A HAT shop owner is hoping to add another feather to her cap after being shortlisted in the English Wedding Awards.

Liz Devine Wright, of Simply Devine, Tadcaster, is in the frame for the regional 2022 wedding boutique and accessories supplier of the year and specialist wedding supplier categories. She previously won both in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The awards, which did not take place during 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, celebrate the best in the wedding industry; from photographers and make-up artists to venues and celebrants.

A spokesman said: “These awards are now recognised as the leading celebration for showcasing those that have demonstrated excellence in the industry.

“The aim is to acknowledge everyone in this sector that has shown skill, commitment and have the customer satisfaction as top priority in their business.”

Simply Devine which was forced to close as a non-essential shop during the pandemic first opened in 2014 to specialise in mother-of-the bride/groom hats.

Liz has also created her own collections and moved into wholesale as a supplier to boutiques and bridal wear.

Her business offers bridal hats, wedding hatinators and fascinators, with headwear for modern, second time and mature brides who don’t want a traditional veil and tiara.

She said: “Business for everyone in the wedding industry has been particularly tough. Wedding numbers were restricted and receptions were forbidden, so many couples either put off their fairy tale weddings or went to the register office with just very close family.

“Race meetings were also banned, so we lost our customers - those who love to dress up for special occasions, whether it be going to the races, or for mothers of the bride or groom.”

Customers started returning wards the end of 2021 as the wedding industry reopened.

“We have weathered this particular storm since we own our premises and stock outright and are completely debt free. Many other high street businesses have not been so lucky, with even large department stores disappearing,” said Liz whose business celebrates 18 years in February.

“Simply Devine also sells its own creations to other boutiques around the country, and as the pandemic hit, we offered to cancel their forward orders which would have been delivered in early 2020, since we understood how difficult it was going to be for other small businesses.

“Simply Devine has always offered online shopping, but in realising the extra potential during lockdown, we opened new outlets on some of the major online selling platforms, in addition to our own online presence.

“Our hats have been sent worldwide – to the USA, Dubai, Australia, Africa and to Europe, but there are vast untapped markets for our beautiful products, so we are hoping to reach a much wider online customer audience during 2022.”

The English Wedding Awards winners will be announced on February 21.