Wondering how bridal boutiques decide what to stock?  Amy Shearer joins Opus Couture at Harrogate Bridal Week for a peek behind the scenes

a woman in a wedding dress on left and three women taking a selfie on right

Left: With stunning Sottero gowns like these on offer, we were just glad it wasn’t us choosing! Right: Amy joined Sharon and Susan from Opus for a front row experience!

Be honest: before you started hunting for your dream dress, did you ever think about how a gown gets from the designer’s sketch pad to the rails of a boutique? I was at Harrogate Bridal Week recently (see my top picks here) where I felt like Alice entering Wonderland – except instead of white rabbits, all I could see were brilliantly beautiful white dresses.

Harrogate Bridal Week is a chance for boutiques and bridal shops across the UK and beyond to meet the designers and buy from them. During my trip scoping out what’s hot for 2024, I bumped into the Opus Couture dream team – owners and founders Sharon and husband Stewart and business manager Susan.

The trio had come down to Yorkshire to see the new Maggie Sottero collection, a stunning array of glitzy gowns and dazzling dresses to flatter every body shape, and to buy a selection to take back with them to West Kilbride.

Susan explained that Opus is one of Maggie Sottero’s selected stockists in the UK and that before she and the team visited the Aussie-born label’s catwalk show, they already had an idea of what they’d be purchasing from the collection for the boutique.

open airy room with dark pink velvet chairs and two large mirrors

Opus Couture’s gorgeous airy boutique in West Kilbride is ready and waiting for the new drop of dresses

After the runway show (the dresses were all so gorgeous, I was glad it wasn’t me deciding which ones to choose), the Opus trio had a chance to meet their Sottero representative and place an order for the gowns they wanted for 2024.

Seeing the dresses in person is a huge part of the bridal buying experience. It’s one thing looking at photos, but actually having the chance to see how the gowns sit on real-life bodies, how they move, and being able to touch the fabrics is such a crucial part of the business.

Sharon, Stewart and Susan were confident in the choices they’d made in advance, certain their brides (who’ll all be catered to, thanks to a variety of sample sizes being ordered) will adore the new collection as much as they do.

They did come away with a few wildcards too; it’s exactly the same as what happens when you think you know what you want to buy before you’ve even entered the boutique. The beauty of shopping in person is that you get up close and personal with the goods and you might fall in love with something completely and utterly different.

I’m looking forward to popping down to Opus to see the new dresses… and to see brides looking glamorous in them!

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