The Harrogate Bridal Show – The next big thing… was also the first big thing
It started with the Harrogate Fashion Fair. In the early 1980s, exhibition house Brintex pulled in exhibitors from across the world who showed their latest wares in the halls, the hotels, in marquees and in restaurants. There was little bridal in the mix – just Margaret Lee, Ellis and Hilary Morgan.
In 1983, six companies broke away from the main show and set up business in the basement of the George (now the swimming pool) and Jim Monk of Margaret Lee took an order from Biento Madame in Belfast worth £12,000!
One year later, bridal became something of an independent force, moving to the Swan Hotel, where Conference Manager, one Wendy Hopkins (later to become Adams) was charged with building the business; Roger Witherick, publisher of the then Wedding & Home, produced a show guide.
The show grew fast, taking over the Crown. The fashion fair moved to the NEC and bridal had its home – and became the industry focal point, moving later, under the ownership of RAS Group, into the Harrogate Exhibition Centre to improve the buying experience of attending retailers.
And they came from far and wide to the twice yearly show organised by the then independent conference and event director, Wendy Adams, who has been responsible in no small way for the success of what was to become BBEH. Today, under the ownership of Ocean Media and renamed the Harrogate Bridal Show, Wendy ensures this event continues to lead the way.
Staged in the magnificent Royal Hall Theatre. The Bridal Preview (Sunday 8 September 2.30pm and 6.30pm;Monday 9 September 12.30pm and 4.30pm) and Designer Preview (Sunday 8 September 4.30pm and Monday 9 September 2.30 pm and 6pm) feature top collections including Dando London, Victoria Kay, Eliza & Ethan, Allure, Ladybird, Goya, Atelier Sposa, Ellis Bridals, Casablanca and Randy Fenoli.
The Bridal Buyer Awards
Undoubtedly one of the biggest Awards schemes in the industry, this plush event is attended by hundreds as it celebrates talent and recognises industry leaders. This year it will be held on Monday 9 September at the Convention Centre. Get out your dancing shoes and enjoy!
Eat and drink
• Take a bit of time out and enjoy the free gin happy hour in the Posh Gin Bar, sponsored by Peter Posh
• There’ll be Prosecco and eats throughout the day in the Champagne Bar
• In the Terrace Café you’ll be served delicious salads and hot dishes with a tasty Moroccan twist.
What to expect in September
• 350 collections – key brands include Morilee, Ronald Joyce, Catherine Parry, Maggie Sottero, Essense, Mark Lesley, Special Day, Romantica of Devon, Enzoani, Dando London, Allure, Demetrios, Modeca, Randy Fenoli, Mon Cheri, Sophia Tolli.
• First timers – names to watch out for… Madi Lane, Windsor Jewellery, Freed of London, Sposa, Kiss me Kate, Selestia, Posy & Pearl
• Key returners – welcome back to Ian Stuart and Elbeth Gillis
Where and when:
8-10th September 2019
Harrogate Convention Centre