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On the final morning of the conference we each chose four breakout sessions to attend.  I chose Todd Fiscus of, Maria McBride from BRIDES Magazine, and Tara Guerard and Liz Banfield.  My last session was the editors panel with Lara, Shira from Martha Stewart Weddings, Susan from Destination Weddings Magazine, Marilyn from Inside Weddings, Brooke from Weddings Unveiled, and Carol from The Bride & Bloom.  It was moderated by Michelle Rago (whom I now love) and they all did a fabulous job!  On a side note, it was so cool to see V3 out and about and in the hands of all of our industry buddies!  Though a little crazy, it was also a really neat experience to release the issue while we were at Engage!

After a social media panel by Lienne of Think Splendid, we had the afternoon to ourselves.  I spent mine by the pool :)  Soon enough, however, it was time to get gussied up, because the gala was about to begin!  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. 

Pictured below :: Lara, me and Harmony Walton; Jessica Lorren, Yesim Insel, Lara, and Sara Kauss; Lara and Sharon Alexander of Sweet Sensations; Lara, Todd Fiscus, and Xoua Vang of Preston Bailey Designs

Pictured above :: Lara, Jeff from The Breakers, Cameron Keating from The Breakers, Edward Neary of Joseph Edwards Wedding Filmmakers, and me; Melina Glavas from The Little Nell and Lara

Isn’t the decor just stunning?  Again, The Breakers staff truly outdid themselves.  Every table was different, but each was equally as fantastic.  As a paper nerd, I also loved the stationery — menus by CECI New York and calligraphy escort cards by Laura Hooper.  I was also thrilled to finally have a chance to connect with Tara Guerard and Charleston photographer Gayle Brooker the final evening.  I also sat next to Carol Poon of Bride & Bloom at dinner, and she was wonderfully friendly!

Dinner consisted of an individual raw bar, the choice of lamb or Chilean sea bass (the lamb was delicious!), and individual giant sundae bars.  We were also entertained at different times by a jazz band, dueling violinists, and STOMP-esque performers, all courtesy of Elan Entertainment.

Pictured below :: me, Jeff from The Breakers, and Lara; Anthony Luscia from Martha Stewart Weddings, Lara, and Randy from Say Yes to the Dress; our table — 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

The night ended with dancing, break dancing, mingling, some more eating in the adjoining ballroom-turned nightclub.  We also had the pleasure of screening Cloud Nine Creative’s GORGEOUS films from Days 2 + 3 of the conference.  Bruce and his team are so, so talented!

Watching the film really reminded everyone, I think, of what an amazing experience Engage! is.  This was my first time attending, and I was definitely nervous — would people like me?  Would I have anyone to talk to?  I needn’t have worried.  Unlike some other conferences I’d been to, it was SO easy to introduce yourself to anyone and to talk to everyone, even though some attendees were quite famous.  Others have said the same thing, but it’s so true — there really are no egos at Engage!  Everyone is there to learn and to teach, which makes for a magical experience all around.

To end, then, HUGE kudos to Rebecca and Kathryn, the geniuses behind Engage!  They do such an amazing job planning everything, and Lara and I are so thankful you allowed us to attend (and Lara to speak!).

On that note, if any vendor is thinking about attending a future Engage!, I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions.  Between me (first time attendee) and Lara (five-time attendee), we have all the bases covered!

All photos in this post are courtesy of Mel Barlow, DVB Photographers, Sara Kauss, Lara’s camera, or one of our iPhones!

Laura Hooper is a Southern Weddings sponsor.

emily Written with love by Emily

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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This might sound a bit strange, but I think breakfast on day 2 might have been my favorite meal of the entire trip.  Think I’m weird?  Here’s the rundown of what I had: oatmeal brulee, a fruit and yogurt spoonful, a mini skillet of scrambled eggs with sausage and peppers, banana beignets, and a custom mix from the juice bar.  Yummmm.  Plus, breakfast was outside in the Mediterranean Courtyard, which was beautiful!

We then headed into the Venetian Ballroom for a morning of sessions from fabulous speakers.  Paul Leone of The Breakers spoke first, then Rebecca spoke on the “state of the wedding industry.”  I think I took the most notes during her presentation!  After that we read from the hilarious and heartfelt Mindy Weiss, who spoke about “the good, the bad, and the ugly” in her career and the wedding industry.

After that it was time for a snack in the adjoining ballroom.  Let me tell you, these people don’t let you go hungry!  This time around, we had petit macarons and yogurt parfaits.  Delicious!

Snacktime was followed by a panel of design experts: Tara Guerard, Todd Fiscus, and David Beahm.  The things they are doing with events and flowers and lighting are truly spectacular!  Lastly that morning we listened to a dynamite presentation from business expert and road warrior Cindy Novotny

Pictured below :: Cortnie Purdy of Canvas and Canopy Events, Harmony Walton of The Bridal Bar, Lara, and Lindsay Pitt of TOAST Events; Chris Confero and Lara

We were then ushered into the spectacular Circle Room for lunch.  The room itself is breathtaking, and with the addition of gorgeous decor and a fabulous string quartet, the experience as a whole was magnificent.  Plus, I just about fainted from cuteness overload — yummy boxes?!  The work of Smock and DK Designs.  Oh yes, then I almost fainted again when I got to help THE Sylvia Weinstock decorate a cake.  For reals.

After lunch we headed back to the ballroom for a few more sessions.  First up was the hilarious and brutally honest Marcy Blum, who spoke largely off the cuff.  Next was a panel lead by Martha Stewart Weddings editor in chief Darcy Miller, who was speaking with Amy Atlas, Abby Larson, and photographer Donna NewmanThe Knot founder Carley Roney moderated the next panel of Randy Fenoli and stationery designer Ceci Johnson of CECI New York.  Finally, we ended the afternoon with a talk by Bryan Rafanelli of Rafanelli Events, and I am not exaggerating when I say he blew everyone away.  He was definitely my favorite speaker of the conference.  P.S. You may have heard of him — he designed a little thing called Chelsea Clinton’s wedding!

Oh yes, then there were some more snacks — orange-themed this time.  I thought of my dear Katharine when I spotted circus peanuts in the mix!

We ended the night with dine-arounds at a few of The Breakers’ fabulous restaurants.  I was thrilled to dine with Marilyn Oliveira of Inside Weddings and Siri Eklund, as well as fellow attendees Susan Murray, Julie Sabatino, Josh Madans, and Christine Gallagher.  After that, it was — you guessed it — time for more food at the dessert reception on the Ocean Lawn.  Annie Lee of Daughter of Design and I couldn’t get enough of the custom donut station — delicious!  I also enjoyed speaking with Tim O’Neill of the Piano Brothers — we love playing his CDs in the SW office!

Pictured above :: Marcy Blum, Mel Barlow, Jeff from The Breakers, Lara, me, and Harmony Walton

Back with more from the third and final day soon!

All photos in the post are from Mel Barlow, DVB Photographers, Lara’s camera, or one of our iPhones!

emily Written with love by Emily

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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As many of you know, last week Lara and I had the privilege of attending Engage!10 at The Breakers in Palm Beach.  She’ll be sharing her perspective on her blog soon, but asked me to recap the fabulous festivities here.  It was a delightful experience through and through, and I’m happy to do so!

Engage is a luxury wedding conference, and I could think of no better place to hold it than at The Breakers.  From the minute I stepped out of a cab from the airport to the moment I was hailed a cab to return to the airport, the service was impeccable — warm and friendly, knowledgeable, attentive without being pushy or stuffy.  A+++ to their entire staff.

I was immediately whisked right into a ballroom for the opening sessions.  Rebecca and Kathryn, the masterminds behind Engage! and Engaging Concepts, said a few words and then turned the mic over to 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.  Simon T. Bailey, motivational speaker extraordinaire, spoke next, and he was, as always, a hit with the crowd. 

We then had a mini breakout/introduction session, where I had the pleasure of meeting Amy Zaroff, Amy Atlas, and Heather Burge.  After much mingling, I was able to pick up my swag bag on the way back to my room, something I was very much looking forward to!  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, it did not disappoint.  Whew!

On to the photos, you say?  Okay!

Pictured above :: Lara, me, and Ceci Johnson of CECI New York

After refreshing in our rooms, Lara and I headed to a special cocktail party hosted in The Breaker’s beautiful Imperial Suite.  There, I was thrilled (and a little geeked out) to meet Abby and Tait Larson of Style Me Pretty, Michelle Rago, Ellen of Lehr & Black, Mindy Weiss, Susan of Destination Weddings Magazine, Marilyn from Inside Weddings Magazine, and Todd Fiscus, Texas’ hilarious and highly-talented event designer.  It was also lovely to catch up with SW fave Randy Fenoli, who NEVER disappoints!

After about an hour we headed down to the official welcome party, which was styled in Engage!10 : The Breakers offical colors of Palm Beach, pink and green.  It was a Lilly-lover’s paradise!  Throughout the few days we were there the food was delicious and deliciously styled, and the welcome reception was no exception. The mojito granitas were a particular hit, though my favorite app had to be the mini bites of spaghetti and meatballs piled on a spoon.  Truth: my mouth just watered when I typed that sentence.

Pictured below :: Harmony and Randy; Josh, Sara, and Todd of; and me, Todd, Lara, Randy, Laurie Arons, and Jeff from The Breakers.

I’ll be back with more from day 2 soon!

P.S. Like my outfit?  It’s a design from Caroline Long, who was so kind as to send it for my wearing pleasure! Check out her lovely line here — perfect for bridesmaids!

All photos courtesy of Mel Barlow and Allan Zepeda, DVB Photographers, Lara’s camera, or our iPhones!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
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    […] don’t you think?) You can read a little more about my first trip to an Engage! conference here, here, and here. Save Facebook it Tweet […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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