2015 has seen the fourth annual TWIA ceremony at the plush Cafe de Paris in London’s Leicester Square. It recognises excellence within no fewer than 27 different fields in the wedding industry and provides winners with a golden opportunity to use that recognition of their achievements to springboard their career into the stratosphere!
The Wedding Industry Awards- abbreviated to TWIA- was set up by Damian and Anna Bailey and run through their company 23 Events Ltd. Damian is himself, an award-winning wedding photographer and Anna, from a strong event management background. Their combined experience of meeting every facet of a wedding day-from the bride and groom themselves, to the caterers, venue owners, transport providers, musicians, d.j.’s; Damian and Anna, over the years, have seen a plethora of talented and dedicated suppliers striving to achieve their very best for the couples big day. As a result of this hard work many couples have,in the past, wanted to publicly thank these suppliers in return for their contribution in making their wedding day so special. Sadly, there had been no such platform. That was all to change when TWIA was established in which the couples themselves could vote for, and rate, their favourite suppliers via the TWIA website, also providing a few kind words.
In the last few years the TWIA name itself has grown into a byword for industry excellence-a ‘kite mark’ for the wedding industry. The judging panel is second to none in experience and expertise, the votes are client-based which in turn ensures that the results really have meaning and the award itself has kudos.
To ensure every supplier gets their field of expertise recognised there have been a total of 27 different categories ranging from BestvWedding Dress Providers, Hair and Make-up, Best Transport, Best Wedding Cake Makers, Caterers, Bands, D.J.’s and Best Wedding Venues to name but a few. There is also one final category known as ‘Best Newcomer’ which recognises a burgeoning, newly established business in the wedding industry, and their hard work and achievements within their first year. One such business to win this coveted award was the 2014 winners- acoustic wedding band ‘Rock My Reception’. Band member Kieran Stokes said, ‘We were initially entered for the Best Live Entertainment category. The competition was incredibly high and we didn’t expect to win- before we knew it they were reading out the nominees for the best newcomer category. There were 40 different companies and our name was amongst them. When the winner was announced and it was us we were astounded!’.
But what effect did winning the award have on Rock My Receptions business? Kieran said, “After winning the award we really went to town using the press pulling-power it provided. After writing our own press release and sending it, along with a high resolution photo of us at the awards to our local newspaper, the publicity snowballed. Suddenly the regional papers were interested in printing our story in their business section and we were then invited onto BBC Radio Leeds to play live requests on their breakfast show to the listeners. Our wedding bookings for 2014 increased from 15 from the previous year to 60. That was all down to us winning the TWIA Best Newcomer award and acting swiftly on publicising it.”
Another success story from TWIA was the 2015 winner for Best Entertainment category magician Sam Fitton from Manchester. Upon collecting his award he triumphantly flicked his deck of cards, showering them into the air, much to the delight of the audience. His charisma, professionalism and sheer breathtaking skill ensured his well deserved win at the awards. Surprisingly though, Sam has only been in the wedding entertainment business for only two years after taking somewhat of a career change- he used to be a policeman!
Although Sam is undoubtedly one of the countries finest close up magicians, he is keen to stress that it is not about the magic tricks or fooling people; “It’s about lighting up Auntie Jackie’s face, baffling the perpetually moody teenagers and making sure that you and your guests have an absolutely amazing day”.
Sam uses not only his incredible talent for magic, but his own humour and warm personality to entertain guests. At a recent wedding in Clitheroe, one guest remarked, “That magician was fantastic- his sleight of hand stuff was incredible! We were stood right infront of him and he turned a flaming handkerchief into a bottle of champagne! Not only that but he made us really belly laugh- he’s better than anything on the telly”.
Sam’s story has already attracted press interest and has been printed in the widely circulated Manchester Evening News. Undoubtedly, he will certainly be rightfully reaping the rewards of his TWIA success during 2015 and beyond.
Final recognition should go to the hard work and 100% commitment of the TWIA founders themselves, Damian and Anna Bailey. It is through their sheer dynamism and belief in TWIA that it has become a credible and reliable independent awards process for an industry estimated at 3 billion pounds per annum. Anyone lucky enough to achieve a TWIA badge will wear it with pride and a wedding couple can be rest assured that their day is most definitely in very safe and reliable hands.