I purposely didn’t set any expectations before I attended the Engage12 Luxury Wedding Business Summit last week. I wanted to connect and build relationships but really stayed open to any and all experiences from the conference.
“Blown Away” doesn’t even begin to describe my experience. I have attended many other industry conferences which were wonderful but nothing compared to Engage12. At this point in my planning business where we are heavily focused on the luxury market in our state, I couldn’t afford not to attend. Being in the room, hearing the top event planners speak and being able to share conversations with my industry idols such as Mindy Weiss, Todd Fiscus, David Beahm, Marcy Blum, Colin Cowie, Tara Guerard and Brian Rafanelli was a priceless experience.
The conference also featured well known and inspiring event industry leaders such as Sean Low, Cindy Novotny, Peter Callahan, Lara Casey, Sylvia Weinstock, Simon T. Bailey, Abby & Tait Larson and many more.
The Engage12 event is produced by Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce who are two of the sweetest women I have ever met. I can’t imagine the amount of time, effort and love they put into producing three days of events for the leaders in the wedding industry. In addition to the packed roster of amazing speakers, they produced one incredible party after another during the three day conference with the help of The Breakers Palm Beach. The Breakers was the beautiful and luxurious location for the entire conference.
My favorite quotes and lessons learned:
Simon T. Bailey
Author, Release Your Brilliance
President, Engaging Concepts
Strategic Consultant to the Wedding Industry
International Speaker and Motivator
Founder, Master Connection Associates
Celebrity Party Planner
Author, The Wedding Book
Editor in Chief, Brides.com
Tips for getting published:
Founder & Editor in Chief, Southern Weddings Magazine
Co-owner, Making Brands Happen
Speaker & Consultant
Author, Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
Author, Bite by Bite
Celebrity Event Designer
Celebrity Wedding Planner
Author, Southern Weddings: New Looks from the Old South
Author, Weddings by Tara Guerard
President, Business of Being Creative
I could write pages upon pages of all the take-away key points from so many wonderful speakers. I didn’t even mention half of them in this recap. I was surprised at the number of huge industry leaders who struggled this year in their businesses. They all dealt with losing key staff and with personal situations that affected their business. One planner touched everyone by sharing the loss his business experienced from Hurricane Sandy and how other planners helped out when his business needed it most.
I was also surprised to hear that some of these celebrity planners who have been in business for decades occasionally think about quitting and doing something different. Who knew?!
It was wonderful to hear that every wedding industry leader runs their business differently. One celebrity planner takes client calls at all hours of the night but also takes calls from her children while meeting with clients (and makes it clear to clients from the start that this is how she works). Another celebrity planner leaves the office by 6pm every night and doesn’t take any client calls in the evening. Some of our industry leaders have an in-house production team and do all of their own floral, decor and rentals while others have a small office and outsource all vendors (and these companies compete against each other all the time). There is no “right” or “wrong” way, even among the most talented and successful leaders in our industry.
If you are working in the luxury wedding market, you can’t afford NOT to attend an Engage conference in the future. The knowledge, connections and the experience are priceless.