Bride of the Year finds its match

Lauren Plato (left) won the 2017 Bride of the Year competition with Bek Eade and Leonie Falconer finishing second and third, respectively.

The new organisers of the Central Southland Bride of the Year are excited to take on the popular event.

After hosting the Bride of the Year competition for the past 35 years, the Central Southland Provincial Rural Women's group put the call out to find a new to team take over the ceremony. The call was answered by three mums in the central Southland community: Hannah Hawkins, Zephyr Dougan and Beverley Lindsay.

Mrs Hawkins said they were well into the planning process, with the previous organisers providing a guiding hand throughout.

"This is all very new to us, we're just a group of mums that enjoy weddings. We decided to take it on as something extra, be part of the community a bit more.

"The Rural Women's group have been a really big help, they handed over all their information, explained how it all works," she said.

The trio has already organised all of the prizes for the brides and the decorations, but are still on the lookout for entertainment.

This year the format would be the same, but the winners would be decided by a panel of judges, she said.

"Because they (the crowd) did voting last year, there will be a People's Choice award, so they still get to be part of it."

Mrs Hawkins said this year they would keep it quite similar to previous years, but had big plans for next year. 

"Next year we're planning on revamping it completely. We're hoping to look at the wearable arts side of it, and we want to have a ball where people can wear their wedding dresses again. We want to try and reach a wider audience, keep it fresh and modern."

Entries were still coming in as wedding season was still under way, but the number of entries would likely be capped at 30, she said. The bridesmaids competition will still be a feature of the event too.

Mrs Hawkins said she thought the prizes would be quite a draw card for entries, with the first prize being two nights' accommodation for two at Arran Motel, a Southern Discoveries Cruise for two and a Fat Duck meal voucher. The People's Choice award will be a night's accommodation at La Riviera Guest House, a meal voucher for the Beachhouse Restaurant and Orchard Cottage Beauty voucher.

"There's been a lot of generosity from the Winton community and surrounding community. The support has been quite phenomenal really; they're really generous and happy to get on board."

Mrs Hawkins said raffles would be held during the night too with money raised going towards a St John donation.

This year's event is being held on Monday, March 19 at the Winton Memorial Hall, starting at 7.30pm.

Presale tickets are now available at the Big White Shop, entry costs $15 for adults and $5 for children.

For further information check out the Central Southland Bride of the Year 2018 Facebook page.


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