THE wedding industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but one woman has managed to draw on all her experience and has got our trader of the week title sewn up.

Bex Lombard-Earl has been running her bridal business, Bexbrides, of Hurworth, near Darlington, for more than 11 years, and when the Covid pandemic hit earlier this year, the wedding industry ground to a halt.

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Bexbrides' best selling dress Picture:

But her passion, enthusiasm and individuality has enabled Bex to continue her work and adapt to the changes in wedding styles that we are beginning to see as a result of the current restrictions and social-distancing measures.

Bex said: “This whole thing has had a massive impact, but interest in bridal attire although not at a high, there is still interest and more and more brides are having to think of smaller and more intimate weddings, so too is there a change in what brides want to wear.

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Bex Lombard-Earl

“People are going for intimate, low-key events so are looking for something a bit less ‘traditional’. I’ve always catered for the more individual style or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. It’s pretty eclectic.

“I have been fascinated by vintage clothes and period styling since I was a child when my grandmother worked in a department store in Derby which reminded me of the TV comedy series ‘Are you being served’,” said Bex, who has won Dress Designer of the North-East several years running.

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A vintage look Picture:

“I’m passionate about reinventing and upcycling old wedding dresses rather than letting them go to waste, which is especially important today in our throwaway society. Recycling is so important and much more value for money – which is the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment.

“We are also known for our ‘save the day service’, whereby we alter and salvage internet disasters to enable brides to have their dream day at an affordable price.

“We hand-colour brides’ own material, in line with the current trend of ombre dresses, often after they have found something in a charity shop.

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An example of ombre, which is now becoming more and more popular

“As we offer a diverse selection of gowns, both new and vintage, we are constantly sourcing and buying samples from designers.”

Bex was initially in the interior design business, specialising in making amazing curtains. It was only after she made her mother-in-law’s and her own wedding dresses that she felt the need to take a change in direction. “We were also seeing more and more High Street stores selling soft furnishings, so I decided to open my own business,” she said.

The business has a space at Hurworth Grange, with a department store feel and a Paradise room, and in a “normal” year supports more than 130 brides.

The pandemic has also meant a change in the way that Bex promotes her business and during lockdown she launched a successful blog on her website to keep brides up to date with any developments.

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Bexbrides in Hurworth

“It started as thoughts about what was happening, and then I used it to keep in touch with my brides, and try to help any other brides looking for information about how their weddings might be affected, and looking for an alternative style to the ‘traditional big day’,” she said.

Her web presence, which includes Instagram, Facebook and now TikTok, has also brought in orders from abroad.

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All in the detail Picture:

She said: “Although things are challenging, we are now looking forward to seeing where the market takes us. There is nothing finer than contributing to the happiness of a bride’s special day, and the virus will not stop us doing that.

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The Northern Echo understands many firms are currently operating under challenging circumstances, but we hope to use Trader of the Week to support local businesses. To see your business featured, please email