Brides Up North

Nicole Scherzinger Has Nothing On Me! Judging The Wedding Industry Awards 2013

November 27th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Ok, except the looks, international pop career and racing driver beau.  But hear me out. 

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Last week I spent a pleasant few days trawling through the regional shortlists for The Wedding Industry Awards 2013.  I was thrilled to be invited to sit as a consultant judge on this prestigious panel for the second year in a row and I am pleased to continue to represent the regions in this important role. 

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Nicole Scherzinger comparisons aside, I take my judging job very seriously, checking out each and every shortlisted wedding business’ website alongside the votes from the companies’ clients so that my final choices are informed and fair.

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The Wedding Industry Awards

Image by Adby Creative

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This year I put in a special request to judge the Southern shortlists only, so that I could be completely unbiased in the decision making process – with the whole Northern Revolution thing going on over here I just love my Northern industry friends a little too much!  I’ll still be rooting for them in the final stages though!

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We are expecting an announcement for the Regional Award Winners (our finalists) very shortly, before the overall winners are announced at the glittering Awards event on Wednesday 9th January 2013 at The Bloomsbury Ballroom, so I thought that now would be a great time to share a little more about the Awards, the process and their ethos with you, by chatting to their founder and coordinator Damian Bailey. 

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Video by Lilac Films

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Damian says: The Wedding Industry Awards (TWIA) aims to sit between the word of mouth that drives the industry and suppliers’ own marketing. We want to recognise and reward the very best wedding suppliers whilst helping people make better educated decisions when looking for suppliers for their wedding.  The Wedding Industry Awards are aimed at all wedding suppliers and anyone organising a wedding. We want the TWIA logo to become the kite mark for the wedding industry – a trusted mark of the highest quality.

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Just by entering TWIA suppliers are putting their hands up as one of the best in the business.

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The Wedding Industry Awards

Image by Adby Creative

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How It All Works

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Wedding suppliers enter the awards and invite their eligible clients to vote for them. This is key: TWIA relies on suppliers actively engaging with the Awards by entering themselves, rather than relying on an editorial panel to draw up a shortlist on which anyone can vote.  We also have a nomination process whereby anyone can nominate a great supplier they know. This is simply a means by which people can tell us about fantastic businesses. We then invite them to enter (though suppliers can enter without being nominated).

By only allowing an entrant’s eligible wedding clients to vote, we get a much more useful and reliable indication of the quality of the suppliers concerned. TWIA is no beauty parade voted for by friends and family!

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We are very keen to create a level playing field to allow all sizes and types of suppliers to compete with each other fairly. To achieve this, we look very closely at the percentage of eligible voters that actually vote for each entrant, rather than just totting up the total number of votes. We are all about quality, not just quantity!  Furthermore, we operate the awards on both a regional and national basis enabling us to highlight so many more great suppliers. Many suppliers only operate on a regional basis, so this aspect of TWIA is really important.

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Finally, our judging panel that presides over the national winners is second to none with real breadth and expertise in all areas of the industry. All these things give TWIA reliability, integrity and credibility.  In the inaugural 2012 awards, there were over 2,000 entries from suppliers up and down the country, who received more than 22,000 votes in total.

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Why The Awards Are Helpful

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Anyone planning a wedding has two main ways of finding the suppliers they need. Firstly, via the supplier’s own marketing and advertising. Secondly, they have the ‘word of mouth’ recommendations of their friends, family and colleagues. This is based on direct user experience but only that of the person who is doing the recommending. TWIA sits in the middle of this and aims to offer an industry voice. Companies who are shortlisted or win an award are given the seal of approval by their clients and by our judging panel and this is a very strong endorsement.

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What’s New?

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In addition to the new judges on our expert panel, we’ve introduced some new categories this year including:

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· Best Wedding Stationery

· Best Wedding DJ

· Best Wedding Live Music Entertainment

· Best Non-Musical Wedding Entertainment

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We’ve also teamed up with Guides for Brides to create the Best Wedding Industry Website award, which all 2013 entrants are automatically entered into, and the Best Newcomer category, which all new businesses since 1st November are eligible for.

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This year, we have also introduced a blog to occupy the space between our web site and social media, as well as introducing an entry fee for all entrants. This nominal £50 fee enables us to organise and run the awards in addition to marketing and advertising TWIA for the benefit of all those who participate whilst keeping things 100% fair. Our independence is key to TWIA’s rigour and fairness and this is only possible thanks to the entry fee.

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We continue to examine the regional borders, the award categories we use and how we can further enhance all entrants’ exposure to the marketplace in an effort to involve as many people in the industry as possible.

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The Judges

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From the outset, it was vital that our panel was respected by both wedding professionals and by anyone organising a wedding. After extensive research, we picked up the phone to the experts we thought would suit TWIA best. Every potential judge we approached accepted our invitation (bar one who said no because he had just retired from several other panels and needed a rest!). They fully understood and backed the ethos behind the awards and we were delighted to welcome them on board.  It’s worth mentioning that no single judge has sole discretion over any award. The vast majority of the judging process is based on voter scores and comments, but our judges take their role of examining the votes in addition to entrants’ web sites and TWIA profiles very seriously. Each expert gives the panel their detailed feedback based on their speciality to help the decision process when it comes to the regional and national winners. It’s very much a team effort!

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The Ceremony

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At the inaugural Awards event back in January this year we decided to move away from the ‘sit-down-meal’ type of awards night. We want suppliers to be able to meet and network with as many people as possible; to build contacts and relationships with others in their industry and region. To do this we felt we needed to make sure that people weren’t tethered to a table all evening. We wanted to have a party at which the awards were presented – and that’s exactly what we got! This year’s event will be even bigger and better.

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The Wedding Industry Awards

Image by Adby Creative

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Watch this space for more news soon!

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  – Video & Images © 2012 Lilac Films and Adby Creative

Brides Up North is a consultant judge for The Wedding Industry Awards 2013

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Move over Tulisa…

October 22nd, 2011 | Julia Braime

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The 2012 Wedding Industry Awards

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… that’s right.  There’s a new judge in town.  And this just might be better than The X Factor (although granted, there’s no Gary Barlow, so it’ll be a close call). 

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I’m honoured to have been asked to sit as a consultant judge on the panel of wedding industry experts who make up the judging teams for The 2012 Wedding Industry Awards.  I’ll be lending my opinions to the judging panel alongside industry greats such as Miranda Eason (editor of You & Your Wedding Magazine), Sassi Holford  (designer), Damian Bailey (wedding photographer), Sarah Hewson (Sky News presenter), Sarah Haywood (wedding planner and designer), Sandy Moretta (UK Alliance of Wedding Planners), Peggy Porschen (cake designer), Caroline Marshall-Foster (publisher of Florist and Wholesale Buyer), Natalie O’Donovan (wedding stationery designer), Julie Askew (editor of Cake Craft and Decoration Magazine) and of course my wedding blog colleagues and friends Annabel Beeforth of Love My Dress and Claire Gould of English Wedding

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To find out more about each fabulous individual on the judging panel click here

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I am really, really thrilled to see that the Awards celebrate industry talent from all over England (although I would like to see this extended to Scotland too and am happy to see that there are plans to do so).  It’s all about being the best, not where you are based, and I am therefore glad to lend the panel team my support and assistance in choosing some worthy winners (from the North or the South) who will be crowned in a glittering ceremony (and all out party) next January.  I’d better start frock hunting right now.  You can register here to receive priority booking for tickets for the event.  

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Are you a wedding industry supplier based in England?  There is still time to enter the Awards.  All suppliers, big or small, well established or new to the market can enter and will be treated equally in the judging process.  Click here to enter

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Are you a Bride to Be or Newlywed?  Your favourite suppliers need your voteClick here to vote for them now or to nominate a supplier who has not yet entered. 

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Registration and voting closes on 31 October 2011, so be quick!

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Good luck everyone!

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  – Images © 2011 The 2012 Wedding Industry Awards

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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