A MIDDLEWICH wedding dress specialist has been given the fiery approval of a former Dragons Den star.

Winning awards is nothing new for Willow Bridal Boutique, but online recognition by Theo Paphitis has been a real shot in the arm as the business looks to a brighter, post-pandemic, future.

The entrepreneur chose the boutqiue as one of his six weekly 'Small Business Sunday' winners, retweeting the news to his 500,000 followers on Twitter.

It was the second token of recognition in the space of ten days for the shop, after winning 'Highly Commended' status at the prestigious Wedding Industry Awards.

Northwich Guardian:

Delight for Helen as Willow Bridal scoops the award

Owner Helen Williams said she was delighted to received the double honour.

"We've never applied for the Wedding Industry Awards before, so we threw everything at it," she said.

"This particular award isn't just industry-led, it's also led by brides.

"We'd been left hundreds of reviews by brides who had visited us in the store.

"We were happy to be nominated so to win was just phenominal, especially after having such a rough couple of years because of Covid.

"With regards to Theo Paphitis, we'd applied a few times in the past, but it didn't quite happen.

"But this time, we put a Tweet out about how our brides create their own aisle style and get to look fabulous.

"I was at the shop on the Sunday night doing fittings and all of a sudden my phone started to go crackers.

"The beauty of getting that one is the business support you get and  there's only ever been one other bridal shop in the country that has won it."

Northwich Guardian:

Helen Williams of Willow Bridal Boutique after winning at the Wedding Industry Awards

The pandemic had a massive impact on the wedding industry and in total, Helen thinks she lost a total of around nine months of business, but is now as hopeful as ever about the future.

She added: "For us to win awards and to know brides still believe in us after all this time is amazing.

"It was heartbreaking to see so many brides have to cancel their weddings, sometimes three or four times.

"In some cases, we've had some of the dresses in store for the past three years, so it's lovely to finally see them getting married, wear their dress and have fun again."