The Bridal Courtyard’s Annual Trip to Harrogate
At the Bridal Courtyard we love visiting trade shows and each year in September, the world of bridal comes together for the annual trade show that happens down at The Harrogate Convention Centre. During this time, many of the world’s top designers, suppliers of accessories and anyone who is anyone in the wedding industry come to Harrogate and showcase their latest products and designs. It is a fantastic event and as we love all things bridal, it really is a fun few days.
This year, we travelled down to Harrogate on Sunday evening to make sure that we could make the most of the Monday and Tuesday at the event. We planned who we wanted to visit, what we were looking for, and made sure that we could attend the catwalk shows while of course squeezing in a lunch or coffee break, but that doesn’t always go to plan. We listen very carefully to what our brides ask for when they come into the shop and with this in mind, we had a idea of the styles and designers we were looking for at Harrogate. We also used the opportunity to catch up with our current suppliers and chat about their upcoming plans for designs over the coming years.
Our first stop on arrival was the check in desk where we were given our show guide and name badges. This part is very exciting because before you step through the doors, you have no idea what delights will be in front of you. As usual, we were not disappointed. The lights, colours, sparkle, dresses, models and accessories were amazing to look at and the bustle of the crowds really created a magnificent atmosphere.
Try to imagine how you feel before you come in to try on some wedding dresses in store, we feel exactly the same at these trade shows, and Harrogate was no exception. We went for a walk through the halls, of which there are many, and took in as much as we could in terms of styles, cuts, materials and fabrics and before we knew it, it was time for the Catwalk Show. This is a great way to spot some of the upcoming trends, check out some new designers and to enjoy the drama that comes along with it. The designers really know how to create great catwalks and the models wore the gowns to perfection. Our personal favourites were Casablanca bridal whose dresses really. Overall, there was quite a clear trend heading towards the 1920’s, Gatsby style gowns. With lots of subtle sparkling detail and delicate, yet intricate lace patterns.
Another prominent feature were some plunging necklines, off the shoulder styles and simple, classic designs in satin and crepe. It would be impossible to pick out one specific dress to highlight because they really were all pretty spectacular.
We have been on the lookout for a new designer to bring to the store and with a few in mind, we went along to check out the styles and chat with the staff at the stands. We were ecstatic to be welcomed to Justin Alexander by the main man himself, and spent a good while chatting to him about the options available to us at The Bridal Courtyard, and looking at the gowns that would best suit the store, our brides, and our tastes. The Sweetheart collection really caught our eye and with over 100 dresses to choose from, it was extremely difficult to select gowns…we could easily have brought them all to the store for you to try. However, we have selected some absolutely sensational dresses from the collection and they will be a welcome addition to our rails. With the prices starting at around £700, these dresses will appeal to brides who are looking for a designer gown at a more affordable cost.
It was time to get back and have some much needed R&R by this point and as we discussed our plans for the next day, and reflected on the first day at Harrogate, the excitement and tiredness blended into one.
Tuesday was much more laid back and the show was a little quieter which was nice. This allowed us more time to saunter round the stands again and we took this opportunity to visit Casablanca Bridal, the designer who caught our eye on the catwalk. Seeing these gowns in person was even better than on the stage. The luxurious fabrics, sharp and edgy lines, and slightly vintage looking gowns were the perfect fit for us. It was exactly what we needed to complete our range in the store and we had no trouble at all choosing some more gowns to bring to you later in the year. Again, the difficulty was getting the number of gowns down without just saying ‘we will take them all’.
Finally, and last but by no means least, we went to visit our friends at Kenneth Winston. We have been stocking these gowns for a while now and really enjoy the opportunity to catch up with the staff and of course, Ken himself. It is brilliant being able to talk to him about how we find the gowns, what we like and don’t like, and being such a pleasant, cheerful and warm hearted man, he takes what we say on board and listens to our comments happily. We selected some showstoppers from here, as always, and left happy little campers.
We didn’t just look at the dresses, we have also selected some lovely headpieces and veils to bring in, some a little different from the norm which will attract the quirky brides, but will also compliment a number of our new dresses to perfection. It was an exhausting few days and it is great to be back at The Bridal Courtyard again, working with our brides and putting lots of smiles on faces. It really is the dream job.