HARROGATE, England, March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Almost 600 people crammed into the Harrogate International Centre for Europe's leading bridal awards ceremony on Monday evening (9 March). And, amidst the speeches, the big screens, the razzamatazz and after-show celebrations, 14 deserved winners were announced.

The awards were presented by TV and radio personality Fred MacAulay, alongside the editor of Bridal Buyer magazine, Susi Rogol. This year's event was the biggest and best yet, with a 15% increase in attendance over last year, said Susi.

The recession may be hitting some parts of the UK economy but Britain's bridal sector is still holding up well. And that, in my view, is because of the wealth of talent and creativity it displays - in my view the UK still leads the world on bridal fashion.

An innovation for 2009 was the introduction of a new award for the Best Wedding Dress of the year. The award, sponsored by Liza Designs, was won by Maggie Sottero, for a wonderful dress called 'Ireland'. More than 25,000 visitors to the National Wedding Shows in London and at the NEC voted for this dress, ahead of the five others that were shortlisted.

The Best British Bridal Designer award, sponsored by Elizabeth Dickens, went to Suzanne Neville, and the hotly-contested Best Student Designer award, sponsored by Ian Stuart Bride, went to Laura Kenyon of Hull College - chosen from more than 300 initial entrants.

The Best Bridal Retailer of the year trophy (sponsored by The Scottish Wedding Directory) was scooped by Mamfii Bridal from Knaphill in Surrey, and the Best Groomswear Retailer trophy (sponsored by Masterhand) went to Tux 'n' Tails, London. The award for the Best New Bridal Retailer (sponsored by Wedding Ideas magazine) went to The Bridal Gallery Group from the North West of England.

The Confetti Box, from Eccles, won the award for the Best Retail Display, sponsored by Propress Steamers, and the Best Retail Bridal Website trophy (sponsored by confetti.co.uk) was awarded to Kenilworth-based Quello Bride.

Ireland's Wedding Journal sponsored the award for the Best Bridalwear Manufacturer, and this trophy was won by Benjamin Roberts. The Best Groomswear Manufacturer/Supplier award, sponsored by Ebony Rose, was won by Cameron Ross.

When it came to the bridesmaids, Dessy took the trophy for the Best Bridesmaid Collection, sponsored by hitched.co.uk. And the Best Occasionwear award, sponsored by Sincerity, went to John Charles.

The Headress Designer of the Year award, sponsored by Rainbow, was won by Liza Designs. And the Best Bridal Innovation trophy, sponsored by Crystallised Swarovski Elements, was secured by Kellie Li of Ellie K.

The annual Bridal Buyer Awards are one of the main features of the bridal industry calendar and are held during the British Bridal Exhibition, held in Harrogate every March. The exhibition attracts all the major bridal industry suppliers and manufacturers, and thousands of people involved in bridal retailing in the UK and further afield.

For more information visit the awards website - http://www.bridalbuyerawards.com or call Ted Stevens on +44(0)7860-336087

For more information call Ted Stevens on +44(0)7860-336087