Coterie Retreat

Two Splendid Announcements

A few Splendid announcements to share:


I’ll be speaking at the Coterie Retreat in Bermuda this December, along with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, actress and comedian Yvonne Orji of HBO’s Insecure, celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine, event designer Eddie Zaratsian, and more.

The Coterie Retreat was started by Jackie and Chike Nwobu, publishers of Munaluchi Bride magazine, and is for wedding pros focused on the multicultural and destination wedding markets. Coterie is one of my favorite wedding industry conferences. The entire experience is unpretentious, encouragement is candid and authentic, every speaker shares useful, practical knowledge, and because it's limited to just 100ish people, it's the perfect setting to network and make new industry friends while never feeling overlooked or left out.

You can learn more and register here.


The Well-Paid Wedding Pro, the ultimate pricing guide for the wedding industry, releases on November 1st, which means you have less than a week to take advantage of the special pre-order price! This is the only time it will ever be sold at a discount.

The Well-Paid Wedding Pro is everything I know about pricing for the wedding industry from my years as a consultant to wedding industry leaders. Everything. 

No gimmicks: no “one size fits all” pricing solutions, no “I won’t get out of bed for less than $20k” out-of-touch statements, no holding back information so you’ll hire me as your business consultant, no bait and switch to get you to buy something else, and no signing up for an email list you can never seem to get off of. Just valuable strategies and insights you can use to price with confidence, get paid what you’re worth, and turn a profit.

You can learn more about what’s included in this 100+ page Splendid Guidebook and pre-order here!

The Well-Paid Wedding Pro

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I'm excited to share that I'll be speaking at the Coterie Retreat in Bermuda this year. The Coterie Retreat is the wedding industry conference produced by the brilliant team at Munaluchi Bride, and focuses on companies who work with couples in the multicultural wedding market. Most of the attendees work in the Premium, Luxury, and Ultra Luxury segments of the wedding market and come from around the world. If you work in (or want to break into) the multicultural and/or destination wedding markets, this is the conference for you.

This year's event will be held in December at the iconic Fairmont Hamilton Princess, Bermuda's only luxury urban resort – a perfect chance to trade in freezing snow for warm beaches. You can read more about my experience at The Coterie Retreat in Johannesburg, South Africa last year, but suffice to say it was one of my favorite conferences I've ever participated in.

The entire experience was unpretentious, encouragement was candid and authentic, every speaker shared useful, practical knowledge (Preston Bailey even shared a spreadsheet with cost and pricing breakdowns from one of his events), and because it's limited to just 100ish people, it's the perfect setting to network and make new industry friends while never feeling overlooked or left out.

A perfect spot at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess to recharge and make plans for your 2019 wedding season. Photo via  @PrincessBermuda .

A perfect spot at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess to recharge and make plans for your 2019 wedding season. Photo via @PrincessBermuda.

My session this year is called “The Well-Paid Wedding Pro: Profitable Pricing Strategies.” As a wedding industry business consultant, pricing is the number one question I get asked about from clients, conference attendees, and wedding professionals from around the world, and this talk is designed to give you real-world, tried and true strategies. No hypotheticals, no “it worked once and then never again” theories, and no “here is how Starbucks does it, just copy them” not-so-useful advice.
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I’ll be demystifying the “How do I charge so that I can actually make real money and have a life” question as well as the “WTF happened? No one wants to pay my rate anymore and it never used to be a problem” situation.

We’ll cover what works (and what doesn’t) for each industry segment (no more trying to make planner or photographer pricing models fit your floral business, etc), different norms you’ll face in multi-cultural and destination markets (comfort levels around talking about money, negotiating expectations, etc), as well as the various stages and opportunities you might be considering pursuing (mass market vs luxury, licensing, franchising, wholesale, etc).

And of course no wedding pricing conversation would be complete without discussing that hot button topic: kickbacks.
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If you’d like to get your pricing straight – and enjoy some of that Bermuda sunshine – visit coterieretreat.com for more info and to register and follow them on Instagram to see the rest of the speaker line up announcements. Can’t wait to see you there!

Insights from the Coterie Retreat in South Africa

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At the beginning of December, I hopped on a plane en route to my last speaking engagement of 2017. About 24 hours later, I landed in Johannesburg, South Africa where I spent the next five days at the Coterie Retreat, reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. 

The Coterie Retreat is the wedding industry conference produced by the brilliant team at Munaluchi Bride, and focuses on companies who work with couples in the multicultural wedding market. Most of the attendees work in the Premium, Luxury, and Ultra Luxury segments of the wedding market and came from around the world. 

Nigeria has been the fastest growing wedding market in the world year over year since 2011 (followed by Lebanon and Brazil) – leading in both standard and luxury wedding spend (where it is not uncommon among luxury circles to view a $400,000 USD wedding budget as "stingy") – so I was happy to see one of the top global wedding industry conferences taking place in Africa.

As Coterie Retreat co-founder Jackie Nwobu said, "Africa . . . has many misguided perceptions due to the representation in the media." One of these misguided perceptions is that the top industry talent is elsewhere, and needs to be brought in from Europe, North America, or the Middle East to produce a wedding to magazine-quality luxury standards. I love that Jackie and her team chose to showcase not just to attendees, but to the industry globally via social media, the level of competition that wedding professionals living in African countries have to offer. Every evening party was produced by local planners and designers in collaboration with local florists, caterers, musicians, etc. The live opera singer at the closing gala was second to none. 

The speakers at the event included Eddie Zaratsian, Preston Bailey, Miguel Wilson, Elizabeth Messina, Christina Holt, and Karli Harvey Raymond, among a list of others. Eddie kicked off the conference with a vulnerable talk about ending a business deal that was no longer creatively fulfilling, and set the tone for a week full of insightful, open conversations. Every speaker shared useful, practical knowledge, and Preston Bailey even shared a spreadsheet with cost and pricing breakdowns from one of his events. It was easily the most unpretentious conference experience I've ever participated in, which helped create a magic that was unbeatable.

On Tuesday, I spoke about WedType, the wedding buyer behavioral model I've been working on for the past four years and unveiled earlier this year, and how wedding professionals could effectively sell to engaged couples based on key personality shifts during this milestone stage, and how to best work with them and their families during the entire wedding planning process.

What I liked most about the Coterie Retreat was how dedicated everyone was to everyone else's success. There was no hollow cheerleaderism, but instead authentic encouragement. Conversations and feedback were candid. If someone had an idea that wasn't necessarily going to flourish, others did not pour empty praise on it. They were quick to not only point out roadblocks, but offered solutions on how to to navigate around them, or gave an alternate path to consider. 

2017 has been an abnormal, uncertain year for many in the wedding business, not just in the United States. That said, the wedding industry is not even close to dying, as some have speculated. Your business strategy just needs to evolve again – just like it had to in 2008, in 2001, and, if you were around, like it had to in 1993. The theme for this year's Coterie Retreat was "expanding the boundaries, together," and that practice is exactly what wedding pros will need to do in order to move forward and grow over the next several years in ways that are sustainable, both financially and creatively.


Photo of bridal fashion designer (and Coterie Retreat speaker) Yemi Osunkoyah from Kosibah with a model wearing one of his dresses at the runway show held during the welcome party at Waterfall at Tintswalo.
Photo by Elizabeth Messina (with her iPhone), Event Planner: Precious Tumisho Thamaga of Precious Celebrations, Floral Designer: Maison De Fleur, Floral Distributer: Yes! Exclusive Flowers, Furniture: Lounge Around, Entertainment: DJ Isaac, Lighting & Staging: Blackmotion