Musings on wedding industry awards

I’ve been musing a lot recently. Thinking about this industry, the financial side of weddings, the way it all works and what motivates people in the wedding industry. For many of us it’s the thank you card from a happy customer; the email saying how wedding guests commented on our work. It’s also the sheer love of our jobs that keeps us going.

For me, it’s also the very personal and involved relationship I can develop with a bride and groom. Discussing wedding stationery, chatting at length about your colours, styles and ideas for your wedding day can be thrilling. Sharing that excitement at such a happy time in people’s lives is pretty unbeatable. It’s certainly worlds apart from sitting in a busy open plan office working my little head off only for no one ever to say thank you.

I’ve been cynical about wedding awards in the past. It’s the industry’s mutual back-slapping I don’t like. That’s just a personal thing, and it’s not what I’m here for today. It was partly my criticism of existing awards that led to me being asked to join the judging panel for the 2012 Wedding Industry Awards – an independent awards event focused on reviews by brides and grooms; not by mates and fellow wedding suppliers!

Wedding awards with integrity

The 2012 Wedding Industry Awards has honest intentions. The whole thing is based on integrity and genuine recognition of good service, dedication to customers and real reviews from real people.

Restoring my faith in people!

The first round of judging is underway. I’ve been privileged to read some of the votes and reviews – from “nothing was ever too much trouble” to the most simple things like suppliers listening and showing an interest in the wedding. Most of the reviews were really long too – voters really thought about what they wrote.

It’s lovely to know that brides and grooms take the time to review a supplier who does a wonderful job for them. The reviews I read were genuine, grateful – and reflected the suppliers who’d gone the extra mile for their clients. Who’d ever think that sending a card on the wedding day would make such a real impact on brides and grooms?

Making an impression on brides and grooms

As wedding suppliers we really do make an impression on people. And I don’t just mean the photographers who are there on the wedding day, or the caterers, chauffeurs and toastmasters who become part of the wedding itself. I’m talking about the wedding stationers, the florists and wedding planners – no matter what your role in the wedding industry, you can find yourself making real friends with the people you meet through your job. It’s a big thing: to relieve stress, make things easier for brides and grooms, inspire and enthuse the whole wedding process.

More than a financial investment

Brides and grooms invest in their wedding day. They invest financially: £20k and beyond, if we believe the stats*. For some suppliers that’s all they see: the couple, the money, the next wedding. The best wedding suppliers are those who appreciate the emotional investment from brides and grooms.

It’s the little things that count

Because it’s the little things. You’ll stand out from the crowd as a wedding supplier by being there, by sending a little card, by following up after the wedding, by caring. From the reviews I’ve been reading this is what sets the best aside. The little things will make all the difference: to your brides and grooms, to the enjoyment you get from your business, to word of mouth and your reputation.

And to bring me back nicely to the subject of wedding awards, this is why the 2012 Wedding Industry Awards means so much more – not just as a representation of the industry but as something really inclusive where brides and grooms are the ones who’ve had a say in who gets an award.

I found it all very heart warming being involved with the judging process. Brides and grooms really invest so much in their wedding suppliers. I’m glad the industry is finally giving something back.

*I don’t believe those stats, by the way.


Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



  • My big problem, even with the wedding industry awards is that you have to cajole your clients into making an effort for you. This smacks of unprofessionalism to me.

    Photographic awards should be based on judgements by photographers. All that client based awards does is prove that you have met your clients expectations and they liked you as a person. It says nothing about the work you produced on a larger scale.

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      I couldn’t disagree more, Yorkshire Wedding Photographer.

      I’d suggest mentioning your award nomination to happy clients, once, and letting them choose to vote or not depending how pleased they are with your services. A polite and friendly request is nicer than cajoling anyone. Lack of professionalism? No.

      And yes, photographic awards should be based on judgements by photographers. But they’re a totally different type of award. A wedding business is all about your clients, not just your skill with the camera but your skill with people and understanding what each individual couple requires from you. Yes, brides and grooms should like you as a person – that’s a huge part of being a wedding photographer, surely? By all means win photography awards too, but don’t discount the importance of brides and grooms’ perceptions of your work.

  • Starstruck Designs
    8 years ago

    Thank you for such a great blog post. I completely agree with you about industry back-slapping, and it really irks me. I recently read a post from another supplier about what a huge achievement it was just to have been nominated for a particular award, without mentioning the fact that anyone who advertised with the magazine that month got automatically nominated. Don’t get me wrong, I still think those awards are important, it shows recognition within the bridal industry, and i’m sure it gives couples some reassurances when booking an award winning supplier.

    However, when I first read about The Wedding Industry Awards, I was so pleased to find out that the shortlisted suppliers would all have to be nominated by their clients – what a refreshing change! I also like the fact that the results aren’t based purely on number of votes, which means that actually the “little guys” get a chance to be recognised for fantastic service, even if they only supply to half the number of weddings that the bigger companies do.

    Unfortunately the only way to find out what our customers think about us, is to ask them – whether that be by asking them to fill in a questionnaire about their buying experience, or sending them a single email and asking them if they would mind voting for us for an award. I had many email replies from my clients, either letting me know that they had voted, or apologising because they wanted to vote but didn’t fit the criteria (wedding not within the timescale/not yet had the wedding/were buying for an event other than their wedding).

    Anyway – i’ve waffled on too long. GREAT blog post, and I am so looking forward to hearing the finalists announced in due course!

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      Great reply Keri (hope I’ve spelt that right… going from memory!) – I wish I’d said this myself. I completely forgot as I wrote the blog post that these awards tip the scales just nicely so the little guys get a fair chance of winning.

      They must be mathematical geniuses to do it… but it’s brilliantly done by taking into account the number of votes a business gets and comparing it with the number of orders / clients they work with through a year.

      Kerri (hedging my bets with spelling now!) – thank you so much for such a brilliant comment. I’m looking forward to seeing the finalists announced too, and they’ll DEFINITELY be congratulated on my blog when the time comes.

      Claire xxx

      • Starstruck Designs
        8 years ago

        Lol – spelling is with the 2 r’s (Kerri) 10 out of 10 for remembering!!

        • Claire
          8 years ago

          Lol – 5 out of 10. Got it wrong first time.
          It’s funny – in my mind I can see the old Hitched screen when I try and think how to spell your name. Ah… good times!
          Claire xx

  • Natalie Roderick
    8 years ago

    What a great blog post. The first time I heard about these awards was when I was nominated for it by one of my fantastic clients. I was genuinely gobsmacked and touched. From there, the number of clients that took the time and effort to vote for me have really left me in awe. These awards are even more special than others as they are voted for by your clients which means far more to me than actually winning the award (althought that would also be very nice!). To know that I played a part in someones special day makes this job worthwhile (even if it is just a small part). I was concerned at first as I don’t take on many orders in a year and thought my votes would be swamped by the bigger players but that was certainly not the case.
    I bet the judges have had a very difficult time deciding!

  • jo long
    7 years ago

    Pity the awards were only for England. Many talented people were missed out because of this. Only 2 finalists in the dress design section which was suprising. There again do awards like this really mean anything. I think Yorkshire photographer is absolutely right. I would think it very unprofessional if someone contacted me to vote for them.

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