Buying wedding dresses…..bridal shop style!

When we first started our store waaaaay back in 2002 we were so excited to finally go the the bridal mecca that is the trade only British Bridal Exhibition Harrogate and become official “bridal buyers!” We have to say that nothing could have prepared us for the sheer amount of dresses available and the phrase “kid in a sweet shop” could never have been more apt! There were dresses as far as the eye could see and it is actually rediculously overwhelming!!! We often reminisce about that first buying trip as we literally ran through the halls, choosing so many dresses that we couldn’t remember any of them!!  You will be pleased to here after 15 years of visiting the buying fairs we no longer run anywhere!!! It is all a lot calmer and we now agonize over which dresses to choose to feature in our store (most of which is done over a cup of tea, obviously!) It is really really hard to choose which dresses to have, and you are limited as your shop only has a certain amount of space so trying to predict the future is another skill a bridal shop owner needs to possess!


One of the biggest myths about our industry is that we are given all of the sample dresses…..oh if only that were true, but nope we all have to BUY every single item we sell in our shops! We usually comment that we could buy a house if the vendor would accept wedding dresses in payment we have so many. This another reason why choosing styles is painstaking as you are handing your hard earned cash over hoping that your brides will love it! There is also always one dress you choose not to have for one reason or another and of course the “Murphys’ Law” kicks in that it becomes the must have dress of the season!


Harrogate itself is known for many reasons but the one thing everyone asks us is “did you go to Betty’s?” It honestly took us a good 5 years to get the time to go and now we make the time to go as we do like a good cup of tea! Although last year, (being common as we are) we forgot it was proper tea leaves and didn’t use the strainer!!! 😦  By nipping out of the exhibition halls to Betty’s it gives us a chance to clear our heads and focus on the dresses we are after and not just having everything because they are all soooooo pretty!!!

The show also brings together all of the designers and the shops from all over the world as well as the UK. Every year we see the same faces from shops across the country and although we might have a chat throughout the year, there is nothing better than a good old catch up face to face!

So what is on our “to do” list for this years BBEH show?

  1. Tea at Bettys (get the most important thing done first!)
  2. Have a good catch up with our fabulous designers and suppliers and our other friends with stores!
  3. Make the most of the free Sarnies as we have been nominated by 2 of our suppliers for VIP status, which basically means a buffet lunch and tea/coffee! We did as if we got double as we were nominated twice but apparently not!
  4. Have tea at our favourite Italian resaturant. We have been coming here for years and we always have the same thing….lasagne. We always intend on being adventurous but we are scared we will miss our only opportunity in the year to eat it!
  5. We suppose we had also better make the time to look at dresses and accessories…seen as that is why we are here!

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