Date: 15th November 2023
Oh my gosh what a venue - says the small town, country girl whose not been "out out" for a while! Neon lights, grafiti, eyebrow raising golf props, cocktails, a bus (inside!) ... but calm down Emma lets not forget why we were there.
It was the first ever QUIRKY WEDDING AWARDS and spoiler alert I came away with the HIGHLY COMMENDED award for BEST UNIQUE ENTERTAINMENT IN THE UK.
So before I do my thank you's, if you'd like to know a bit more about the nitty gritty, lets start at the beginning...
WHAT ARE THE AWARDS FOR?
I've lifted this direct from The Quirky website as if anyone knows - they do!
"Quirky Weddings is all about celebrating everyone's uniqueness and being inclusive to all!
We're on the hunt for the best alternative wedding suppliers that are embracing our ethos and making the wedding industry a better place for everyone!"
HOW DID I GET NOMINATED
I exhibited with quirky in April 2023 at the Yoghurt Rooms, Sussex - and everyone who exhibits gets the chance to be a finalist. All exhibitors and suppliers wishing to nominate themselves were judged by the judgist of judges! The finalists were called. I WAS IN!
In my category of BEST ENTERTAINMENT there were 10 finalists.
At the awards night in Birmingham the winners were announced.
Some awards gave out a Highly Commended and I was one of them! WHOOP (I really am so proud of this)
Well done to the winner in my category Jolly Good Photo Co
WHAT WERE WE JUDGED UPON
There's many wedding awards out there and many require you to get your couples to vote for you. Whilst this has its place - it does have flaws and I really don't like to be that supplier who nags you for a vote. Especially if all of your suppliers do that. So I loved the fact that this one was judged by those in the know and your customer reviews already got were taken into consideration.
Uniqueness - Now - prove me wrong if you like but I am yet to come across anyone in the world that offers my service in the way that I do. Yes you can get a fingerprint tree, someone to paint your wedding or even someone to aid your guests in painting an abstract art piece - but no one does it the way I do. I'm waiting for the copycat day to come...but until then MAYBE UNIQUE IN THE WORLD stays on my banner.
Inclusivity and accessibility - I kind of feel it goes without saying but we whole heartedly welcome any couple to our services. Any couple, any which way they want to work with us - each wedding is unique and treated that way. And accessibility - this for your guests is really important. We make it possible that everyone of every age can contribute towards your painting. I've carried paintings to tables before for guests who've struggled to walk, we support parents helping babies - we've even had dogs leave paw prints. The canvas is accessible for anyone in a wheel chair, we are on hand to support anyone who may need help holding things, I also use to raised tape to separate areas on the canvas to aide guests with any visual impairment, I have a copy of instructions for guests with hearing impairments and I find what we do, easily explained even with language barriers. We endeavour to find a way for everyone to make their mark.
Customer Satisfaction - I ask for reviews on hitched and to date have 20 5 star reviews.
Sustainability - So firstly we are not making a throw away product. Your painting is designed to be with you for life, to pass down to generations. My paints themselves are acrylic - but I have not yet found a suitable alternative, so I'll park that one for the moment. But we use them only as we need to and any waste is disposed of appropriately. Packing and delivery - I aim to use recycled or recyclable materials at all times and try to deliver paintings in groups to save of excess travel. I use re-usable palettes, tools and eco- friendly wipes.
So - the hard question. Which I'm debating whether or not to leave in.
Why didn't I get first place?
Maybe the guys who won, would have always won. But maybe not, maybe I can do more, show more, say more about how I feel we represent the above ethos. Because just as its Quirkys ethos in my head it's mine too.
So - that's my take home from this. And I actually thank you for giving me this and not first, so I do not rest on my laurels. I can make it clearer to YOU about why inclusivity, accessibility, sustainability and giving the best customer service is so important to me. I will be looking at my website, my hitched profile, my socials and making sure that in the future you know - without a doubt these things. And if I'm not doing it right, or as well as I can be - I will change.
FINAL THANK YOU'S
Firstly thank you to Lily and the team at Quirky weddings for the award and all of their hard work with the whole event! You can see how much work, thought and love went into the event. It was truly a special night. And thank you to Zoe (one of my artists) for joining me on the night and being my wingman!
When I started and came up with this entertainment idea that merges fine art and weddings,I honestly had 0 knowledge when it came to this world. I'm not married, no real desire to, had never been a bridesmaid and had only been to a handful of weddings as a guest. I had no idea if 1. it would work, 2. people and venues would accept me and 3. I would enjoy it. So as I stand here, 4 years on from that crazy idea, with 93 weddings under my belt, having worked is the most wonderful and prestigious of venues and met the most fabulous people, I can confidently say 1, it does, 2, they do and 3. I f**king love it.