We are very excited to announce we are officially sponsors of The Wedding Industry Awards for the second year in a row! And this time, we are sponsoring not just one but two categories – Wedding Stationer of the Year and Event Team of the Year. To give you a deeper insight into the wedding industry, the awards, and just as importantly, how you can enter, we chatted with Damian Bailey, Founder and Chairman of The Wedding Industry Awards (TWIA).
There’s been lots of exciting developments for TWIA 2018 hasn’t there?
“We are always looking at ways in which we can improve TWIA for everyone, and one major development this year is we have split London & South East to create two new regions. South Central includes Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Hampshire, and South East is made up of Greater London, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex, and Kent. This means we can recognise more excellent suppliers in these parts of the country.
“For the first time, wedding suppliers based in Wales and Scotland can also enter TWIA. For some time we have been looking at ways in which we can involve the excellent wedding industry professionals based in these parts of the UK, and ideally we would have separate regions for Wales and Scotland but, as ever, it’s not as easy as it sounds. So for now, wedding suppliers based in Wales and Scotland can enter the existing TWIA region nearest to their trading address. If we have enough interest we can look at extending this next year.”
What sort of growth in the wedding industry have you seen since starting TWIA?
“The wedding industry is in a constant state of change, and this is down to two major factors. Firstly, the accessibility and appeal of the wedding industry and the wide range of products and services being demanded and offered by wedding suppliers all over the country has resulted in a huge increase in the number of wedding suppliers now operating in the UK. Secondly, there has been an increase in creativity and inventiveness of those providing those products and services. This makes TWIA even more relevant as the choices facing brides and grooms becomes harder and harder. With more and more suppliers marketing their products and services TWIA can help highlight the very best both regionally and nationally.”
How does TWIA make a difference to businesses?
“One of the main things we have heard in the six years since we started TWIA is the positive impact that TWIA can have not only on wedding businesses but also on the people who run them. The vast majority of wedding suppliers are sole-traders who are working hard to offer the very best products and services to their clients. It takes self-confidence and belief to run your own business and TWIA can really help boost these. Furthermore, just being involved in TWIA can have a hugely positive impact on people and their businesses. TWIA is not just about being a finalist or winning. Just entering TWIA can offer that all important differentiation between you and other similar businesses in what is a highly competitive market.”
The integrity during the judging process is so important to TWIA. How do you select judges and decide on the criteria per category?
“Our judging panel sits at the very heart TWIA. The panel is unique in the wedding industry and comprises over 60 industry experts across 25 categories. We are always looking to add experts in order to keep things fresh and balanced and this year we have added more than 10 judges in a variety of categories. The judging panel for each category also help us compile the questions we ask entrants and voters to make sure the judges have as much information as possible when judging each category.
“Similarly, we are continuously looking at adding new categories in order to keep up with the constantly changing industry. However, whilst we would love to have a separate category for every aspect of the wedding industry, this just isn’t feasible for now. Apart from anything else having 50 categories would make for very, VERY long awards ceremonies!
“This year we have added the new category of Wedding Celebrant of the Year. This recognises the increasingly popular celebrant-led weddings allowing couples to have completely bespoke and personal ceremonies. With possible changes to the law regarding the legal recognition of celebrant-led weddings, celebrants are set to be an increasingly prominent niche in the wedding industry.”
What are your tips on winning an award?
“Wow – that’s a tough one! The judging panel want to understand who you are in addition to what it is that makes you good at what you do. After all, that’s what brides and grooms are interested in too. Show the panel who you are, what you do and how you do it. Be honest and be succinct. Include really great images in your entry and make sure you show really great images on your website and on social media. Above all, make every stage of TWIA work for you. Your clients, past, present and future, will love the fact that you have entered TWIA and this can be an incredibly positive story.
“In fact, earlier this year we followed our own advice and entered into an awards ourselves, The Awards Awards no less. Against all the odds we won two awards and you can read more about our experience on our blog.”
What are you waiting for? If you’re in the wedding industry, enter before 16th October 2017. Visit: www.the-wedding-industry-awards.co.uk
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