“Ladies and Gentlemen, the presentation of The 2013 Wedding Industry Awards will commence in 5 minutes time,” a voice boomed out of the tannoy system as lights flashed around the deco surroundings of The Bloomsbury Ballroom.
Music pounded throughout the room, bass rippling along the wooden floor; an excited roar escaped from the crowd – 400 bodies standing shoulder to shoulder and buzzing with anticipation as they faced the stage, bathed in the ethereal pink light of The Wedding Industry Awards logo.
Only moments before, this same crowd of cheering revellers had been sipping on Lanson Champagne, mingling, networking and catching up with likeminded wedding professional. For a moment, however, it seemed less like the cream of the wedding industry had assembled for a glamorous awards presentation, and more like a howling audience at a rousing gig were clamouring for action.
Regional winners stood cheek by jowl, having come from all over the country to celebrate the hard work of the wedding industry. As they laughed and joked together, they were oblivious to the ridiculously high standard of entrants they had triumphed against or the painstaking deliberation process the judges had undertaken to come to their final decisions.
As Damian Bailey took to the stage to introduce the awards and his co-presenter, Sarah Hewson, the room exploded with noisy triumph. In that moment, despite the hundreds of shortlisted companies all waiting to see whether they would be crowned the national winner, it felt like the real winner was the couples who had so many passionate, dedicated suppliers at their disposal.
A party atmosphere descended long before the awards presentation had finished, with cheers resounding throughout the ballroom as the names of all shortlisted finalists were read out. The floor physically vibrated with the roar of appreciation for each of the winners and their jubilant grins as they took to the stage to receive their awards embodied the astonished pride with which each accolade was received.
Hugs, tears, laughter, gasps and the occasional smash of a glass hitting the floor in disbelief provided the soundtrack to the evening as winner after winner received their trophies. Entourages and loved ones greeted their recipients with hero’s welcomes as they returned from the stage. Fellow competitors congratulated each other and supported one another right through to the announcement of the final award.
With 23 winners and 7 Highly Commended companies, the kitemark for excellence within the wedding industry was well and truly on display. Capitalising on the toe-tapping good times provided by Wandering Hands and Elle & the Pocket Belles prior to the awards presentation, the excellent Kitsch Lounge Riot took over the stage to fill the ballroom with pumping feel good tunes that flooded the dance floor.
Out in the bar, the 30 victorious suppliers queued patiently in a hubbub of elated, surreal chatter as they waited for official photographs and interviews. Well-wishers stopped to offer congratulations, enveloping their friends and colleagues in proud embraces as the level of conversation increased tenfold.
Whilst ladies kicked off precarious heels as they sashayed around the dance floor, a noisy crowd surrounded the Retro-Me photo booth, completely unfazed as they chatted to each other whilst wearing absurd hats and props whilst waiting for their turn to pose.
Through the gales of laughter, the tears of happiness, the silly photos and the power slides across the dance floor, came the overwhelming sense of gratification that from the very first entrant to the awards in April through to the Best Newcomer of 2013, the wedding industry was brimming with talent, with dedication and with passion. Although there could only be 23 winners, it was clear from the phenomenal standard of entries that this is an industry you can be proud to be part of.
Whether part of the awards, shortlisted or regional finalists, or simply enjoying the atmosphere in the ballroom, it was clear every person who attended the awards ceremony did so with one intention: to support and encourage excellence amongst their peers, and that is a very powerful thing indeed.
The 2013 winners of The Wedding Industry Awards are:-
Winner of Best Wedding Accessory: Hermione Harbutt
Highly Commended Wedding Florist: Bramble And Wild
Winner of Best Wedding Florist: Tineke Floral Designs
Winner of the Best Wedding Dress Designer: Terry Fox Bridal
Highly Commended Bridal Retailer: Frou Frou Bridal
Winner of the Best Bridal Retailer: Carina Baverstock Couture
Highly Commended Marquee Provider: Papakata
Winner of Best Marquee Provider: Fews Marquees
Winner of Best Wedding Cake Designer: Rosalind Miller Cakes
Winner of Best Independent Wedding Planner: Finesse Planning
Winner of Best Wedding Photographer: Ross Harvey Photography
Winner of Best Wedding Videographer: Green Biscuit Studio
Winner of Best Wedding Menswear Supplier: Sensational Formal Hire
Winner of Best Wedding DJ: Mighty Fine Entertainment
Winner of Best Live Music Entertainment: The Jazzberries
Winner of Best Wedding Entertainment (non-musical): Darren Campbell Magician
Highly Commended Wedding Make-Up Artist: Sophie Everett
Winner of Best Wedding Make-Up Artist: Kristina Gasperas
Winner of Best Wedding Hair Stylist: Pam Wrigley Wedding Hair
Winner of Best Wedding Transport Supplier: Dennisson Classic Cars
Winner of Best Wedding Co-Ordinator: Jennie Hopcroft from Pinewood Hotel
Highly Commended Wedding Caterer: Kalm Kitchen
Winner of Best Wedding Caterer: Jacaranda
Winner of Best Wedding Special Touch: The Little Wedding Helper
Highly Commended Wedding Stationery: Amelia Lane Paper
Winner of Best Wedding Stationery: Emma Jo Stationery
Winner of Best Wedding Venue: Dodmoor House
Highly Commended Wedding Industry Website in association with Guides for Brides: Joanna Carter Flowers
Winner of Best Wedding Industry Web Site in association with Guides for Brides: Dodmoor House
Winner of Best Wedding Industry Newcomer 2013: BerinMade Illustrated Paper Goods