This year’s Wedding Ideas Awards includes a very special category – Bride of the Year. We’ve received hundreds of nominations from grooms, mums, friends and even brides themselves revealing why they deserve the title, Bride of the Year.

The Wedding Ideas team have poured over the stories – some heartbreaking, some uplifting – and whittled it down to our top three nominees. The winner will be revealed live at the Wedding Ideas Awards ceremony on 11th January. You can watch all the action live on the Wedding Ideas website from 7pm.

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Claire Lewis

“This lady has overcome so much this year,” says Claire’s nominee.

“Her mum is very poorly and may not see her get married. To keep her mind occupied she has thrown herself into wedding planning and she set up a Facebook group called Bride to be class of 2013, where brides-to-be can can share ideas, offer support and so on. The group has almost 300 members and she has done so well in running it.”

Maria Jeffery

“I never ever thought I would be a bride as I nearly died in an horrific car accident 5 years ago,” says Maria in her submission.

“I was so excited about having the chance to still do all those things I dreamed about as a little girl but I never thought I would meet my Prince Charming and have that magical day.

After a series of horrible things happening in my life following the accident (the death of my nephew, my mother being diagnosed with cancer), I didn’t understand why I had survived when all I was getting was tragedy and grief. And then the fairytale happened.

Nicholas, the love of my life, was living in the flat above mine and we started a whirlwind romance. He proposed at Notre Dame last year and for once I feel like I can be the princess in the fairytale. I feel very sad to nominate myself but at the same time, it was an opportunity to share my story.”

Naomi Thomas

“While battling cancer herself, Naomi used her own wedding day to launch a very special charity called The Wedding Wishing Well Foundation,” says Naomi’s nominee.

“The charity has one special purpose – to organise and fund weddings for terminally ill people. She takes care of all the fundraising to ensure that most costs are covered, working with generous wedding suppliers who kindly donate their services for free. She has built up a list of patrons including Mary King, silver medalist in the 2012 Olympics.

More about the 2012 winner…

Last year’s Special Recognition Award went to another amazing real bride, Emma Waring from Military Wedding Discounts.

Our brave winner started her business after being affected by near a tragedy in the run-up to her own big day. Just a few weeks before her wedding she learnt that her best man had been injured by an IED attack, while serving with the army in Afghanistan. Thankfully he made a full recovery and was able to make it to the wedding but this traumatic experience was incentive enough for this woman to start her own website, Military Wedding Discounts, to give service men and women a helping hand when planning their big days.

With money tight and planning often taking place while a loved one is overseas, these small discounts really help the brides – and with a high percentage of all advertising revenue being donated to Help For Heroes, it means this worthwhile charity is benefiting, too. And of course it provides a great promotional opportunity for wedding businesses around the country.

Read more about Emma’s work at Military Wedding Discounts and see Emma’s reaction when she received her award last year.

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