TWO wedding venues in the Staffordshire Moorlands have come out tops in regional heats of a contest – and one has won the national accolade for being the best venue in the country to tie the knot at.
The Ashes, in Endon, has not only been announced as the Best Wedding Venue in the West Midlands region for the second year running, but also won the same title nationally.
Meanwhile, under 10 miles away, Heaton House Farm in Rushton Spencer, near Leek, has won the same title for the North West region.
Management from both venues attended an Oscar style ceremony at The Bloomsbury Ballroom in London on Wednesday, January 15, where the winners were announced for this year's Wedding Industry Awards.
Ben and Sarah Reeves acquired The Ashes, which dates back to 1560, in 2006 and spent two years restoring the Grade II-listed barns at the former farm into a wedding venue. The first wedding was held in the Spring of 2008. They have since also restored the Grade II*-listed house for their family of three children, with another on the way.
Over the years they have achieved various awards, initially for the restoration work on the property and more recently Banqueting Awards from The Taste of Staffordshire.
Employing more than 20 local people, Ben and Sarah said they feel honoured to have won the regional award for Best Wedding Venue two years in a row, and say they are still on cloud nine after winning the national accolade.
Ben said: "The regional awards are based solely on what our past brides and grooms think of us, so to get as many votes as we did is amazing."
On winning the national award, he added: "It was very emotional; the competition was very high and to be voted the Best Wedding Venue against all wedding venues is fantastic.
"We feel we offer the perfect setting with amazing but discrete service; we have a full-time Events Teams with our team of Event Managers available every step of the way.
"We also have a full-time Restoration Team including a full-time joiner ensuring the property is in tip top condition at all times.
"Our life is weddings, and our home is our dream wedding venue.
"We hope to be a part of making other couples' dreams come true.
"We have been blown away by the incredible comments from couples who voted for us."
Of there being a separate regional winner just under 10 miles away from The Ashes, at Heaton House Farm, Ben said: "We think it is fantastic. It is great that the Staffordshire Moorlands is attracting couples from far and wide with its award winning venues. These couples then use the services of other local businesses."
Heaton House Farm is also a family-run business with Mick and Margaret Heath and their daughter Sarah at the helm.
Also already a multi award-winning wedding venue, Sarah said: "We are feeling very positive about winning the regional award.
"I think it's great that The Ashes have won both in their region and also nationally. Our venues compliment each other.
"Both are offering something different."