Hello from NY Bridal Market! It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for me – from press proofing the new issue of Southern Weddings to Katharine’s wedding at Harvard to Salt Lake City for WedSmith and kicking off the MTH Tour to launching V3 and jetting off to The Breakers, I haven’t slowed down much. And now, here I am in my NYC hotel room catching a quick break from the runway to bring you this special post about a very exciting week at Engage! This was my fifth Engage! conference and second time as a speaker. Pinch me! I feel so honored to speak and even more elated to attend. I wrote a post on my daily Tumblr on the way there about preparing for Engage and how much this conference means to me. Rebecca Grinnals, Kathryn Arce and their incredible crew have created a genuine shift in the wedding world with this conference. I’m just so grateful to know them and for their constant encouragement. Emily joined me this time for an unforgettable week on Palm Beach at the Breakers Hotel. You can read Emily’s recaps of all the festivities here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3. Since she covered all the speakers and fabulous goodies, I’m going to tell you a little more about what made this Engage! so special for me. I’ve been known to write a Mega Post or 4 (Past recaps: Engage08 :: Celebration, Engage09 :: Cayman MegaPost!, Engage09 :: Encore Las Vegas, Engage!10 :: Grand Cayman), so this time I put together a little something special with my friends Lori and Matt of I Do Films and Stevi Savage from Avery House. I was super sick the whole week of Engage!10 Breakers, but the atmosphere made me forget. (Hence the puffy eyes and lack o’ voice in what you are about to view.) Enjoy, y’all!
A few highlights from this magical week:
V3 makes its debut!
There was so much going on at Engage – great friends, so much learning, new friends, stunning scenery – (and I was perhaps taking a lot of Sudafed to keep the sniffles away) that I didn’t have much time for the big launch to sink in. I’m still not sure it really has. I haven’t been home for more than a few days since the beginning of October! In the brief free moments I had, it was wonderful to reflect on all the hard work Katharine, Emily and I put into V3. I’m so happy with the heart of what we created together.
Day one kicked off with a great welcome session led by my roomie, Harmony Walton of the Bridal Bar, Ali Phillips of Engaging Events by Ali, Lienne Stevens of Think Splendid Communications, and Donna VonBruening of DBV Photographers — all six-time attendees sharing their accumulated wisdom as to how to get the most from the conference. We broke into small groups to get to know each other better. I was happy to help get the crowd excited and lead one of the groups.
Below with the beautiful Kathryn Arce. I don’t know how she and Rebecca outdo themselves every time! Seriously, can you start selling whatever magic potion you two use!?
The adorable swag bags packed with goodies from The Artcraft Company, Ashley Brooke Designs, Blue Magpie, CECI New York, Checkerboard, Christopher Confero, Engaging Concepts, Fuz, Gifts for the Good Life, GO! Tie the Knot kit, Laura Hooper Calligraphy, liveBooks, Louella Press, Mindy Weiss for Two’s Company, Momental Designs, OPI, Personal Wine, Ring Finger Studio, Sandals Resorts Flip Outs, Savannah Wedding Professionals, Simply You Creations, Superfine Bakery, The Breakers, The Sugar Suite, TullaBelles, WED by Caroline Long, and Wedding Cake Pedestals.
Whew! My favorite surprise was the lovely sketches done by my good friend Kristy Rice from Momental Designs.
Kristy is such a genuine, giving soul and a fabulous artist. I was so honored to be captured by her brush! Thank you so much, Kristy! You inspire me daily with your warmth and passion.
A little peek at my bed at The Breakers. I love the wave bedspread and pretty much everything in our room. I wanted to take it all home.
I am very grateful for the gentleman below, Chris Confero. He has been a close friend and support since we met at the first Making Things Happen conference in Watercolor. We enjoyed a fabulous “box lunch” in boxes designed by Smock and DK Designs. So fun!
With my dear friends, Simon T Bailey and Jeff Fowler. Love you both so much.
Like I said, read Emily’s recaps to fill in all the gorgeous gaps I’m missing: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3. There was so much goodness to enjoy! Fast forward to the closing night gala. I have genuinely never been so wowed by an event. WOW WOW WOW!
Can you believe this below!? Emily said it best: “To say that The Breakers culinary and design staff pulled out all the stops is really not doing it justice. When we entered the ballroom, there was a chandelier of hanging champagne glasses about twelve feet up in the air. Oh yes, and there were waiters on STILTS waiting to cut one down for you! I know this phrase is used a lot, but we all really couldn’t stop ooohing and aaaahing.” It was extraordinary!
Below with Carol Poon from Bride and Bloom and Harmony. SW!
Below with Marilyn from Inside Weddings and Christopher and Randy.
Table 8! — Brian Callaway of Callaway Gable, Laura Hooper, Beth Helmstetter, Alexandra Rembac of Sterling Engagements, Leslie Maynor of Fantasy Frostings, Carol Poon, Harmony, and Vanessa Van Wieren of Alchemy Fine Events & Invitations
My favorite moment all night… a slow spin around the dance floor with Randy to “Embraceable You”. He makes me love life more.
I’m not sure there is anyone who makes women feel more empowered than this man. He makes everyone feel beautiful.
And perhaps my favorite photograph… another slow spin around the dance floor with my friend, Jeff, who I met at Engage!09 :: Grand Cayman. I feel so blessed to have such great friends in my life. Thank you, Jeff, and the entire Breakers crew for making Engage!10 such an unforgettable experience!
If you’ve read any of my past recaps, you know how much going to this conference means to me. I attribute so much of our success and my personal growth to the roots Engage! has planted and to the friends I have met there. Rebecca and Kathryn, I am so grateful for all you do. Thank you for including me in the magic that is Engage! I am forever grateful!
For all the magic in action, watch these unbelievable edits from Cloud Nine Creative. Day 1:
Congrats to the bow tie giveaway winner, MiaMoreFoto. Email me to pic your bow! Up next, leave a comment telling me what you are most excited about in 2011 (yes, sir, it’s only 11 weeks away!) and win one of my travel essentials.
I’m about to embark on so much travel it makes my head spin and I couldn’t live without these. The amazing folks at Skullcandy, Red Envelope, SmartWater, Cliff Bars (Luna Bars), and Molton Brown are once again giving me one of each of the following to giveaway! So, tell me what excites you about 2011/what you want most in the new year!