£1 million boost for Harrogate district as Bridal Week returns to Harrogate Convention Centre

The district is in line for another economic boost after Harrogate Convention Centre tied the knot with a benchmark event for the bridal industry.

By Graham Chalmers
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 6:17 pm
Bridal Week will see more than 4,000 visitors and over 1,000 exhibitors, sales staff and models descend on Harrogate from September 11-13, 2022.

Bridal Week will see more than 4,000 visitors and over 1,000 exhibitors, sales staff and models descend on Harrogate from September 11-13, 2022.

The convention centre has signed up the event to return to the venue for the next four years, bringing an economic impact to the district of circa £1,200,000.

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It's only one in a string of successes for Harrogate Convention Centre since lockdown ended which in recent days has seen it secure another event.

The Flooring Show is tocement a 60-year legacy in Harrogate as it continues its contract at Harrogate Convention Centre until 2024 bringing an economic impact of circa £1,000,000 to the district.

The largest and longest established large-scale flooring show in the UK will brings more than 4,000 people to Harrogate in September across the three-day event. In excess of 3,000 buyers visit 250 brands, with 150 exhibitors bringing circa 1,000 staff to man the event.

As for the Bridal Week, it can boast a rich 35-year history and close relationship with Harrogate.

Wendy Adams, Director of Bridal Week at Ocean Media, said: “Harrogate truly is a market-leader. The event combines business and pleasure, and each year the industry takes over the town presenting the largest collection of bridal gowns in Northern Europe.”

More than 250 exhibitors showing 350 collections will exhibit from across the UK, the United States, Australia, Italy, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Poland and Canada; a truly international event.

Wendy, who has worked in the exhibition sector in Harrogate since the 1980s, said the event had grown from a cottage industry starting in Harrogate’s hotels before moving into the convention centre in 1995.

“It’s grown enormously since I’ve worked on it. I go to bridal shows all over the world in Chicago, New York, Milan, Barcelona, Dusseldorf –and they’ve all heard of Harrogate, because of the show.”

Wendy also hosts a sister show in Excel London every March as it was important for Ocean Media to have a more international presence within the capital, known for being the fashion capital of the world.

She said: “Our London show has grown particularly with international visitors, but Harrogate still has that reputation for being the main trade show in Bridal within the UK. Everybody just loves visiting Harrogate.

Wendy puts its success down to Harrogate Convention Centre and its central town location: “The facilities at other exhibition centre are brilliant but they are out of town and don’t have the atmosphere of Harrogate. A complaint we get is that there is nothing to do at night, and nobody can ever complain about things to do at night in Harrogate.”

The majority of visitors tend to be women aged 30 to 60 who own bridal boutiques.

Wendy said: “Our trade loves coming to Harrogate – it’s a beautiful spa town, with lots of parks and gardens, good shopping and an abundance of restaurants and bars for evening entertainment. Visitors love the environment of Harrogate and what it has to offer, and importantly feel safe moving around the town especially at night.”

The wedding industry is gearing up for its busiest year after two years of uncertainty for couples wanting to tie the knot during the pandemic.

Harrogate Convention Centre had to go completely dark as an events’ venue as it was redeployed by the Government as an NHS Nightingale Hospital. In September 2021, Bridal Week hosted its first event in the venue since it closed which was a huge success and brought business back into the town.

“Last year we didn’t think we’d get any overseas visitors but surprisingly about 9% were international. I think it was the desperation for a face-to-face event as there were very few shows in the whole of Europe. Harrogate was the first major bridal trade show throughout Europe so we still manage to attract some International visitors who were prepared to tackle the travel restrictions.”

Paula Lorimer, Director of Harrogate Convention Centre, said: “It’s tremendous news that this stalwart exhibition is so firmly embedded with our venue for years to come, and that there’s such a strong bounce back for exhibitions and live events.

"The financial impact on our hotels, bars, restaurants and retail businesses is significant after the tourist season ends in summer. Bridal Week takes the name of Harrogate all over the world as a destination for business and leisure.”