AFTER 20 years of supplying brides with their dream wedding dress, it's Leanne Hamilton's turn to achieve her dream.
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For as long as she can remember, the Australian Bridal Industry Association (ABIA) has been the pinnacle of the industry, and after seven years of bronze and silver awards Ms Hamilton got the gold.
Securing an ABIA award has been a dream come true for the Bathurst wedding gown designer, after being named best bridal couture designer in NSW.
While Ms Hamilton has multiple awards to her name, this one was a very special addition to her collection.
"Definitely more sentimental I think, because the ABIA have been part of the bridal industry for such a long time and they have such a prestigious name," she said.
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"So to be a member with them is really high but to be pulling top five, top three and a win is such a high accolade to have achieved and something I'm so very proud of."
This year marked the 25th ABIA awards ceremony, the largest wedding industry awards in Australia recognising the best of the best wedding vendors.
From floral designers, to venues, cake makers, hair and beauty services and musicians, this year saw 293 finalists shortlisted between all 37 categories.
The winners are selected based on ratings and reviews from newlyweds, focusing on quality of product, quality of service, attitude of staff and overall value.
Ms Hamilton prides herself on giving 100 per cent to each and every client, so to be acknowledged for this at such a high level was very exciting.
"It is very sweet to win something when I'm a sole trader and happily working in Bathurst and loving the girls I get to deal with everyday," she said.
"It's heartwarming to know that you don't have to be based in the big cities to be taking out big awards."
While COVID hit the wedding industry hard, like most, Ms Hamilton made the most of a tough situation and worked hard on her own line.
She now has almost 40 designs in her label and is very proud of the year she's had following the height of the COVID pandemic.
"I'm lucky enough to say that this year I've won three of the top four awards in the state that are available for a bridal designer to win," Ms Hamilton said.
"It's been a great year especially coming off COVID, as everybody is aware it really messed around the wedding industry and life in general.
"To be coming out of that and having such a successful year, especially with the awards I've been able to win, is pretty outstanding."
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