Wow, someone over at The Knot must’ve had too much spiked egg nogg over the holidays because they just inducted me into the Best of Weddings Hall of Fame. This exclusive class of all-star wedding vendors is comprised of folks who have earned four or more Best of Weddings awards, and represents less than 1% of all wedding professionals, worldwide. I’m honored to be among only four other photographers in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, and humbled to know that it comes directly from the special people who share their weddings with me every week.
When I started my photography business, I knew customer care was the only stable constant I could expect from the otherwise subjective world of art and creativity. After all, you can argue whether a photo is “good” or “bad” until the cows come home. But evaluating whether someone had a good experience or not is far less ambiguous.
Over a decade later, after experiencing all the wonderful mistakes and second-guessing inherent to growing any small business, I’m surprised to see how accurate I was about customer care, and that it’s still the only true constant today. Putting people first, listening to and anticipating their needs, and doing your best to take care of them, is far more important and challenging (and ultimately rewarding) than making the cover of Time Magazine.
What I never anticipated, however, was that putting other people first would provide such sentimentality for me in return. When I look through my portfolio of work over the past decade, I’m surprisingly blind to what’s actually going on in the photos. Instead, the images make me feel exactly what I hope they make my couples feel: all the emotions from a specific day. All the stories. The feelings I had when the bride and groom saw each other for the first time. The lump in my throat when a bride was escorted down the aisle by her brother after the recent passing of their father. The sheer panic in my chest when I witnessed the flower girl taking a huge slice out of the cake before cake-cutting. The eruption of laughter when a bridesmaid toppled off the bed attempting to double-up a pair of Spanx! :O Experiences like these are the stuff of life, and mine is far more colorful thanks to the warmhearted folks who invite me into theirs.
Congratulations to all the Virginia inductees, and a special shoutout to my fellow Hampton Roads friends!
- Emily Weddings · Virginia Beach
- Antonia Christianson Events · Virginia Beach
- Angela’s Elegant Events · Richmond
- Grant & Deb Photographers · Newport News
- Seth Roberts Photography · Richmond
- Jen Fariello Photography · Charlottesville
- Rebecca Keeling Photography · Richmond
- Justin Hankins Photography · Virginia Beach
- Palette of Petals · Virginia Beach
- Ava Clara Bridal · Virginia Beach
- The Mill at Fine Creek · Richmond
- Harvest Moon · Charlottesville
- East Coast Entertainment · Richmond
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE KNOT INDUCTS JUSTIN HANKINS PHOTOGRAPHY INTO WEDDING INDUSTRY HALL OF FAME
— First-Ever Wedding Industry Hall of Fame Pronounces Preeminent Vendors Across the U.S. —
NEW YORK (October 1, 2013) â€“ Whether they’re trying to find the wedding dress salon with the best service in Philadelphia, the most creative wedding photographers in Los Angeles, New York’s top cake bakers or Miami’s hottest reception sites, engaged couples across the country want the inside scoop from real brides. The Knot Wedding Network (NYSE: XOXO), which is composed of the top two wedding websites, TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, today announces the first-of-its-kind wedding industry Hall of Fame for the all-time best wedding vendors across the United States.
Comprised of winners of the annual Best of Weddings, a by-brides-for-brides guide to the top wedding vendors in 80-plus cities across the U.S., the Hall of Fame inducts wedding vendors who have won four or more Best of Weddings awards. This honorable list of more than 330 inductees includes less than 1 percent of wedding professionals.
“For the past seven years, WeddingChannel.com Reviews has been the definitive resource for our brides, providing them with unparalleled vendor recommendations directly from the tried-and-true experiences of fellow brides,” said Carley Roney, cofounder of TheKnot.com. “We’re beyond thrilled to induct our first-ever Hall of Fame, crowning the best of the best across the country, based on more than 700,000 reviews from real brides.”
“I’m incredibly humbled by the news,” said Justin Hankins, owner of five-time Best of Weddings winner, Justin Hankins Photography. “The Knot’s Best of Weddings awards are the most rewarding accolades I receive because they come directly from the people who invite me into their hearts every year. Providing my clients with the most enjoyable customer experience is the only thing as important to me as providing beautiful photographs, and this Hall of Fame induction reaffirms that vision.”
About XO Group Inc.
â€¨XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO), is a global media and technology leader devoted to weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, providing young women with the trusted information, products and advice they need to guide them through the most transformative events of their lives. Our family of premium brands began with the #1 wedding brand, The Knot, and has grown to include WeddingChannel.com, The Nest, The Bump, TheBlush.com and Ijie.com. XO Group is recognized by the industry for being innovative in all media â€“ from the web to social media and mobile, magazines and books, and video â€“ and our groundbreaking social platforms have ignited passionate communities across the world. XO Group has leveraged its customer loyalty into successful businesses in online sponsorship and advertising, registry services, ecommerce and publishing. The company is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange (XOXO) and is headquartered in New York City. Follow XO Group on Twitter @xogroupinc.
About Justin Hankins Photography
Justin Hankins is a Virginia-based photographer who travels around the world documenting the happiest moments in people’s lives. His work has earned an Accolade of Excellence by Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), is published widespread in books and magazines, and has earned the Best of Weddings nod five years in a row (2010-2014). The company is based in Virginia Beach.
CONTACT: Stephanie Fraiman
Public Relations Manager
The Knot Wedding Network
CONTACT: Justin Hankins
Justin Hankins Photography