Natalie & Max Photo and Films

ABOUT US – OUR STORY

Here at Main Event Wedding Shows we are passionate about all things wedding related. We have been creating much anticipated and professional wedding shows for 20 years and have a fantastic relationship and reputation with the very best venues and suppliers in the region. 

Founded 20 years ago by Director Vanessa Challis who is proud of her dedicated team who always put our exhibitors and couples at the forefront of all we do, and we are forever innovating and improving.

In addition to our wedding shows, we publish Absolute Bridal magazine three times a year - a print and online publication full of handy tips, advice and heart-warming stories related to weddings. The magazine has had a loyal on and offline following for more than a decade.

We are also super excited to produce the Essex Wedding Awards which was acquired by us in 2019. This wonderful black-tie event is the perfect showcase for suppliers who compete for the highly prized Awards, which are not only recognition for the wonderful work they do, but which raise the profile of its winners. Please visit our website www.essexweddingawards.co.uk for more information.

Meet the team

Vanessa Challis, Director - Main Event Weddings Shows, Absolute Bridal & Essex Wedding Awards

Vanessa has been in business for over 20 years. She has a wealth of experience and a high profile in the area with over 40 years’ experience in sales and marketing. Vanessa has worked for a variety of blue-chip companies including Northcliffe newspapers, Newsquest, Archant and have manged many large sales teams & projects. She started Main Event Wedding Shows, bringing a wealth of knowledge in the wedding industry and a determination to succeed. Vanessa has gradually built her reputation and business and now hosts over 50 wedding shows a year,  publishes her own magazine three times a year and several years ago became proud owner of the Essex Wedding Awards.

Donna Pearce, Sales Director

Donna has been with us since 2018, and we don’t know what we’d do without her! With over 25 years of sales and events industry experience, including running a destination country pub/restaurant/events venue in Essex alongside her husband and working as an events manager in New Zealand for eight years organising weddings, ballet shows, rock concerts, art exhibitions, corporate galas and international conferences, there’s nothing Donna doesn’t know about the industry! Donna absolutely loves the fast-pace of her job and likes nothing more than turning up to a wedding show on a Sunday morning and seeing the months of hard prep coming together.

Kirsty Stanley – Customer Service Sales Advisor

Kirsty works as part of the Sales team, with a wealth of experience in sales and venues, Kirsty brings a unique blend of expertise to our team. Her dedication to providing exceptional customer service and her proven track record in sales makes her a valuable team member as we strive for excellence in serving our clients.

Geraldine Rowland - Sales & Admin Assistant

With an impressive background in administrative roles, Geraldine has honed her skills working with esteemed companies such as Owen Lyon's Estate Agency and Morrison Stoneham Accountants. Seeking further challenges, she ventured to London to become the Personal Assistant to the Marketing Director at Ernst Young. Later, at Johnson Controls, Geraldine thrived as a Marketing Communications Coordinator, impressively putting together corporate events, and supporting the management team. Geraldine now brings her expertise, creativity, and dedication to Main Event Wedding Shows where her client-centric approach and unwavering commitment make her an invaluable asset to our team.

Rachel Chilvers, Accounts Executive

Rachel has worked for Main Event Wedding Shows for over 7 years and overseas all aspects of the in-house accounting system and functions (invoicing/purchase ledger/Vat returns) ensuring the accounts are ready for year end. Having previously worked within various departments in accounts and compliance within Essex County Council she has over twenty-five years’ experience. She also produces various statistics, producing debtor’s lists, and spread sheets assisting the company’s financial decisions. She has assisted at the shows and has gained a huge knowledge of the wedding industry through working at the company.

Julie Burniston, Editor, Absolute Bridal

Absolute Bridal’s Editor Julie Burniston is a respected Journalist and lover of all things wedding! Julie has been our Editor for many years, pulling together our flagship title from start to finish, interviewing our bridal couples for their real-life stories and bringing our readers the latest news and information from the wedding scene. Working closely with our art department, sales and suppliers, she ensures the magazine continues to go from strength to strength.

Jill Rowboatham, graphic designer

Our graphic designer Jill joined the team in early 2022 and has over 25 years’ experience as a designer working for national media companies. Working closely with the Editor and Sales Team, Jill designs all the features and many of the adverts for Absolute Bridal and is also involved in creating artwork for the Main Event Wedding Shows and the Essex Wedding Awards. Jill has a passion for magazine design and enjoys using her design talents working within the wedding industry. Jill recently re-designed Absolute Bridal to bring the brand up-to-date and give the magazine a more contemporary style to suits today’s bride.

Francesca Proctor - Administration Assistant

With many years of experience as a Personal Assistant & her understanding of the Wedding world, Francesca brings a wealth of knowledge and organizational expertise to our friendly team. Her excitement for joining our team is infectious, and her passion for the wedding industry is a perfect match for our company's mission. Francesca is dedicated to ensuring all our events are organised efficiently and all administration support.