On Monday 12th June, the region’s leading wedding businesses descended upon Mitton Hall to discover who were the WINNERS of the 2017/18 Great Northern Wedding Awards. We had several businesses who were hoping to win big for the third year in a row – with some new finalists snapping at their heels!
Our brides & grooms have once again nominated and voted in record numbers which means the voting has been incredibly competitive across the board. And this year we have taken the opportunity to introduce 8 new business-led categories, all selected by the Little White Books team following the hundreds of service reviews submitted by our voting couples during the original nomination process.
So this, our third Awards, will span TWO YEARS as next year (2018) we’re taking a break. So your winners will retain their crowns for two years before we return; refreshed and raring to go with a more comprehensive Wedding Awards in 2019.
Search the hashtag #GNWA2017 across all social media platforms to see the Awards journey for our finalists. And without further ado… we announce our 2017/18 Great Northern Wedding Awards WINNERS and Highly Commended businesses:
BEST BRIDALWEAR RETAILER
Amelias Bridal Boutique – WINNER
Bridalwear by Emma Louise – Highly Commended
Lulu Browns Bridal Boutique – Highly Commended
The Bridal Lounge of Accrington
The Dressing Room of Garstang
BEST CAKE COMPANY
Finch Bakery – WINNER
Lisa Marie Cakes – Highly Commended
The Wedding Cake Company – Highly Commended
BEST ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY
Alex Birtwell – Highly Commended
Brothers of Swing
DFC – WINNER
AM Flowers – Highly Commended
Flowers with Passion
Red Floral Architecture – WINNER
The Flower Shop Clitheroe – Highly Commended
The Rose Boutique
BEST HAIR STYLIST
Bridal Hair by Sam Gateley – WINNER
Escape Hair Salon
Nala and Knot – Highly Commended
Wed-locks by Mairead – Highly Commended
BEST MAKEUP ARTIST
Beauty by Laura Jane – Highly Commended
Kerry Baker MUA – WINNER
Leanne Jackson – Highly Commended
Nala and Knot
BEST MALE PHOTOGRAPHER
Ashton Photography – Highly Commended
Mark Tattersall Photography
Mick Cookson Photography – WINNER
Peter Anslow Photography
BEST FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER
5 Little Boys Photography
Jules Fortune Photography
Kerry Woods Photography – WINNER
Petal & Blush Artistry
Teresa C Photography – Highly Commended
BEST STATIONERY COMPANY
Brides Little Helper – WINNER
Handmade by Hannah
I Do Designs
T For Two – Highly Commended
BEST TRANSPORT COMPANY
Broughton Wedding Cars
Churchtown Wedding Cars
Horgans Wedding Cars
Malvern Wedding Cars – Highly Commended
The Lovebus Wedding Company – WINNER
BEST VENUE STYLIST
AM Flowers – Highly Commended
Beautifully Vintage – Highly Commended
Creative Cover Hire – WINNER
Pure Elegance Weddings and Events
Abbey Videos – WINNER
Big Bear Wedding Films
In Love Wedding Films – Highly Commended
Marry Me Films – Highly Commended
BEST WEDDING VENUE with accommodation
Beeston Manor – Highly Commended
Eaves Hall – Highly Commended
Mitton Hall – WINNER
BEST WEDDING VENUE without accommodation
Bashall Barn – Highly Commended
Bolton School – Highly Commended
Rivington Barn – WINNER
The Wellbeing Farm
Best individual Business
Many people in our industry work almost completely alone, from their homes and the only support they receive is from their family and friends. Whereas it can be great because you’ve not got staff to worry about and manage it can be lonely and every role becomes your own – creator, maker, accountant, marketer, cleaner – the list goes on.
There were many deserving candidates for this award. The winner we have chosen is an absolute force to be reckoned with. Not only is she a busy Mother of 3 she has successfully transitioned from making beautiful products for a supermarket chain to creating her own unique brand. Fiercely competitive, she pushes herself to compete in a crowded market and in the niche area of her focus we believe there is no one more deserving in our region.
The 2017/18 award for Best Individual Business goes to Polka Pops
Best Independent Business
How do we classify an Independent Business? To us this means a business that competes with national chains and completely holds their own without a corporate machine behind them to provide support. A business that can go head-to-head with wealthy, long-established brands and carve their own path to success.
The winner of this award has enjoyed sustained, spectacular success. Competing on the biggest national stage within our industry and bringing home the prize to the North West. A business who holds its core, family-lead beliefs dear, always stays true to their brand and delivers an impeccable service to Little White Books brides and grooms.
The 2017/18 award for Best Independent Business goes to Ashfield House
Best Retail Team
Retail presents a huge challenge in our industry. The pressures of rent, rates, maintenance, staff training and management and stock control can be overwhelming, especially in our transient market where brand and customer loyalty rarely applies. Coping with these business pressures and providing a beautiful retail environment is not at all easy and our hats are doffed to anyone who maintains a successful retail business.
We consulted our Brides and Grooms and many businesses we worked with could have taken this prize. The winner has been connected to this business for many years and took the big step to buy in and take all of the responsibility on her own shoulders, giving a fresh injection of enthusiasm with their customers at the heart of all that they do.
The 2017/18 award for Best Retail team goes to The Bridal Lounge of Accrington
Best Customer Service
Another hotly contested category! So many of the businesses we work with provide incredible customer service, so of all of the awards this is the one we had to spend the most time researching. Ploughing through countless Facebook reviews and collating feedback from couples took hours but it was so lovely to see how much our suppliers are valued.
The winners of this award are a family affair – a team of two sisters ably supported by their family, one of which sports the very finest beard in all of Wigan. They work long hours in their shop, are seemingly always on social media answering questions (and posting comedy relief!) and at every wedding show they’re surrounded by masses of couples who all want their creative skills, always delivered with a smile.
The 2017/18 award for Best Customer Service goes to AM Flowers
Social Media Superstars
We all know how crucial Social Media is for connecting with wedding planning couples. It’s vital to show products and services online in an easy, fun, accessible way that inspires and engages. Many of you do this brilliantly, but for us there is one stand-out leader in this field.
We absolutely love the way the winners of this category forge their own path on Social Media. Never afraid to stand up for their principles, always posting engaging and relevant content they consistently remain authentic to their brand personality. There are not many businesses who can post on Instagram 12 times each day (yes, we’ve counted and that’s the average!) and receive such high levels of engagement. Absolutely fearless, and they make us want their products on a daily basis.
The 2017/18 Social Media Superstars award goes to Finch Bakery
Most Innovative Business
Innovation requires a brave, entrepreneurial risk-taking mindset. Innovate or die goes the famous quote. Change and self-evaluation is never easy and it takes deep rooted passion in your business and confidence in the creative capabilities of your business and team. It takes strength to be the innovator, to be the person who “goes there” first, creating the trends for other businesses to follow and that customers want to see.
The winners of this award never stop looking for new ways to grow their brand and business. Forever fresh, forever striving to implement new products and features that delight wedding planning couples. And every change they make is just oh-so-pretty and achingly cool.
The 2017/18 award for Most Innovative Business goes to Ashfield House
Best Events Team
When we surveyed LWB couples last year about why they chose their wedding venue the overwhelming majority replied “Because of the staff”. A common theme amongst the acres of feedback we received was you can have the most beautiful, spectacular venue in the world but without the right staff it’s just a shell – it’s the people at the venue who make the magic happen. All of the venues here today and who we work with strive to provide incredible service, so this was another award that took hours of research and thought.
We settled on the eventual winners because every piece of feedback in our survey was exemplary. Every comment was glowing. To quote just one bride “We loved the venue, but it was when I sat down with the wedding co-ordinators that I felt the feelings. I knew I couldn’t get married anywhere else.”
The winning team work brilliantly together but it’s more than that – there’s genuine friendship, respect and a team work ethic that makes them very worthy winners of this award.
The 2017/18 award for Best Events Team goes to The Dreamakers at James’ Places
Best New Business
According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. Scary statistics indeed. To start your own business takes guts, determination and firm belief in your own abilities to make your business buck the current trend.
There have been several new business launched in the last 18 months who have done brilliantly, but none have made the massive impact that the winner of this award has achieved. You simply can’t miss her. She’s left no wedding hashtag unused. She’s kept us all entertained and intrigued with her savvy social media skills, beautiful products and networking like a woman possessed. From magazine covers to a new boutique to her own super-fabulous wedding day we’ve seen her journey and we’ve enjoyed every moment. Today the Ribble Valley and the North West – who knows what tomorrow will bring!
The winner of the 2017/18 Best New Business award goes to Kimberley Anne Bridal Boutique
Our SPECIAL THANKS goes to the Dollz Events for providing our Flower Wall backdrop and Giant Balloons; Christopher Lewis Photographer for being our Official Awards Photographer, our Host DJ Ben from The Party Project and our venue hosts, Mitton Hall.
CONGRATULATIONS to ALL our finalists!