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St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | conference
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The Life of a Wedding Planner: Engage 09

Engage 09 Something Blue


When you’re a wedding planner, people think that your job is so much “fun”(!!!), playing in pretty dresses and linens, picking lush  flowers for a centerpiece and choosing delectable seven tiered wedding cakes.  Many don’t view this line of “work” as work at all, let alone hard work.  While I and my colleagues know that nothing could be further from the truth, the following post will not help my case.

Engage09 Speakers  Engage 09 Speakers

In June, I attended the Engage!09 Luxury Wedding Business Summit in Grand Cayman, which is the brainchild of Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce of Engaging Concepts. There,  wedding professionals from literally across the globe were gathered to hear from experts such as the Wizard of Ahh’s himself, event designer Preston Bailey, wedding cake coutourier  Sylvia Weinstock, the fabulous Marcy Blum as well as editors of some of your favorite magazines such as The Knot, Brides, Modern Bride & Elegant Bride, as well as Martha Stewart Weddings.  The second day, we were able to have small group sessions with industry builders and advancers like former president of Preston Bailey Designs,  Sean Low, Randy Fenoli of TLC’s “Say Yes To the Dress” and Kleinfeld Bridal, beauty and brains Harmony Walton  of  The Bridal Bar (be sure to visit their new Bridal Bar Location in Atlanta, too!), the incomparable Michelle Rago, Bee Kim, the mastermind behind Wedding Bee, “style obsessed”  Abby Larson  of Style Me Pretty and so many more.  It was also great to see and support good friends who served as panelists as well like Liene Stevens of Think Splendid and Lara Casey of Southern Weddings and the new Lara Casey Reps.

cosmopolitan martini with lime creme brulee with berries

As planner, and being naturally fabulous, I had all of my outfits planned—with a few wardrobe changes in between (yes, I’m serious…I ran into Randy Fenoli  at one of the dinner parties and he exclaimed, ‘”Girl!  Did you change again!?”).  So imagine my horror when my luggage was delayed prior to the conference’s welcome party on the beach.  So there I was, stuck with what I had on since 4AM and what I like to call my “TSA approved 1 quart ziploc makeup bag”.  I shudder as I reminisce… Nevertheless, it turned out wonderfully!  I had a fabulous roommate—Monica  of The White Box of Wedding Design, and her husband was equally fabulous— I had a cosmo and creme brulee delivered to my room as a gift for,  and I quote “Taking care of his baby” while we were in Grand Cayman.  I know.  I should ask them to adopt me.  Monica was fabulous—we sat up most of the nights talking (sometimes via Skype with her husband) and laughing!

image Welcome Beach Party Orchid Bar Design by Michelle Rago fireworks over the beach engage09

The parties were absolutely gorgeous—it was so nice to be on the receiving end of great linens, design concept, florals and live music for a change.  It was funny, because during the beach party (which was literally on the beach, with a tiffany blue carpet to strut on and shoe valet), something dropped and I remember laughing as I and about 10 other wedding planners and vendors all raced to fix it and replace it before it was noticed.  Part of the job!  It was also great to meet friends I talk to daily but don’t get a chance to see often (some I had never met in person until now!)  and those that I consider friends after falling in love with them over martinis and 1 AM fries.  Yes, this totally includes my new BFF, Michael Landry of Gucci. Michael and I met serendipitously over a  Tortuga rum cake tasting, and I was just as lucky to have gone on to dinner with him and other professional at the exclusive dine-arounds, which ours was hosted by Randy Fenoli (Be sure to check out  Randy???s recap that includes pictures our dinner and fun times).

Ok, so enough chatting…how about some pictures?



Engage09 lunch menu mozzerella, tomato and bruscetta

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You know I’m a total foodie—had to get pictures of our lunch!


orchid and white rose arrangementGorgeous arrangements and linen from La Tavola Linen were staples of the conference

wedding planners marcy blum and michelle rago wedding planner terrica skaggs of fabuluxe in jekyll island georgia with event designer Preston Bailey

Marcy Blum, Michelle Rago and Preston Bailey and myself

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The final night of the conference was a stunning party with lighting, draping, huge hanging decor…you know, the things that a wedding planner or designer’s dreams are made of!

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love this picture, because it pretty much sums up the night—fabulous shoes (noticeably off due to all the dancing) and an empty champagne glass!

Eventology 2009

Photo :: JK Photography

I had the best time!  I was honored and humbled to speak at Eventology this year in Indianapolis, IN.  Planned by Katasha Butler of K. Sherrie + Co, I was able to speak alongside two women who I am so proud to call colleagues, but also lovingly call them friends:  Saundra Hadley of Planning…Forever Events and Liene Stevens of The Smart Planner.  It was really great to see Katasha’s vision come to fruition and to see so many planners and professionals reap the benefit of that vision in so many different ways.

Photo by JK Photography

It was really great to come face to face with so many people that I have interacted with for literally years.  To wrap your arms around some brilliant colleagues that you have laughed, cried and vented with was awesome.  Bill from Fabulous Events designed beautiful tables in some of my favorite colors—hot pink, tangerine and black, with the help of Deborah of A Bride’s Florist.?? Eventology was special because of the mutual respect of all the attendees for each other and the speakers.  It was great to get instant feedback, stories, and experiences of others during our time together.  Having attendees that came from across the country, it was interesting to see different methods of action, experiences and ideas.  Even as a speaker, I had an opportunity to learn so much from and through everyone, and am grateful to all of those that attended.

We were treated to a cocktail hour at the Omni Severin and a party at Club Six’s Milk Bar.  I didn’t get to stay long at the Milk Bar, as I wanted to be bright eyed and bushy-tailed to speak the following day, but the atmosphere was gorgeous.  Big snaps to la trabajadora, Eliana of By Your Side Events, who was able to get us some Nuvo for the party at Club Six.

There are great pictures every where on the net—the event’s official photographer, Jennifer Badalamenti of JK photography shared hers here, a recap from my fellow speaker, wedding planner sales genius (and friend) Saundra Hadley, Latrice of Opulent Events shared her experience, as did Aletha of Pearls Events, i do Signature Events, April Foster (finally, so happy to meet another glamazon like myself!) recapped, Amanda from Bliss Events was gracious enough to do a recap as well.

And of course…here are my not so official pictures…you know, where the party really is


Precious (I SO heart her) of Precious Nuptials and Destinations with Charles Penn of Le’ Penn Designs


Le’Trice and Charles Penn of Le’Penn Designs


Precious & Charles


Candice of Jubilee Events, Eliana (la trabajadora) of By Your Side Events, Kelly of Weddings By Socialites (rear) and Nicole Scott-Tate of Your Champagne Wishes (far right)


Candice & Eliana


Sukai of Dreamy Gelato (looking in her bag…her chocolates are so good,they should be illegal),Andria of Andria Lewis Events (in grey), Kay of Howerton-Wooten Events,


My two home skillets:  Jennifer of A Regal Affair and Saundra


LaKendra of Affairs of Elegance, Jeannine of Favor Events and Ami of Elizabeth Anne Designs


Le’Trice and my Engage!09 roomate, Monica of The White Box


Liene of The Smart Planner playing dress up. This was fun.


Everyone’s fabulous shoes—and me with my new couture line for the Spring a la “Huck Finn”.  In other words, I’m the one with the bare foot.



Liene and Ali Phillips (I SO heart her) of Engaging Events by Ali


We found a greasy spoon to eat at….Somebody bring me something deep friend and smothered in chocolate!



On the escalator after dinner


A big fat bowl of icing from Cinnabon. I believe that is all that needs to be said. Let us bask in its glory.


We were all taking bets on whether the flowers on the balcony were real.


Liene and Monica


Jen, me, Andria, Kelly, Saundra, and Katasha of K. Sherrie + Co., and also the innovator of Eventology.


Saundra being an OG.  Katasha, visibly impressed.


Kelly tells the BEST stories. Period.

As you can see, we had an AWESOME time!  I can’t thank all of the attendees for listening to us and teaching us as well!  I truly look forward to see what opportunities and experiences open up for Eventology next year!

Next Up— in Grand Cayman in June!!

Eventology 2009: The Science of Wedding Business

I have the distinct honor of speaking at Eventology this year.  I am so blessed to have been asked by Katasha Butler of K. Sherrie & Co. to speak alongside such powerhouses as Saundra Hadley of Planning…Forever Events and Liene Stevens of Blue Orchid Designs.  Would you like to meet me in person? If it’s not still illegal in your state, get the details here!


wedding planner conference

Are you ready to take your wedding business to the next level?
Are you looking for ways to leverage your brand and increase your company’s reach?
Do you want your business to thrive regardless of the economy?

K Sherrie + Co is proud to present Eventology 2009, an intimate, collaborative and intensive business conference designed

especially for wedding planners. Eventology 2009 will bring you real-life, applicable marketing and business information to use to enhance your wedding planning business.

Three highly successful and renowned wedding planners will be discussing their insight and perspective on how to create and cultivate a prosperous wedding business.
Chat with Saundra Hadley of planning . . . forever events on How to Close the Deal: Sales Methods for the Wedding Industry.

Discuss how to Turn Brides into Fans: Nurturing Your Relationships with Clients with Terrica Skaggs of Fabuluxe, Inc. and iWed: International Network of Wedding Designers.

Learn how to Leverage Your Brand to Reach Today’s Bride: Marketing in a Post-Modern World with Liene Stevens of Blue Orchid Designs and The Smart Planner.

You do not want to miss this educational and networking workshop! Learn the science behind running a successful wedding business, as the reality is if you’re not running a profitable business, it’s just one big expensive hobby.

When: Tuesday, April 7 to Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Where: Indianapolis, Indiana at the Omni Severin Hotel
Cost: Early Bird registration is $150 and includes the networking event on Tuesday night and breakfast and lunch on Wednesday.
A select amount of rooms will be available at the Omni for the special Eventology rate of $115+tax per night. Space is limited for this conference.

Please sure to look for future announcements regarding the official launch of the Eventology 2009 website and Eventology 2009 blog.

To be included on the email list for Eventology 2009, please send an email to hello{at} with ‘Mailing List’ in the subject line.

A very special thanks to Tifany of Gourmet Invitations for the logo design!