Tadcaster hat shop Simply Devine is head and shoulders above the rest – again.  Liz Devine-Wright has taken the overall titles of Specialist Wedding Supplier of the Year and Wedding Boutique & Accessories Supplier of the Year in the English Wedding Awards 2022.

Liz collected her two trophies at a ceremony held in the Mercure Piccadilly Manchester Hotel.  This is the fourth win for Liz at the English Wedding Awards, as she took the overall titles after winning the Yorkshire regional heats, beating competition from suppliers from the North East and North West.

She has previously won a number of the awards at the events in recent years, but this year’s final came on the anniversary of the opening of her Simply Devine shop 18 years ago.

Another reason to celebrate – 18 years in business

Said Liz: “It’s double celebrations for us after what has been a very difficult two years for all of us servicing the wedding industry.  Government regulations forcing us to close, and heavy restrictions on wedding guest numbers, coupled with race meeting closures has severely impacted our business and the hospitality and wedding industries.

“Fortunately, we have come through this and are celebrating our wins and our milestone of completing 18 years in business.

A spokesman for the English Wedding Awards said: “The winners represent the industry’s gold standard that work tirelessly to meet the demands of the couples and their guests.

“The Awards showcase some of the best wedding specialists that operate in the industry, whose excellence and commitment brought them at the forefront of the industry.”

Liz with her supporters at the English Wedding Awards. L-R Trish Thompson, Karen Smith, Ruth Thompson and Leeann Thompson

Although the shop may have been closed for many months during the past two years, Liz has not been resting on her laurels.  As online shopping increased during lockdowns, she has planned to launch her collection on major online platforms – other than the Simply Devine website.  In preparation for this, she has devised a special security tag, allowing customers to try on the hats and fascinators to match colour and style, but once cut off, cannot be returned. 

This was in response to reports by Rebound and KPMG that the cost to retailers of returned (and often worn) goods cost retailers on average £20 each, and £7 billion a year to the industry.

“If customers are not sure of colour we ask them to send us a bobbin of cotton and we will find the best match, or even dye raw materials to match, if we have the time.

“It is this level of customer service which I believe have helped us to win awards and stay in business during these very difficult times;” said Liz.

The shop has also been shortlisted in the BizBubble best biz of the high street business awards, with announcements due shortly.