Engage!08 Wedding Conference Recap :: Part 1

Monday, June 16, 2008

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Earlier this year, Rebecca Grinnals of Engaging Concepts, invited me to speak at Engage!08, a wedding conference she was putting on for wedding professionals working in the luxury weddings market. So earlier this month, I headed out to Florida for a couple of days of fun - all in the name of work, of course. I've been waiting to blog about it until some others had so that I could steal their photos and showcase them here since I forgot to bring a camera along. There's lots to share, so I'll be breaking it up over the next couple of days.

When I arrived on Monday afternoon, Rebecca's husband Patrick and their friend Rochelle met me at the Orlando airport, complete with a cute little sign. I knew I was in for being spoiled when I got in the car and they had my choice of caffeine in a little cooler since they knew I had been up since three o'clock that morning. Southern hospitality at its finest and they truly made me feel welcome and relaxed. Thanks, Patrick and Rochelle! Rochelle is on the right in this photo, where she's chatting with Rebecca's parents at the kickoff reception:

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That first evening, there was a reception for all the attendees, held in the lobby bar of the Celebration Hotel.

wedding business symposium - engage!08

wedding cocktail

wedding appetizers


I was really struck by how humble almost everyone who attended this conference was. There can be a lot of ego in the wedding industry, and it was so refreshing and encouraging to be in a room full of successful people who don't act like the queen or king bees of the wedding industry, even though many of them could probably rightly lay claim to that title. Here are some of the fun and inspiring people I met while I was there:

Anayda, catering director for the Sundy House; Erin, the events manager at the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine and a bride-to-be herself, and Nicole, the catering director at our host venue, The Celebration Hotel:

wedding business seminar


Trisha Hay is a graphic designer who lives in the little town of Celebration, where Engage!08 was held. She was responsible for several of the graphic design elements at the conference. She also has a blog called Black White Bliss which she calls "an obsessive collective of all {design} things black, white and a few shades in between". Needless to say, I love it.

wedding business seminar


Me, being ridiculous because I hate having my photo taken. Standing next to me is Susan Moynihan from Destination Weddings and Honeymoons magazine. She also spoke at the conference and shared a lot of great advice for wedding vendors who want to work more with magazines and other publishers.

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The amazing photographer, Stacey Kane. Stacey, along with Dianna Fletcher of Fletcher Media, totally saved me when I was in a bind at the airport going home. Seriously, ladies, call me whenever you come through Phoenix - lunch is on me. For life.

engage08 wedding conference


Kathryn Arce
is the managing director of Engaging Concepts and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help make everything happen for Engage!08. There is so much I could say about this woman - she is amazing, gracious, and fun. If you ever get the chance to meet her, be sure you do!

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And of course, Preston Bailey and Rebecca Grinnals, the founder of Engaging Concepts, herself:

engage08 wedding business conference


Okay, this is getting long and there's lots more to cover! Check back tomorrow for more!

photographs courtesy Darice Michelle

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