I recently had the pleasure of attending the Oh So Inspired retreat in beautiful Sonoma, CA. Oh So Inspired is a creative retreat for wedding and event pros, with an emphasis on the luxury market. About forty attendees from all over the country (and Canada & Malaysia too!) experienced three days full of education, inspiration, and some unexpected pampering!
Oh So Inspired is the brainchild Kelly McLeskey-Dolata, Nancy Liu Chin, and Mary Phan, and these ladies really know how to put on a top notch event!
Each day of the workshop was divided between morning speaker sessions and afternoon hands-on education. Mid-day, we were treated to delicious lunches by Ramekins, also our host venue.
The speaker line-up was robust and varied. Marley Majcher opened the workshop with an inspiring talk about “Where We Are Headed?” – a perfect blend of tough love real talk and hilarity – as is Marley’s trademark.
We also heard from Leila Lewis (Be Inspired PR) on the power of email as public relations, Kellee Khalil on the origins of her company, Loverly; and Caitlin Kruse of The Glitter Guide with social media tips and tricks. In the afternoon, we had our choice of a sketch class with Mary Phan or Brush Lettering with Victoria Rothwell from Design House of Moira. I chose watercolor and it was so much fun, and actually quite relaxing. I don’t think I’ll be displayed in a gallery any time soon, but it’s not bad for my first try!
Every night, we had a dinner or a party to attend, and it was so wonderful to be just a guest. We were hosted at La Tavola linen showroom in Napa, and it was gorgeous! Dinner was absolutely delicious, catered by the amazing Paula Le Duc Catering. I am seriously still dreaming about the deviled egg bar. So yummy!
Second-day speaker highlights included Sean Low, always interesting and provocative with his thoughts on pricing and business structure; Kristen Ley of Thimblepress on how to create an authentic brand; and Donna Caplan of Primeamerica Financial Services with some sound advice on retirement planning.
After another delicious lunch at Ramekins, we heard from the very inspiring Cristine Thomas, from Today’s Bride Magazine. Cristine spoke about the importance putting your product or service into the hands of those who need them, and thinking of sales in a new and positive way! She also helped us clarify our “elevator pitch”, always an essential skill. Also this afternoon, I opted for the hands-on floral session with Nancy Liu Chin. Nancy instructed us on how to create a hanging floral installation. It was much simpler than I imagined it would be, and fun as well. We all worked together as a team, and the end result was just so beautiful!
Later that night, we were treated to a wonderful Spa Party at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. Foot and back massages, speciality cocktails, awesome DJ, and sushi for dinner! Needless to say, we were all so relaxed and it was an amazing night. So amazing, I didn’t take any photos. It was the perfect night of pampering after the long, busy wedding seasons we had all just finished!
Our last morning of education began with the amazing Marcy Blum, who spoke about what we should learn before targeting the luxury wedding market. Marcy is so savvy; hearing from her was truly the highlight of the workshop.
For most attendees, that afternoon was the “Inspiration to Design Challenge”, where we were divided into teams and tasked with creating a beautiful tablescape and a backstory to accompany the design. However, I missed the challenge because I was getting my hair & makeup done for my headshots, another great perk of attending Oh So Inspired!
We celebrated our last night with a closing night dinner at Cornerstone. We enjoyed another fantastic meal by Ramekins, and we danced the night away – something most of us NEVER get to do when we are working! Kelly & Nancy really outdid themselves with the styling and florals. It was truly a gorgeous night and such a special way to end our time together.
It was a jam-packed three days of learning and growing and community and friendships. I am so glad I made the investment in myself and my business by attending Oh So Inspired. Not only was it educational and inspiring, it was relaxing and restorative.
I would absolutely attend Oh So Inspired in the future, and I would recommend it to anyone without hesitation.
If you are interested in the video of my time at OSI, check out my Katch channel where you can see footage from all the parties, the unboxing of my swag bag, and some of the speakers too!
This is a guest post from Renee Dalo. Renee is the owner and lead planner at Moxie Bright Events. A born and raised New Yorker, she now makes her home in Los Angeles with her handsome husband, two scruffy dogs, and one elegant cat. Before Renée became an event planner, she was a theatre producer, director and actor. Her favorite events are the ones that marry (pun intended) all the pretty and the personal details with a flair for the dramatic. She can’t say no to anything Kate Spade, a weekend getaway, or a well-made bellini.