A woman who supported her best friend on ‘one of the most difficult days of her life’ has been crowned Britain’s best bridesmaid.
Stephanie Osbourne, 31, from Dartford, put on a brave face for the sake of bride Becky Symonds even though her cancer-stricken father had just begun chemotherapy.
She scooped the title after nominations have flooded in from brides across the country in the annual competition run by hen and stag experts Red7.
Researchers scoured the country for a worthy women and now, after examining nearly 500 entries, the judges have announced Stephanie as the winner.
Stephanie Osbourne, left, with best friend and bride Becky Symonds. Steffi put on a brave face for the sake of Becky even though her father had just begun chemotherapy
Stephanie ‘Steffi’ Osbourne with her father John on her own wedding day. Despite undergoing chemotherapy to treat his caner, John sadly later passed away
Seven bridesmaids across different regions were been singled out as the very best in their part of Britain.
Nominating national winner Stephanie, bride Becky Symonds said: ‘Steffi chose to stand by me on one of the most difficult days of her life.
‘On my wedding day, her dad had his first session of chemotherapy and Steffi was still the strong, happy woman we all know and love.
‘Her family even came and joined the celebration after the chemo. She chose to be by my side on the day her family were starting their journey through hell.
‘Despite having very young children and helping to look after her father, she took the time to make my day special.
‘Steffi also helped my elderly relatives on my wedding day, especially one who has Parkinson’s, and acted as a mediator between difficult family members.
‘She is a rock and deserves to be treated like the star she is. She never complains and always sees the best in everything.’
Stephanie, left, has been friends with Becky for years. scooped the title of best bridesmaid after nominations have flooded in from brides across the country in the annual competition
Nominating national winner Stephanie (left), bride Becky Symonds (right) said: ‘Steffi chose to stand by me on one of the most difficult days of her life’
Steffi’s father, John, has since passed away, however the story has a silver lining: ‘Steffi and I have just found out we’re both expecting again!’ says Becky.
Sarah Chapman, Head of Hen and Stag at Red7, commented: ‘Stephanie and Becky’s story stood out for our judges because it showed that they share a bond strong enough to overcome tragedy.
‘Even on one of the worst days of her life, Stephanie was able to shine as a bridesmaid and give her bestie one of the best days of her life. That’s the kind of friendship we all want – someone who will truly go above and beyond for us, no matter what.
‘We are delighted to name Stephanie Britain’s Best Bridesmaid 2019 and hope that she enjoys her prize! We’ve arranged a luxury spa weekend at London’s Courthouse Hotel, with a two night’s stay and a meal at Sagardi Shoreditch, to give Stephanie the pampering she deserves.’
The two friends in younger years. Sarah Chapman, Head of Hen and Stag at Red7, commented: ‘Stephanie and Becky’s story stood out for our judges because it showed that they share a bond strong enough to overcome tragedy’
Stephanie, left, with Becky on her wedding day. Steffi’s father, John, has since passed away, however the story has a silver lining as the two friends are both expecting
The two friends pictured on Stephanie’s wedding day. Nominating national winner Stephanie, bride Becky said: ‘Steffi chose to stand by me on one of the most difficult days of her life’
Women who overcame broken legs, allergic reactions and even battled cancer were all in the running to be crowned Britain’s Best Bridesmaid.
One woman performed an emergency medical procedure – despite having no first-aid training – and managed to save the bride’s leg from being amputated after she broke it in four places during a hen do disaster.
The seven finalists
- Laura Thompson (Scotland)
- Jenna Watts (Wales)
- Emmah Young (North West)
- Emma Reed (North East)
- Sarah Cross (the Midlands)
- Gabrielle George (South West)
- Stephanie Osbourne (South East)
Others overcame unthinkable personal tragedy and grief to ensure their best friends’ big days went off without a glitch.
The winning bridesmaid will be treated to a luxury spa weekend in London to share with her best friend.
Sarah Chapman of Red7 (redsevenleisure.co.uk) commented: ‘We’ve been overwhelmed by the incredible stories sent in by nearly 500 grateful brides nominating their besties – our judges had their work cut out to shortlist just 14.
‘We’ve been organising hen dos for over 21 years and have witnessed first hand the energy and dedication by bridesmaids up and down the country to put on the best possible event for their squads.’
Now meet the runners-up!
NORTH EAST Christina Dawson, 28, said of her bridesmaid Melissa Kane, 28, from Newcastle (left): ‘She pulled off an amazing hen do whilst pretending to drink as no one knew she was pregnant at the time. She was also suffering from hyperemesis’
SOUTH WEST In the South West, Lula Alexandra O’Niens, 24, was saved from tragedy by her bridesmaid and sister Gabrielle George, 26, from Somerset: ‘I fell over on my hen and badly broke my leg in four places, I virtually snapped it half. She decided to pull it straight for some reason, thinking it might help (she has no first aid training). The surgeon said, due to me having to wait six hours for an ambulance, that if she hadn’t done that, I would have lost my leg’
SOUTH WEST Meryl Caroll, 34, nominated Vicki Kiely, 30, from Swindon, for getting her through one of the hardest times in her life: ‘In the 18 months of planning my wedding, my now husband was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. Vicki made planning a wedding through this an easy experience. She was always there, helping, encouraging and taking on any jobs she could’
WALES Nominating Jo Miller, 34, from Swansea, bride Jenna Watts, 34, said, ‘Within a matter of eighteen months, Jo had lost her grandmother, father and mother. She deserves the title for putting me and my wedding before everything else’
SCOTLAND Nominating her bridesmaid Laura Thompson, 27, from Cumbernauld, bride Jennifer Mackay, 32, said, ‘She gave birth seven weeks before the wedding to her first son, then her gran died three weeks before. She soldiered on and organised four hen parties!’
SOUTH EAST Louise Dennis, 30, nominated Laura Munns, 31, from Bromley: ‘Not only did she give birth prematurely during the months leading up to my wedding, she held me together when I lost two relatives only a few weeks before my day, and planned a second last minute hen to give me the break I needed. It amazes me how she coped with a newborn baby’
SCOTLAND Bride Emily Munro, 24, from Glasgow, told Red7: ‘My twin sister Hannah Munro planned the most amazing hen do for 20 people as a surprise for me. She had a massive allergic reaction the day before the wedding and took it all in her stride, despite being in agony all day. You’d never have known, she was beyond selfless’
NORTH WEST From the North West, Rowenah Wallworth, 33, said of her sister and bridesmaid Emmah Young, 43, from Tameside, ‘She took all my anxiety away and helped make it the best day of my life… she even held my hair whilst I was being sick on my hen do!’
NORTH WEST Claire Hankinson-Hayes, 35, nominated her bridesmaid Katie Higginbottom, 35, from Manchester (right): ‘She made sure my hen do to Madrid was kept a secret right up until we went to passport security!’
NORTH EAST Kat Sterling, 28, nominated her bridesmaid Emma Reed, 34, from Blyth: ‘In the run up to our wedding, we were hit with awful snow and we didn’t know if it was actually going to go ahead until the day before – Emma kept me calm and stopped me from totally breaking down. My wedding actually ended up with one of my bridesmaids causing a huge fight which lead to a family fall-out and a huge scene. Emma was key in resolving this issue’
WALES Penelope Rose Mitchell, 30, said of her bridesmaid Charlotte Walker, 30, from Cardiff: ‘I didn’t know how much of a part she played in my life until the day I got the phone call from her then boyfriend saying Charlie was in ICU and very poorly. We thought we were going to lose her after suffering a stroke at the age of 22. She has gone back to uni to be a nurse – to give back like the nurses that cared for both her and her dad. Charlotte is nothing short of an angel’
MIDLANDS Sophie Spence, 34, nominated bridesmaid Sarah Cross, 36, from Northampton, saying: ‘Sarah is literally a one-in-a-million girl! She’s a nurse and just wants to help people, she’s even been to Ethiopia for six months to nurse’
MIDLANDS Athalie Redwood-Mills, 38, nominated Kristen Morgan, 37, from Lincoln: ‘I could not have thought of a more amazing person to stand by my side as I said my vows. She is the godmother of my little girl and encourages her always to be strong, to stay true to her dreams and that with hard work and persistence anything is possible. Kristen works so hard and in her role as a coach for women in physical activity, she has changed so many lives’