A trade fair fit for a bride

Emma McVey with some of the MacDuggal range. (12031303AM1)

Emma McVey with some of the MacDuggal range. (12031303AM1)

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A BRIDAL fair in Harrogate has been attracting visitors from around the world.

The British Bridal Exhibition, held at the Harrogate International Centre this week from Sunday until Tuesday, included exhibitors from the US, models from Europe and buyers from around the globe.

Camilla Iwaniak adjusts a fascinator at the bridal fair. (12031303AM6)

Camilla Iwaniak adjusts a fascinator at the bridal fair. (12031303AM6)

Collections of bridalwear, formal menswear, accessories and occasionwear showcased some of the UK’s top designers and manufacturers alongside leading international names.

Sami Haleen, from the brand MacDuggal, who had come over from Chicago for five days and was staying at the Majestic, told the Advertiser: “This is the second home for our collection.

“We are warmly welcomed here and we love it.

“We have done this for three years now. We like the venue and the area, though we don’t have a lot of time to do anything but work while we’re here, and everything closes a little early.

Models Stephanie Shemeld, left, and Amanda Dabrowski at the bridal fair. (12031303AM4)

Models Stephanie Shemeld, left, and Amanda Dabrowski at the bridal fair. (12031303AM4)

“But we love to walk in the gardens and we’ve been to the bar and grill and to Joe Rigatoni’s, which is amazing.”

Derek Bayford, the owner and director of Southern Fashion Imports, has been coming to the town from London twice a year for seven years.

He said: “Harrogate is an amazing place and it’s a beautiful location. We’ve been to the Harrogate Brasserie, Quantro, Rigatoni’s, and we’re staying at the White Hart.”

He said the bridal fair was a chance to showcase its dresses – including the current Fall 2012 collection – see its existing retailers and form new links.

Reporter Ruby Kitchen with Andrew Manby, director of Joe Manby Exhibition Services. (12031303AM7)

Reporter Ruby Kitchen with Andrew Manby, director of Joe Manby Exhibition Services. (12031303AM7)

“It’s been very good, we always leave happy,” Mr Bayford said.

“The last few years have been quiet because of the recession – this year has been the same – but it’s hopefully turning a corner.”

Camilla Iwaniak, who came over from France for the exhibition, said: “The town is very friendly, it’s very nice to spend time here after the show.”

“Our favourite restaurant is Casa Romana and we always stay at the Acorn Lodge. We’ve been coming twice a year for nine years.

Andrew Manby, director of Joe Manby Exhibition Services. (12031303AM7)

Andrew Manby, director of Joe Manby Exhibition Services. (12031303AM7)

“We love it so we always come back.

“We meet our customers here – we always talk on the phone and through email but to meet them and have a chat is much more.”

Andrew Manby, director of Joe Manby Exhibition Services, explained why the town attracted conferences: “Harrogate is a destination sell - the key factor for Harrogate is the environment that it’s in.

“We are in the centre of the town and, when the exhibition is on, it almost dominates the town centre.

“Here, they are within minutes of all the restaurants and bars, they are at the centre of eveything. Bearing in mind that this is the smaller of the two exhibitions, it must be one of the biggest events at the Harrogate International Centre.

“The home and gift show is in July, the nursery show is coming up and the Christmas gift show – Harrogate has quite a diverse number of shows. We’ve got the big ones but also the smaller ones and they’ll bring something to the town.

“That mix is key - once you’ve got it you want to nurture it.”