Oct 17, 2010


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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!

Southern Weddings Magazine from I Do Films on Vimeo.

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!?

With Emily and Ceci Johnson of CECI New York

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.

Walking the pink carpet with Emily, Todd of todd.events, Randy Fenoli, Laurie Arons, and my bud, Jeff from The Breakers.  Loving Emily’s outfit from Florida-based designer, Caroline Long.

Below :: Cortnie Purdy of Canvas and Canopy Events, my roomie Harmony Walton of The Bridal Bar and Lindsay Pitt of TOAST Events who has a gorgeous spread in V3!

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.

At the dessert reception with stunning Marcy Blum, Mel Barlow, Jeff from The Breakers, Emily and Harmony.

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.

Below with Sharon Alexander of Sweet Sensations.  She makes the best red velvet cake on earth, y’all!

Below with Jeff from The Breakers, Cameron Keating from The Breakers, Edward Neary of Joseph Edwards Wedding Filmmakers, and gorgeous Miss Emily!

With Todd Fiscus, and Xoua Vang of Preston Bailey Designs.

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.

Two of my favorite men in weddings below: Anthony Luscia from Martha Stewart Weddings and Randy from Say Yes to the Dress.

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!

Images courtesy of Avery House, DVB Photographers, Mel Barlow, my iPhone and my LX3.

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:

Engage 10 {Day One} from Cloud Nine Creative on Vimeo.

Day 2:

Engage ’10 {Day 2 + 3} from Cloud Nine Creative on Vimeo.

OK, dashing back to the runway y’all! Follow me on Twitter for all the bridal market goodness. Here are a few behind-the-scenes pics to tide you over before it all hits the blog!

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!


  1. Marni Gold on October 17, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Lara, I always enjoy your heartfelt posts full of respect and admiration for those who inspire you. As for what i’m excited for in the next year? I look forward to watching my son Ben continue to grow and change before my eyes and I look forward to continue to grow and be a better, more inspired professional.

  2. Lisa Tilley-Newman on October 17, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    2011 is going to be full of excitement. My sister’s expecting her first baby in January, my best friend is getting married in October, and my little girl (2 1/2) excites me every day of my life, so I’m sure that will continue in 2011 as well 🙂

  3. Leika on October 18, 2010 at 9:04 am

    I’m looking forward to becoming an aunt for the first time — my little niece or nephew will be making an appearance in April!!

  4. Nicole Black on October 18, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Wonderful post Lara! I am super excited for 2011 because of my new website & blog. I have that feeling that good things are going to happen – I should probably buy a lotto ticket!

  5. Allison on October 18, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I’m looking forward to getting married in 2011!

  6. feuza on October 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Lara the video made me tear up~ love to hear you speak and your passion, love that you wearing a baseball cap, dressed casual and still look great, so down to earth you are.
    2011 is exciting because number one of the this awesome wedding I just booked today and the bride said I was her first vendor and got teary eye with that too, the uknown is also excited, don’t too many plans but know the year will unveil itself and pray that it is an awesome amazing year that I get to obtain my goals.
    thanks for the inspiration always

  7. Erin Faye on October 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I am looking forward to continuing to grow my photography business, and to just see where life takes me!

  8. Jennine G-L on October 19, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I’m looking forward to going back and finishing grad school.

  9. Geomyra on October 20, 2010 at 8:33 am

    I am super excited about the possibilites that await me in 2011. I am excited to watch my daughter grow, and my mother fully recover from her battle with breast cancer. I am nervous, but can’t wait to embark on a new year and new begininngs.

  10. Jennifer | ZinchukFilms on October 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Oh, I’m so excited for life in 2011! The last couple years have been fun but a little rough and I’ve finally gotten direction in my life and in our business. I’m excited to see so much hard work come to fruition–and I hope that my hubs and I can take a personal vacation this year 🙂

  11. Elizabeth on October 20, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    For 2011, I think I am most excited about watching my business grow and the new clients I’ll meet. Oh and attending an Engage! 🙂

  12. Julie Fioretti on October 21, 2010 at 10:12 am

    2011 will be the year that we buy a house/studio. We have big plans and goals for the next year! Very excited!

  13. Angela Morgan on October 22, 2010 at 11:25 am

    In 2011, I am most excited about walking down the aisle as a June bride to marry the man of my dreams and I would love by Christmas 2011 to be on our way to adding to our family with baby news. 🙂

  14. Terrica on October 22, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    For 2011, I’m looking forward most to an opportunity to recharge, reconnect and re-emerge. 2010 has been a crazy year, but I love the saying “The caterpillar thought the world was over and almost gave up…and then it became a butterfly”. Looking forward to sprinkling…no, completely DOUSING 2011 with some fabulous!

  15. Lauren gray on October 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Marrying my best friend! So excited for the celebration of love after 7 years together!

  16. Nicola on October 23, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Every year is new and exciting but 2011 is going to be an amazing year, me and my husband are in training for the Great North Run Newcastle Upon Tyne We are also going to start the process of being foster parents. Im looking forward to the new challenges and experiences along the way no matter what happens its going to be exciting. x

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