Addingham's Mark Gregory is heading for the national finals of the Wedding Industry Awards after picking up an award at the Yorkshire & North East regional final.
Mark, who also presents a weekly Sunday afternoon show on Rombalds Radio, won the regional award for 'Special Touch' at the Yorkshire and the North East Regional Final at the Vermont Hotel in Newcastle last week.
It comes just months after Mark picked up the 'Professional Services Business of the Year' award at the 2023 Ilkley Business Awards for his 'dedication towards the moments that matter most to us'.
Mark's business - Mark Your Occasion - offers services for various events, including weddings, funerals, birthday parties, corporate dos and more, and at weddings Mark has provided a range of services including writing and delivering the ceremonies as a celebrant; providing entertainment in the form of live music, game shows, and quizzes; hosting and toasting the event as a master of ceremonies and toastmaster; and even writing bespoke poetry for couples who wish to have their love story told in a truly unique way.
The Wedding Industry Awards are the only client-voted regional and national awards in the wedding industry and are judged by more than a hundred industry experts.
Having launched his business in September 2020, following the completion of his training as a celebrant throughout the Covid lockdown, Mark had previously entered the awards twice, in 2022 and 2023, with limited success.
Mark says: "Businesses can choose which category they're entered into, and the first year I entered, I was in the 'Celebrant' category. Much of the work I was doing was focused around being a wedding celebrant, so it was the most fitting category for me at the time. That year, I won the 'Highly Commended' Award, which was extremely unexpected given how young my business was at the time."
"In 2023, I entered both the Celebrant and Live Music Act categories, as I had begun to take on just as many weddings as a singer as I was doing as a celebrant. But I didn't win anything in either category."
"This year I had been doing even more than just conducting ceremonies and providing live music, so I felt that both of those categories were too limiting – neither of them would allow me to showcase my business in its entirety. The quizzes, MCing, game shows, and poems that had made my couples so happy over the past year would have been completely overlooked, so I felt I needed to change it up."
Mark felt 'Special Touch' category was a good fit for him, and it proved to be true, as he overcame competition from five other businesses within Yorkshire and the North East to claim the regional prize. After the event, during a post-awards interview, Mark spoke about how important it is to him that the awards are voted for by clients:
"It's so important that [what I do] is right for the couple," he said. "And the fact that they're the ones that have helped me to win this, it means that all the work that I've done over the past year has paid off, because I've made them happy, and that's the main thing, for me."
The national awards night takes place on 24th January in London.