Unveiling the truth behind online wedding awards

I'll be honest, this post has been sitting in drafts for some time but tonight something happened that compelled me to finally hit the publish button.

The words Tell The Truth spray-painted on a road

You’ve probably seen those dazzling badges proudly displayed on supplier’s websites right? Well, it turns out that some of these awards aren’t as legit as they seem.

I’ll be honest, this post has been sitting in drafts for some time but something happened tonight that compelled me to finally hit the publish button.

In one of the many DJ Facebook groups I am a member of, two DJs (and possibly many more) claim to have won the same international wedding award in 2023.

How can this be true?

Neon Win Sign

Before I start, I’m not going to name any of these awards companies. Some are indeed run better than others. Some rely on testimonials from previous couples and a highly experienced “panel” to work out who the true winners are but there are also others out there whose sole purpose is to give you a shiny badge for your website in exchange for an entry fee.

It’s like paying your way into the VIP section – not everyone can get in, but the door opens if you’ve got the cash.

The pay-to-play game

Instead of getting the nod from happy clients or other industry pros and being nominated for these awards, suppliers are shelling out their hard-earned cash in order to be considered. It’s like a backstage pass you buy, not one you earn because of your skills and happy couples singing your praises.

It doesn’t stop there. If you want to attend the glitzy ceremony where wedding suppliers find out if they’ve won in their local area, they shell out again and if they do happen to win, there’s an even bigger gala dinner where you’ve guessed it, they hand over even more cash for a seat at the table, and maybe a better chance of winning the national award.

The illusion of expertise…

Imagine trusting a photographer with one of the most important days of your life, only to later discover that they won their awards with wads of cash instead of talent. These awards paint a picture of expertise and 5-star reviews, but it’s not always the real deal.

To protect yourselves from potential deception you need to do some homework. Always exercise due diligence when researching wedding suppliers. The good news is that I’ve got some great tips to help you!

Stalk them on social media

Dive into their Instagram, Facebook and even TikTok. Legit suppliers post updates, show off their work and chat with real people. How often do they post, if at all? Are they tagged by other suppliers or venues? Are their posts LIKED by other suppliers, past clients and venues? All of these things should give you some idea as to how popular they are in wedding-land.

Ask for copies of reviews

Request feedback from previous clients. Genuine testimonials often provide insights into the entire experience from initial communication to the wedding day itself. How did they handle any problems? Did they go the extra mile and what made the experience unforgettable?

They may come back to you and say that they couldn’t possibly provide emails because of GDPR and all that privacy blah blah excuses but it’s not hard to blank out an email address or any other identifiable text.

Check review websites

The more places you find legit reviews the better. Google reviews are great for this.

If a supplier you’re considering doesn’t have a lot of Google reviews then that’s not necessarily a bad thing and doesn’t mean they should be avoided. To leave a review on Google, you must have a Google Gmail account. Some clients will not go through the hassle of doing this if they use another email provider so they will probably email the supplier direct.

Meet or have a video call

Whenever possible, have a video call. See their face, feel the vibes and grill them on their wedding expertise. Ask tons of questions, no matter how silly you might think they are! Think of it like a mini-date to make sure you’re a match made in wedding heaven!


Some would say, “But Ian, you’re only bitter because you’ve not won any awards!”.

The truth is I have won some awards and I did pay to enter them but when you see the winners, paraded online, being congratulated by members of the voting panel (who also happen to be good friends of the winner) it just takes the legitimacy out of the whole thing and makes it a bit…. incestuous.

Wedding awards can be like a shiny diamond ring – super attractive but not always the real deal.

Keep your eyes open, do some homework and make sure that your chosen suppliers are the real McCoy. Putting in a little extra effort will ensure that your big day is in the hands of the true wedding champs!

If you want to talk to me about your wedding, fill in my short contact form or give me a call on 07799 782764. You can also email me directly if you prefer at hello@ianforest.com.