Engage!08: The EncoreThursday, October 16, 2008
This week was Engage!08: The Encore at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando, Florida. Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Engaging Concepts put on their second symposium for luxury wedding professionals (the first was in June).
This isn’t a seminar to come to if you want to learn the latest in wedding design trends or how to structure your timelines more effectively. The Engage tagline is “where passion meets profit” and Tuesday was packed with educational sessions with the speakers presenting meaty advice on the business aspect of the wedding industry. The event was sold out at 80 attendees from 20 states and 5 countries. Rebecca and Kathryn purposely keep the numbers at Engage low so that people can get the most out of it.
It was so great to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones and discuss issues pertaining to our particular segment of the wedding industry. There’s a lot of mediocrity in the wedding industry and the Engage conferences truly are a breath of fresh air. If you want to learn more about the business of weddings, this is the conference I recommend. It is more expensive than the other wedding conferences out there, but as we all know - you get what you pay for. I encourage you all to make the next Engage! a priority in your budgets. It will pay itself back tenfold.
Here are some of my personal highlights:
I finally got to meet the lovely Emilie Sommer, a wedding photographer in Maine. Emilie and I have been reading each other’s blogs for quite a while now and it was great to be able to connect a real live face with a name. She's also my new accountability partner from an assignment from one of the sessions, so I know I can't duck out of that one!
Bee Kim from Weddingbee spoke on a PR panel in one of the afternoon sessions. She is another person whom I know via my email inbox and of course her website, and it was great to chat and talk shop for a bit on Tuesday evening. We took the photo above with my iPhone after a long day, a yummy dinner and several glasses of wine, so forgive us if we don't look our most glam - we were exhausted! In case you may have missed it, Bee recently made wedding industry headlines with the sale of Weddingbee to eHarmony (a company which accounts for 2% of American weddings). She’ll stay on as publisher and I personally am excited to see what’s in store for the site. Congratulations again, Bee!
We also heard from Carley Roney and David Liu, husband and wife founders of The Knot. I had the chance to have lunch with David and the opportunity to chat with Carley and I can now say first hand that they are both amazing. I have a lot more respect for their company and brand after meeting them than I even did before. They were very candid and straightforward (something I appreciate as I'm sure you can all imagine). And I loved that even though they are now a company of 450 people, they both still have the passion and dedication of the small four person company they started as only 12 years ago.
Okay, that is only a small taste of Engage!08: The Encore, but this post is getting long and I need to wrap it up. Definitely make it a point to attend in the future. There is just something about brainstorming and networking with others who take their businesses seriously and don't just treat it as a hobby or a prescription for being a bored stay-at-home housewife that helps motivate and push you forward to the next level in your business.
I hope to meet more of you at Engage!09!
photos via my iphone and DVB Photography