very start is Manchester’s own Erica Stacey, owner of a unique couture bridal brand. Here’s Erica on why the Indie Wedding Fair is so special and why she was delighted to be back…

“As every Erica Stacey wedding gown we make is bespoke, we love brides who are looking for something different to wear on their big day.

We design and handcraft every piece in our onsite Manchester design studio, so we have to be very careful with our time and only attend a small handful of wedding fairs per year. Ellie and her team work so hard to attract a clientele to their wedding fairs who are searching for extra special unique products and services for their big day. They are always well publicised and run with precision.

We always love to be a part of their Indie Wedding Fairs, and work with other like-minded independent businesses who are so talented at what they make and sell.

fivefourstudios is a fantastic, super stylish venue and we really enjoyed the vibe on Sunday 6th March when we showcased our work at their latest fair.”

Visitors were treated to a veritable smorgasbord of treats, from photographers to designers, crafters to foodies, florists to stylists, bespoke-made dresses and celebrants to musicians and DJs. Beautifully curated with exhibitors who put design front-and-centre, the incredible blank canvas that is fivefourstudios was transformed into a vibrant space thrumming with everything a couple needs to create a wedding that reflects who they are and their journey so far. 

Cocktails were served in the sumptuous bar, where decadent colours and plush velvet fabrics contrast beautifully with the stark, minimalist white of the studio spaces.  Spectacular brownies from The Brownie Boss as well as mouth-watering pizzas by the Sunshine Pizza Oven were on hand to keep visitors sated as they perused the exhibitors’ stands and chatted to the faces behind the names. 

Music was provided by Manchester’s own The Rock ‘n’ Soulers, as well as long-time collab faves Wedding Jam, who had this to say about working with Ellie and the Inner City gang as part of the Indie Wedding Fair crew…

“Music is the absolute heart and soul of what we do, and the team here at Wedding Jam have now spent over a decade – and counting – sourcing the very finest DJs, bands, and musicians in the wedding world and beyond. Between our DJs, singers and musicians, we have played at weddings all over the country, and over the years, we’ve worked with Ellie from Inner City Weddings on more events than we’ve had hot dinners! 

It’s always a pleasure to collaborate with someone as talented and creative as her; we’re like-minded souls who provide different elements to a wedding but absolutely share our ethos and our values. It’s always a huge privilege and thrill for us to exhibit at The Indie Wedding Fair, where we know we’ll be surrounded by absolute diamonds who, like Wedding Jam, go over and above to make a couple’s big day go off in ways they could only have dreamed of.

Wedding Jam was proud to represent at this year’s fair in Manchester, rubbing shoulders with the absolute kings and queens of every part of our industry, as swathes of brides and grooms-to-be flocked to check out what we all had to offer. It was, as ever, a total pleasure, and we can’t wait to do it all over again.”

As well as welcoming old friends who were returning to exhibit at the Indie Wedding Fair, this year’s Manchester show also welcomed some new faces who were also keen to connect with couples after a difficult couple of years in the pandemic-wilderness.  Some of the first time exhibitors included Union Cakes, The Custom Botanist and Frog, who absolutely blow our minds in the floral stakes, every time. Have a scroll to see their incredible work in situ and hear what the team at Frog thought of the Manchester Fair…

“We absolutely loved setting up a display for The Indie Wedding Fair at FiveFour studios. Ellie from Inner City is always amazing and super helpful and the atmosphere at the fair was relaxed and fun. After two years of postponed weddings, it felt great to be back and to be alongside so many amazing exhibitors!”

This is a sentiment we heard echoed again and again throughout the day in Manchester: it’s such a joy to be able to celebrate weddings and events again, and nowhere was that joy more evident than in the faces of the many visitors who came through the doors. We caught up with one of the brides-to-be, Gwen, who told us about her experience of the day…

“The Indie Wedding Fair had such great vibes from start to finish. We knew we wanted something a bit quirky and we managed to connect with four of our main suppliers in one day! Lots of laughs and a really fun day. Thank you so much!”

Stay tuned for the round up of the equally excellent York event, held at White Syke Fields just two weeks after Manchester Indie- it was another cracker!

Photography Nathan Dainty