The Be Sage 2016 conference took place in Los Cabos, Mexico at the luxurious Secrets Resort, November 14-17, 2016. There were 60 plus attendees from all over, along with local Mexican wedding industry business owners. Sage Wedding Pros personally vetted 10 amazing speakers who poured into us over the course of the conference.
The conference opened with a Welcome Fiesta the evening prior to our first full day of sessions. We were able to relax, network, dance, and prepare for the education ahead. When in Mexico, you party as a local. This means signature margaritas, churros, mariachi band, and festive decor. We even ending the night with the trending mannequin challenge, check out Sage Wedding Pro Insta page for the video (so much fun)! Aisle Planner began the swag love by provided authentic Mexican Blanket for the evening soiree. Over the next few days, we were greeted with place setting swag in the morning and after lunch. We received awesome prints for the office, bookmarks, a Mexican bowl with recipes, notebooks, a tote bag, fun nametags, coupons for several different business services, and more. Oh, can’t forget about the pre-conference swag. Received via postal mail there was a Guesterly book with the speaker’s and attendee’s info, personal invitations to the Flora Farms Party, and a fun StudioWed box with goodies for fun in the Sun.
Our first full day of sessions begin with Michelle, Co-Founder of Sage Wedding Pros, challenging us to search for what our 2017 commitment would be. We were asked to pick one personal & one professional commitment to share at the end of the conference. After her opening, we had five speakers share their expertise on the following topics:
- The Science of Happiness & How it Can Better Your Business – Nataly Kogan, Happier
- Become an Epic Expert & Gain New Opportunities – Felecia Hatcher, Code Fever Miami
- How to Get Out of the Wedding Box & Expand Your Business – Jesi Haack, Jesi Haack Design
- How to Put Your Team First, Ahead of Clients & Profitability – Denise Silverman, CLINK
- How to Grow Your Business With Other People’s Money – John Scrofrano, Garmentory
Session day two began with the Meeting of the Minds breakfast. This was one of my favorite parts of the conference because the attendees and speakers were able to have an open forum to discuss any topic brought forward. We shared business woes and wows. If there was one thing I wish we had more of during the conference, it was the daily Meeting of the Minds sessions. After breakfast, we headed to the conference room for the remaining five presentations. The topics were:
- Ways That Your Online Communications are Missing the Mark – Christy Weber, Action & Co
- How to Sell Digital & Physical Products Online – Katie Hunt, Tradeshow Bootcamp
- How to Surprise & Delight Clients and Prospects – Mari Carmen Obregon, El Efecto WOW
- Position Your Business for Tomorrow’s Brides w/Social Media – Heather Hall, Maid of Social
- How the Sharing Economy is Disrupting the Business World – Gretchen Culver, Rocket Science Weddings & Events
After the second day sessions, it was time to get dolled up for the Farewell Party at the breathtaking Flora Farms. This was another favorite for me because we were able to bring our spouses along for an evening under the stars & lights. Flora Farms is a ten-acre organic farm with a restaurant, retail shops, several private event locations, and beautiful residential cottages.
This conference is ideal for experienced wedding business owners looking to grow their business to the next level. As I’m entering into my fifth year in business (my fist year being full time), I knew I needed a conference that spoke to the business, not the creative side. I’ve heard from others who’ve attended that this is what I would receive and they were right.
I know how to get a bride down the aisle with my eyes closed, how to do a timeline, and how to conduct a consultation. I needed the “now what part” answered. How to properly grow and maintain a team, how to plan financially in the off-season – things like this were the things I’ve learned. Compared to other conferences I’ve attended, Be Sage provided the intimacy I desired and the growth tactics I needed as a business owner. Other conferences often have too many topics going simultaneously, too much inspiration chatter, and surface talk.
My top takeaways from the conference were:
- Don’t market to a specific area but to a specific group. – Jesi Haack
- Allow your team members to have a voice within your company, this will make them stay -Denise Silverman
- Think about the story you want written about you. What is your legacy? – Felecia Hatcher
- When selecting digital and physical products, add things that are complimentary to your existing business. – Katie Hunt
- “What will you do to commit to your 2017 commitment? – Michelle Loretta My answer was the takeaway: remove things taking up headspace from me meeting my goals.
This was my first Be Sage conference and surely will not me my last. The 2017 conference is taking place in my backyard, South Carolina, so it’s a no-brainer for me. Hope to see yall there (in my Southern accent). I would highly recommend this conference to wedding business owners, not just planners, with a focus on growing the backend of the business.
Ashley Miller is an Atlanta-based Wedding Director and Educator for Wedding Creatives. She experiences true joy when assisting her wedding clients through the unknown of the wedding world and seeing novice Wedding Planners on the road to building empires. Keep up with Ashley on Instagram, @BlushEventComp or @WeddingCreativeSessions
Recap Video: https://vimeo.com/193593575