The Wedding Ideas Awards 2014 have started with a bang – so who are the people who decide on the final winners?
Giving wedding companies, large and small, the chance to be recognised for all their hard work throughout the year, the Wedding Ideas Awards 2014 have two stages of voting. Stage one is all about the real brides, but stage two is all about the pros! Experts in their chosen fields, our judges whittle the real brides’ top five companies down to a final winner. It’s a tough job but hey, someone’s got to do it. And who better than these respected industry pros… Let’s find out a little bit more about them.
Kat Williams, rocknrollbride.com
Blogging about weddings since 2007, Kat has become a respected name within the industry thanks to rocknrollbride.com.” In that time I’ve certainly seen the good, the bad and the very, very ugly,” she says. “I also receive between 50 and 100 real wedding submissions a day so I know what makes an awesome wedding supplier and what certainly does not! ” So what will Kat be looking for in this year’s nominees? “Someone who listens to their client, understands their vision and gets creative with it!” Kat’s top planning tip for real brides? ”Spend as much as you can on a wedding photographer – after the wedding day you’ll regret it if you have terrible photos.”
Damien Lovegrove, lovegrovephotography.com
Having photographed over 400 weddings, top UK photographer Damien Lovegrove joins the panel for the second year in a row. “I work with the best suppliers and work for a client base that understands and expects quality. I know what it is to deliver a fabulous customer experience and how to recognise that wow factor in suppliers,” he says. So what makes a good supplier? “Someone that exceeds expectations on all levels and delivers the wow factor to make their customers day all the more special.” When it comes to weddings in general, Damien would like to see more brides and bridesmaids doing speeches on the big day. “I’d also like to see the wedding being planned from the guest’s perspective. Brides should consider their experience at each stage of the day.”
Susi Rogol, Bridal Buyer magazine
Editor of industry magazines Bridal Buyer, Bridal Buyer Europe and bridalbuyer.com, Susi understands the wedding market, its intricacies and has worked with wedding suppliers and retailers on every level. Why has she decided to be a judge again this year? “The Wedding Ideas Awards not only highlight the very best, but importantly, focus on those who are achieving and moving up the scale, so being in the final line up of nominations is of huge value.” What would Susi’s advice be for buying your wedding details? “Falling in love is vital – never settle for anything you do not feel passionate about. A considered ‘no’ is better than a regretted ‘yes’– and that goes from finding your dream dress, to choosing the music.”
Darren Noel, hitched.co.uk
A part of the wedding industry since 1999, the Commercial Director of hitched.co.uk has plenty of experience when it comes to suppliers, venues and bridalwear designers. “The Wedding Ideas Awards highlight and recognise the very best in the industry, making it easy to pin point who we’d love to work with and feature on our own website,” says Darren. “In my eyes a great wedding supplier knows how to promote themselves! As the world has become so visual with the likes of Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus, it’s important to have amazing images to represent your brand and what you do.”
Jessica Brown, showbiz, entertainment and lifestyle journalist
After starring as a real-life bride in the magazine herself last year, former Showbiz Editor of the Daily Star Jess has written numerous articles for Wedding Ideas. She’s covered everything from health and beauty to fashion and celebs. Jess’s idea of a perfect wedding supplier? “Someone who comes highly recommended and proves themselves to be friendly and reliable. A person who is proud of their service and holds customer satisfaction higher than money exchanged.” Any newlywed tips for us, Jess? Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family to help – most are itching to get involved; Have fun, it’s suppose to be a day filled with happiness and love; and prioritize your budget and work out what’s the most important thing early on.”
Alison Tinlin, blogger and owner of Plans and Presents
More commonly known as wedding blogger MrsPandP.com, Alison is the UK’s number one wedding tweeter and owner of wedding planning company Plans and Presents. “I see myself as an advocate for new Bridal Businesses and see myself as a bit of a mum nurturing their inherent fabulousness and helping them fly,” she says. “A good wedding supplier is someone who has great attention to detail – someone that gets YOU, takes your vision and makes it come alive.” What’s this wedding planner’s top tip? “Always, always, always get wedding insurance. It will be the best money you will ever spend, especially in this economic climate.”
Jayne Bransby, elegantsteps.co.uk
Self-confessed shoe-aholic Jayne is one of our favourites in the wedding industry. She created Elegant Steps back in 2003, specialising in wedding shoes and shoe dyeing. Now the leading retailer of wedding shoes in the UK, Elegant Steps have an extensive range of bridal, bridesmaid and mother of the bride designs, as well as a selection of wide-fitting wedding shoes. “The Wedding Ideas Awards recognises real talent in the industry,” she says. “Plus you don’t have to pay to be involved and real brides get the chance to nominate their favourite brands.”
Haven’t voted yet? Have your say now! It takes just a couple of minutes and you could win a romantic getaway for two at this year’s Wedding Ideas Awards venue, The Tower Hotel in London.