It has been weeks since I returned from this AMAZING event, and I have been meaning to blog about it ever since. However, between the Halloween duties of the creative mom and the official Costa Rica wedding season jumping off, it took longer than expected.
Engage Encore 09 was a symposium of the luxury wedding market. It was a gathering of the "best of the best" discussing trends, statistics, savvy business tactics, and the state of the industry. But more importantly it was a great opportunity to meet tons of fabulous professionals in the field, learn from them, connect with a handshake or hug someone whom you previously only had a "twitter" relationship with and just be inspired by all the creativity floating around in the building.
Here are the highlights:
The event took place at the beautiful Wynn Encore Hotel and Casino
Attendees were greeted with great swag bags full of magazines, books, and a beautiful orchid corsage made by Bella Designs. They also all included a mini Sylvia Wienstock cake!
That same evening we had a cocktail party at the brand new Wynn's Spa- we were the very first event to ever party in this venue. The place was, in a word, ridiculous (in the best sense of the word). By far the most beautiful spa I have ever been in- see for yourself.
The next day we had a full schedule of key note speakers, none of which were anything but inspiring and I am personally thankful to each and every one of them. Here is who filled our brains with food for thought.
Kathy Smith Marketing director at The Knot "The Mega Marketing Wedding Geniuses"
Simon T. Bailey Inspirational speaker and at Engage this year- Therapist to overworked wedding planners! he had us thinking deep and opening up. It was awakening and fun- he is one Hyper guy!
Marcy Blum- Eventiste extraordinaire! I loved what advice she shared with us and it was probably the most heartwarming. She was very clear that wasting time on things like PR and trying to get in a magazine is not what makes a good planner. Concentrating on your clients and applying your craft is what matters. I have lived by this philosophy for so long. My business is 100% referral. I have never paid for advertising, nor would I ever even dream of wasting money on a publicist. SO many planners do this so they can be in a Wedding mag, or on someone's creme de la creme list. I simply plan and design and put every ounce of energy into making that perfect day. Luckily we have been in magazines, not by submission, or some PR firm, but just luck and the kindness of editors who've sought us out. Marcy's words made me feel like Tropical Occasions is on right path, putting our clients first. I'd really like to thank her for the reassurance that what we do as planners is not measured by our media exposure, but by the praise of the clients who have hired us!
Sean Low, the Business mind behind the iconic Preston Bailey and founder of The Business of Being Creative. This man is a business guru- hands down, he'd be a shoe in if he competed on "The Apprentice"! He asks the hard questions, prompting you to make sure that your business is not only creative, but a true reflection of you!
Todd Avery Lenahan, head deisgner and mastermind of ABA, blew us away with his presentation on design and the entire story of how he created the Wynn Encore- he is light years beyond anything you can imagine when it comes to design. A true trend setter.
Also cannot fail to mention that the lovely Sylvia Wienstock was there to learn avec moi. She is such a sweet lady and her husband attended as well. Here I am with Sylvia along with Kretice Crowson of Mountain Occasions . For those of you who don't know, Mountain Occasions is Tropical Occasions' "sister" and US based planning company.
The evening reception was held at the super chic Blush Nightclub- LOVED the lighting in there. Kept thinking it would be a great venue for a future event!- Todd Avery Lenahan designed every square inch of the hotel, this room included, so hat's off to you again Todd!
We had a great photo booth created by Love Life Images- which was also dominated by Randy Fenoli- he was also the best dressed- even with the 100+ fabulous female event planners in attendance!
Here are some of the fabulous people whom I now call friends!
The gorgeous power house (AKA Lara Casey) editor of Southern Weddings, founder of Lara Casey Reps, and in her spare time...event planner extraordinaire of the Bliss Event Group. to the right again, of course, Randy!
Last and certainly not least, the two woman who brought this amazing group of individuals together, so we could learn, share, and have a blast, the lovely Rebecca Grinnals and Katherine Arce. Thank you so much, I had a blast and I can't wait to see you both at Engage 2010!
To all the other attendees- each and every one of you are now my extended family. We understand one another and we all share that wacky passion for this industry. I look forward to seeing you all again- until then, may the force be with you and Plan On!!, my wild tribe of event enthusiasts!