Leicester Square, London at 7.30pm on Thursday 14 January. The red carpet is out…. a growing buzz of excitement in the air….people are dressed in their A-lister finery and wrapped up against the bitter night air….their VIP tickets are at the ready….which potential award winner is due to arrive?
No, I’m not talking about Leonardo DiCaprio at the UK premiere of The Revenant….I’m talking about The 2016 Wedding Industry Awards held at the glittering and glamorous Café de Paris!
Having won Regional Finalist Wedding Dressmaker/Designer of The Year – London and the South-East – back in November, I‘d made it through to the wedding industry award of all awards: the Finals. And what a night it was.
I couldn’t have achieved this without the wonderful support and testimonials received from all my lovely brides. A massive, ginormous thank you to everyone who voted for me, making my year!
A trip to Harvey Nichols had nailed my outfit (the dress code on the invite stated ‘Awards Chic’: a gorgeously twinkling black and gold top by xxxxx over a swishy black net skirt by xxxxx. Once again, I’d invited my lovely marketing consultant, Caroline Gibson (an award-winning copywriter herself!) as my guest.
The build up began with getting hair done then a visit to Space NK in Richmond for make up (if only the lovely girls at ID lived close by!). Thank goodness for Uber – however, not so ideal when you find yourself caught in a 20 minute traffic jam in Knightsbridge (maybe because of the Lumiere London festival starting?) but thankfully our Oyster cards were at the ready so we jumped ship and made the last leg of the journey by tube.
Leicester Square ‘s Café de Paris is a stunning venue that dates back to 1924. The rope barrier was lifted for us by the doormen on guard and in we swept. Once again, the lovely Beetle Juice guys were on hand with their delicious cocktails as we arrived. The venue was already filled with chatter and laughter, and we luckily spotted two available chairs upstairs with perfect views of the stage.
The evening kicked off with some breathtaking acrobatics by and then it was time for founder Damien Bailey to announce the 26 category winners, aided by Sky News presenter, Isabel Webster. Thousands had entered, hundreds of hours had been spent in judging, and now was the moment for the big reveal.
When my category for Wedding Dressmaker/Designer of The Year was announced and the shortlist displayed on screen, it felt like a decade had passed before the winner was announced – me! Being upstairs meant I had to make my way down the sweeping staircase (as if on a Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire film set!). Cameras flashed, music played…it was an unforgettable moment. Proudly clutching my award, I then had to go backstage for a video interview followed by more photos.
Huge congratulations to all the other winners and, indeed, all the regional finalists. It was a a night in a million and simply wonderful to meeting so many talented people in the wedding industry that help make a wedding day so, so special, from florists to photographers to transport providers to venue stylists to my favourite named category – special touches.
How did the evening end? Well, there was music, there was dancing, there was champagne….but there wasn’t any sign of Leo. Apparently, he went post-premiere to The Groucho Club in London with a mystery brunette dressed in black. Which wasn’t me! I was still at the awards event having a great time. His loss, not mine!